Thursday, August 19, 2010

The 1886 World Series: Spalding's Reply

Regardless of the hazardous effect that the demon Gambling might have on his club, Spalding was prepared to accept Von der Ahe's challenge but only under certain conditions.

The efforts of President Von der Ahe to have his club play a series of games with the Chicagos for the championship of the world are likely to prove successful, as will be seen by the following reply by President Spalding:

Mr. C. Von der Ahe: Dear Sir-Your formal challenge for a series of games with the Chicagos for the world's championship has just come to my notice and I hasten to reply. On the assumption that both clubs will win the championship in their respective associations, the Chicago Base Ball Club hereby accept your challenge, subject to the following conditions and stipulations:

1. A series of nine games to be arranged, four to be scheduled in Chicago, four in St. Louis, and the final and deciding game, if necessary, to be played on some mutually satisfactory neutral grounds.

2. The playing rules of the National League to govern all games played in Chicago, and the American Association rules to govern all games played in St. Louis. The rules governing the game to be played on neutral grounds to be decided before the commencement of the game by lot or mutual agreement.

3. The umpire to be selected by lot just before the hour advertised for the commencement of the game from a board of umpires, four in number, two to be selected from the League corps and two from the Association, the umpire to be sole judge and fully authorized to inflict fines on players for insubordination, in accordance with powers granted by rules under which the game is played, and his decision shall be final, and not subject to appeal. All fines that may be imposed on Chicago players by the umpire to be given to such charitable institutions in Chicago as the Chicago Club shall direct, and all fines imposed on St. Louis players to be given to such charitable institutions in St. Louis as the St. Louis Club shall direct.

4. The club winning the greater number of games out of the series played shall be entitled and shall receive the total gross gate receipts, including the grand stand receipts, and the same shall be under the charge and control of one designated officer or employee of each club, who shall be instructed to deposit the total gross receipts at the conclusion of each game in some agreed upon national banks in Chicago and St. Louis, and such banks shall hold said funds in trust until the completion of the series, and shall then pay over to the President of the club winning a majority of the games of the series, as ordered by the President of the losing club, or, if he fails to act promptly, as ordered by the Board of Arbitration.

5. Each club shall pay its own travelling and other expenses, and be to all expense of advertising and conducting the game in their respective cities, and the only expense item that shall be deducted from the total receipts due the winning club shall be the salaries and expenses of the Board of Umpires.

6. In case of any dispute relative to this series of games, and on any point or question that can not be mutually settled by the Presidents of the two clubs, the Board of Umpires shall constitute a Board of Arbitration, and a decision of a majority of said board shall be final, and each club agrees to acquiesce in such decision. In the event of a tie vote in the Board of Arbitration on any point, said board shall select a fifth man of good standing and well known in base ball circles who shall act with the Board of Arbitration.

In view of several misunderstandings that occurred in our series last season, I deem it wise to have all the conditions agreed upon and understood. And with this apology for this long letter, I submit the foregoing for your consideration and ask for an immediate reply. Yours truly,

A.G. Spalding
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 30, 1886

Two of the agreed upon points governing the playing of the series changed the nature of the contest. First, as suggested by Von der Ahe, the series was being played for the World's Championship, something that Spalding had denied was at stake in the 1885 series. This time around, it was accepted that this was a championship series. Second, the fact that the winner of the series took all the gate receipts raised the stakes and most certainly captured the imagination of the sporting public, creating an interest in the 1886 series that the previous series lacked.

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