Friday, September 10, 2010

The 1886 World Series: Conflicting Attendance Data

The third game in the contest for the world's championship was played this afternoon before an audience of 6000. The game was fought hard from first to last, but the Chicagos played with even more than their wonted vigor. Clarkson's work in the box was excellent, while Caruthers was not so hard to hit as on yesterday.
-Los Angeles Times, October 21, 1886

The third game of the series between the Chicago champions and the Browns of St. Louis was played this afternoon in the presence of about 4000 people. The weather was favorable, a strong wind blowing directly in favor of the batters. The morning's rain had not affected the condition of the diamond.
-Boston Daily, October 21, 1886

And the Globe had the attendance at 5000. This certainly isn't unusual and the first two games also have conflicting attendance data but I find it a bit amusing that I have three sources that list the attendance data for game three of the 1886 series and I have three different numbers.


Richard Hershberger said...

If I see sources in this era giving the same attendance numbers, I suspect them of copying each other (or some other original). When attendance numbers are determined by untrained reporters eyeballing the crowd and making a guess, the results are less than scientific. (Attendance numbers today are also bogus, but for different reasons.)

Jeffrey Kittel said...

For some reason, I like finding the attendance numbers. I think having a general idea of the size of the crowd helps me have a better picture of what the game was like. But, yeah, they're hardly reliable. And you're right about them copying each other. One or two people would write up a game account and those stories, usually severly edited, would get picked up in papers all over the country. It makes it tough sometimes to find different sources for a given game because all the papers covering the event all picked up the same story.

Richard Doslinques said...

I am enjoying experiencing the 1886 World Series. Thanks for doing this. The details of the games are exhaustive, just like how they wrote all the news in the papers of those times. I find it fascinating how these people suddenly become living personalities, just like a novel. Especially Arlie Latham, who is suddenly not just an old name in the annuls of baseball with no creditation in the great hall of fame. Although this series does not qualify as a canonical World Series, it sure feels like it does or should.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

Thanks, Richard. Appreciate the kind words. As far as the coverage being exhaustive, I just recently sent someone a file on the 1886 Series and essentially just copied all my posts onto one file. It ran to over 40 pages and that really only included the best of the coverage that I found. The national press coverage of the series was fantastic and the games got a lot of attention. I have another twenty pages or so of coverage from The Sporting News that I didn't include here. The press did a great job of covering this series and we're lucky to have all of that.