Description: America’s national pastime took the nation by storm from the late 1870s to today, and Sioux City was swept right along with it. This baseball was signed by the 1954 team of the Sioux City Soos, a team in what was known as the Western League. The Soos were the longest running baseball team in Sioux City (before the Explorers), lasting from 1947 to the early 1960s. The Soos were not the first baseball team in the league, however. The Sioux City Cornhuskers began Sioux City’s transition into organized baseball in 1888. They played at Evans Driving Park, a horse racing complex and was converted into a baseball field in the 1890s. The Sioux City Packers began playing in the Western League in 1905. They and other teams in different leagues played in Sioux City until the Depression, when the Western League was shut down. It started again in 1938 with the Nebraska League, and a new Sioux City team: The Cowboys. Baseball ceased again in Sioux City for World War II, but in 1947 it resumed again with another new banner and team: The Sioux City Soos.
Sioux City’s affiliated team was the New York Giants, and the Soos were one of the many “farm teams,” minor league teams in smaller towns and cities where “they grew players down on the farm like corn.” The Soos constructed a new ballpark at 14th and Steuben called Soos Park (which was later converted into a racetrack). The team consistently made high levels in the playoffs, even winning a pennant in 1947, and sent many players to the major leagues. This baseball, for instance, includes the signature of first baseman Bill White, who would take the major leagues by storm throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
The Soos stopped playing in the early 1960s. The popularity of baseball was waning in this time; Sioux City would not have a professional baseball team until the Sioux City Explorers in 1993. The Explorers still continue to play at the stadium built for them, Lewis and Clark Park, and still draw in baseball fans from all areas of the city. Almost as famous as the Soos are the Sioux City Ghosts, an African-American fast pitch softball team who played from the 1930s to 1956, and are part of the Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame.
Donor: Donna Bergson