Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The 1886 World Series: A Wail From Chicago

It would be a hard task for a Chicago man to attempt to regard with any degree of good humor the performances of the Chicago Base Ball Club at St. Louis yesterday. Admitting that base ball is a business conducted for pecuniary profit, there still can be no palliation for the offense of brazenly giving away a game as the game was given St. Louis.

For half a century Phineas T. Barnum has been before the American public, fairly coining money on his reputation as a humbug; but the cleverness of his humbuggery has been the secret of his success. People do not object to being humbugged-nay, we think that they rather like it-but the humbug must be shrewd and plausible or it becomes at once simple intolerable.

The base-ball series in Chicago was cleverly worked; the public felt that it was being humbugged, but the hippodrome was so artistically played that there really was no inclination to cry out against it. In St. Louis, however, the pins have been set up awkwardly and the wires have been worked bunglingly...

We have a higher opinion of the forbearance of the St. Louis public than we have had before. We presume to say that if such a shameless farce had been attempted here in Chicago the conspirators and coconspirators would have been hooted off the field. That the whole business is understood in this city is evident in the common talk upon the streets and in the tone of proceedings at the pool-rooms last night.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 24, 1886 [originally published in the Chicago News]

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