Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fined and Released

Fargo was excited to have Arthur "Tige" Lyons back for the 1897 RRVL season. Lyons had played in Fargo in 1896, when the team was not in an organized league, but played exhibition games during that summer. In the May 10, 1897 issue of Fargo's paper, the Forum touted Lyons as always being "in splendid shape". The same account, however, hinted that Lyons had some problems with drinking in the past, but that "(Lyons) is sure the flowing bowl no longer has any attraction for him and promises to put up the game of his life."

The optimism about "Tige" did not last long. In Fargo's fourth game of the season on May 29th at Grand Forks, Lyons was fined early in the game for arguing with the well-respected umpire George Challis. Interestingly, his behavior was bad enough to also move the Grand Forks Chief of Police to remove Lyons from the premises (Sunday Argus May 30, 1897). After the Grand Forks game, Lyons stayed with the Fargo team, and played in their embarrassing 27-6 loss in an exhibition game against Moorhead on May 31st. By June 2nd, however, Lyons had been released by the team. The Forum hinted that his level of play during the exhibition game was suspect, even causing "a large number" of people to criticize him for his "indifferent" play. Though Lyons apparently had some supporters as well, his reckless behavior was enough for the Fargo team to show him the door.

Interestingly, Lyons later umpired several RRVL games in 1897, and continued to umpire games in the region for several years.

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