Saturday, August 14, 2010

The 1885 World Series: Aftermath

When the St. Louis and Chicago clubs came upon the field at Cincinnati Saturday, Oct 24, it was announced that the clubs had cancelled all future dates, and would make this the final game of their series. The first game at Chicago, Oct. 14, resulted in a tie of 5 to 5. In the second game at St. Louis Oct. 15 the score stood 6 to 5 in favor of Chicago when a row occurred; St. Louis left the field and the game was awarded to Chicago by 9 to 0. The third and fourth games were also played at St. Louis, Oct. 16 and 17, and both were won by the American team by scores of 7 to 4 and 3 to 2. The fifth and sixth games were played at Pittsburg and Cincinnati respectively and Chicago won both by scores of 9 to 2 each. This left the record in favor of Chicago by three victories to St. Louis' two. Before Saturday's game, however, it was mutually agreed to throw out the forfeited game, leaving the clubs even at two games each, and that Saturday's game decided the series. Under this agreement the game was played and the result was an easy victory for the American champions.
-Sporting Life, November 4, 1885

Before the game began it was announced that by mutual agreement the forfeited game given to Chicago had been declared off, and today's game was to wind up the series, each club having won two games.
-Chicago Tribune, October 25, 1885

"The telegram published in this morning's papers," said President Spalding yesterday, "to the effect that the disputed game at St. Louis between the Browns and the Chicagos had been declared off, and that the Browns became the world's champions by winning yesterday's game at Cincinnati, is a mistake. The game was not declared off, and nobody would have had any authority to take such a step. The series consequently stands tied, as stated in yesterday's Tribune, each team having now three games, with the first game...tied...There is another mistake, which, through the enterprise of the newspapers, has become widely established, and that is that the series just finished has been contested to decide the championship of the world. That is nonsense. Does any one suppose that if there had been so much as that at stake that I should have consented to the games being played in American Association cities, upon their grounds, and under the authority of their umpires? The truth is, that the St. Louis people were anxious to play a series of exhibition games in the cities in which they have since appeared, and that to make the play interesting Von der Ahe and myself contributed $500 each toward a purse. I should have given the boys the $500 anyway, as I have done before when they have won the championship, and presume Von der Ahe would have done the same. Unquestionably, our boys have played very poor ball during the entire series, but their interest in play was gone, and as a test of the relative playing strength of the two nines, the series has been a failure."
-Chicago Tribune, October 26, 1885

Cincinnati, O., Oct. 25.-[Special.]-Viewed from an Association standpoint the Commercial-Gazette says of the world's base ball championship:

By their crushing defeat of the Chicagos yesterday the St. Louis team, champions of the American Association, have the right to lay claim to the championship of the world. They won three games on their merits, while Chicago won but two.
-Chicago Tribune, October 26, 1885

So there you go. There were two decisions made before the seventh game on October 25. First, given that the series was not a big draw at the gate, the rest of the games were cancelled. Second, and more importantly, there was an agreement made between someone, most likely the players, that the forfeited game two would not be counted. By that reasoning, St. Louis won the series, three games to two, and claimed the 1885 World's Championship.

As much as I want to mock Spalding for his "there was no agreement and even if there was, nobody had the authority to make one and even if they had that authority, this wasn't a series to decide the championship of the world but regardless, the whole enterprise was a dismal failure" reasoning, I'm pretty much in agreement with everything he said. The series was nothing more than an exhibition and the forfeit has to stand. The 1885 "World Series" ended tied.

Lucky for us, there would be a rematch in 1886.

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