Monday, January 31, 2011

The 1887 World Series: Considerable Money

Considerable money was made on the late championship games, and Messrs. Stearns and Von der Ahe have a neat surplus for their trouble. The following list will show about the amounts taken in and expended: At St. Louis, $9000; Detroit, $6750; Pittsburg, $2300; Brooklyn, $5800; New York, $4100; Philadelphia, $8000; Washington, $800; Boston, $3100; Baltimore, $2000; Chicago, $200. This, in round numbers, gives a total of $42,000. The estimated expenses of the trip are $18,000, leaving a balance of $24,000. This, divided at the rate of 75 and 25 per cent, would give Mr. Stearns $18,000 and Mr. Von der Ahe $6000. Mr. Stearns has promised his players $500 each, so that his share of the profits will be little more than Mr. Von der Ahe's.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 27, 1887


David Ball said...

Well, the end of October is too late to be playing baseball, as any fool can plainly tell. But other than that, the traveling circus seems to have done well. I wonder why they abandoned it in subsequent years.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

At least they didn't play into November.

I think there are two reasons why they didn't do the whole thing again and both had to do with attendance. The first was the weather, which effected not only attendance but the games on the field as well. It's not always going to be cold and windy and rainy in late October but you sit through one cold, sparsely attended game and you might not want to do it again.

The second was the severe drop-off in attendance after the series was decided. There was no reason for people outside of StL and Detroit to care about the series after Detroit clinched the championship. They probably would have made more money if they stopped the thing after game 11. And they didn't even draw in StL after that. So by playing out the series, you limited your viable markets to one city.

While the thing seemed to drag on forever, a fifteen game series was certainly a much fairer test of baseball than a three, five or seven game series. If there was some way to avoid playing baseball until Christmas, I'd love to see a fifteen game World Series.