Sunday, August 29, 2010

The 1886 World Series: An Interesting Idea

The [new] system of umpiring will be tried in Tuesday's game, which provides that there will be a referee and two umpires, one umpire to act for Chicago and do the umpiring when the St. Louis men are at the bat, and the other to act for St. Louis and umpire when Chicago is at the bat. In case of a close decision either umpire has the right to appeal to the referee, whose decision shall be final. The two umpires and referee will be chosen by lot from the Board of Umpires. The referee will stand between the pitcher and second baseman.
-The Atchison Daily Champion, October 19, 1886

The new system was mentioned by the Globe in their account of game one but without going into detail. Obviously, the solution to bad calls in the field (which marred the 1885 series) was to put more umpires in the field. The haggling, debate and negotiation over the umpiring system for the 1886 series has to be seen as a result of the breakdown of the system in the 1885 series, a lack of trust between the two clubs and a lack of trust between the clubs and the umpires in the other league (specifically Von der Ahe's mistrust of the National League umpires). There was a problem with the umpiring system and Von der Ahe and Spalding came up with a rather unique solution.

The new system would be put to use and tested in game two.

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