Monday, July 23, 2012

On This Date: Corbett Boils Over Under the Pressure

July 23, 1897 - It certainly wasn't a good week for Ed Corbett. With rumors of his Wahpeton-Breckenridge team's impending collapse becoming stark reality, Corbett was not ready for another loss. But in the late afternoon on Friday the 23rd, his team trailed Fargo 4-2 in the eighth inning. A third-strike called on W-B second baseman Extrom sent Corbett over the edge. The Methodist's manager charged onto the field, and with some choice words, angrily berated the game's umpire O'Donnell for the call. The ump ejected Corbett, who was so frustrated by this point that he took his team with him and forfeited the game.

Interestingly, on this same date, Fargo outfielder Jack Murphy was released and elected to sign with the turbulent W-B franchise. The prevailing belief was that the transfer of the team to Crookston would succeed within the week, and that the club would finish the year playing in northern Minnesota. After all, Crookston had expressed strong interest in fielding a team to begin the 1897 RRVL season, but the league couldn't find a sixth team to join. Officials wanted to keep the league's membership at an even number in order to ensure a balanced schedule. With potentially thin profit margins for the teams of the RRVL, avoiding scheduled days off was a priority. As a result, Crookston was left on the outside looking in.

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