Gary and Nate Berg said Dartball is played in church basements and small bars across the Midwest, but it never really caught on in Minnesota.
A father-son duo is trying to bring a Midwestern dart game mainstream in Minnesota.
Gary Berg and his son, Nate, are part of a small group starting a Dartball league. The league started at the end of September at Fridley’s Forgotten Star Brewing Co.
Dartball is played with slightly oversized darts thrown underhanded at a 4×4 board that resembles a baseball or softball field. Players “bat” by throwing darts, and scoring works just like baseball.
The Bergs said the first known Dartball league sprung up in a Pennsylvania church basement in the late 1920s. It then spread around the Upper Midwest and the Rust Belt — including Wisconsin, where it’s still popular today.
That’s where the Bergs’ family comes in. Nate’s great grandfather Hank Eisch was a bit of a “local legend” among Green Bay’s Dartball players, gaining multiple league “batting titles” in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Generations later, Nate and Gary decided they’d try to revive the game, saying it’s mostly unknown outside of Wisconsin. They founded Underhanded Events in 2021 to help people get together and overcome isolation.
You can find a league on the group’s website. Fall leagues started Sept. 28, and winter leagues will form shortly. Each league runs for 8 weeks.