Saturday, May 19, 2012

Glad They Weren't In Cleveland!

Baseball and other forms of recreation on Sundays were by no means universally accepted norms in 1897. The Fargo team played on six different Sundays during the 1897 season, and there really wasn't much of a backlash. One notable mention of the subject occurred on June 15 in the Forum. A Wahpeton Baptist pastor, L. V. Schermerhorn, had spoken on the Sunday question to a "very large and appreciative audience" in Wahpeton on June 14. Baseball, racing, and gaming were cited by Schermerhorn as contrary to both civil and religious statutes. Certainly, a fairly sizable segment of the population still frowned upon Sunday baseball, and other diversions that were deemed frivolous, unnecessary, or disrespectful on the Sabbath.

Sunday baseball would remain popular in large cities in particular, due to the fact that many workers were unable to attend weekday games. Working late hours, it was difficult to attend since games began in the afternoon, and night baseball was still a few decades away. A fair amount of working men also worked on Saturdays. This left Sunday as the best day for baseball in the minds of many.

Though the Red River Valley did not feature significant opposition to Sunday baseball in 1897, the same could not be said of Cleveland. After the first inning of a Sunday, May 17th game between the Cleveland Spiders and Washington Senators of the National League, players on both teams along with the umpire were arrested by Cleveland policemen for violating the city's ban on Sunday baseball. Cleveland's owner had to post bail to get the men released. The city did allow the Spiders to host Sunday games later in the 1897 season.

No comments:

Post a Comment