Friday, November 19, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Paying Pretty Big Money For Seats

The Detroit club have already won the championship of the League, and after finishing their season to-day at Indianapolis leave for St. Louis to-night. They will arrive in the morning and witness the Cleveland game at Sportsman's Park. Manager Watkins will bring twelve men with him, headed by Fred Dunlap, including big Brouthers, Capt. Hanlon, Hardy Richardson, Deacon White, Ganzel, Getzein, Twitchell, Jack Rowe, big Sam Thompson, Charlie Bennett and Pete Conway. They will make their headquarters at the Lindell. President Stearns, of Detroit, wired President Von der Ahe yesterday that Getzein and Bennett and Conway and Bennett would be the Detroit batteries for Monday and Tuesday, respectively. The champions will have Bob Caruthers and Doc Bushong in the points on Monday, and Dave Foutz and Jack Boyle on Tuesday. The coming games are exciting greater interest than any games ever played in St. Louis, and every seat and all available space at Sportsman's Park will no doubt be occupied. The admission will be 50c, and 50c extra to the grand stand. Special reserved seats in the sections on either side of the press box are on sale at Appler & Hodge's, 618 Olive street, and the Lindell Hotel cigar-stand, for $1.25 each. The seats are selling fast, and it behooves those who desire seats to get them at once.

"Every seat in the immense pavillion at the Detroit park has been sold for our game in Detroit on Wednesday next," said President Von der Ahe yesterday. "The people there have gone fairly wild over the series, and now that we have two games they want at least that number there. Of course, since our schedule is arranged up to October 25, we can not accommodate them, but they are paying pretty big money for seats at next Wednesday's game. The admission there is $1, and reserved seats 50c extra. President Stearns telegraphed me that late purchasers bought the early birds out for $2 to $5 a seat. Without question the attraction will be the greatest ever seen on the diamond. The impression seems to prevail that because the Detroits are a lot of sluggers that they will clean up the earth with our boys. Well, they'll find Caruthers and Foutz are as skillful and scientific pitchers as they ever met in their lives. Yes, I think we'll knock their weather eye out."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 8, 1887

It will be interesting to see what the attendance is like for the series because they were charging a lot of money for a ticket. One dollar in 1887 was worth about $23 in our money and I would think that it was a much larger percentage of an average worker's annual salary than it would be as a percentage of ours. When we get to the games, I just expect to see smaller crowds than in 1885 or 1886, especially outside of St. Louis and Detroit. I would imagine that the later games of the series, after the outcome was already decided, were sparsely attended. From a business point-of-view, I think they made a serious mistake in setting ticket prices so high.

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