A cross-border baseball classic in the summer of 1931
The Border Baseball Series | Sinuiju vs. Dandong
During the Korean War, the skies above the Yalu River (Kr. Amnok River), the so-called ‘MiG Alley’, became the site of a bloody rivalry between Soviet-made MiG-15s and North American F-86 Sabre fighter jets.
Two decades earlier, the banks of the Yalu witnessed a different kind of rivalry, one more bucolic and pastoral — this was the rivalry between the two baseball teams of the twin cities on the opposite of the river: Sinuiju and Antung, modern-day Dandong.
In mid-July 1931 — Ah, the beauty of summer baseball! — the All-Sinuiju (전신의주 | 全新義州) and Antung Manchuria (안동만구 | 安東滿俱) teams met in the Border Baseball Series (국경야구대회 | 國境野球大會), a best-of-three matchup to settle the question of the undisputed champions on the lower reaches of the Yalu River. Sinuiju hosted the games.
The home team, All-Sinuiju, won the first game with a 4-2 victory over Antung Manchuria, only to lose 9-4 in the second game, leading to a third playoff game. The third game ended up a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the 9th, going to extra innings — there’s nothing like maximum baseball! All-Sinuiju scored the winning run to triumph 4-3, taking two of three in the series.
In the series, All-Sinuiju drove in 12 runs and Antung Manchuria drove in 14. Few other details remain of this 1930’s summer baseball series.
Today neither Dandong nor Sinuiju have baseball teams, but a cross-border match could be possible in football. Sinuiju is home to the Amnok River football team, while Dandong hosts Dandong Hantong. Perhaps one of these days we will see the two teams faceoff on the Yalu.