Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Message to Horses and Other Spectators: Beware Flying Objects

Automobile parking was not a concern for fans of the national game in the late 19th century. The danger of broken windshields and body dents caused by stray baseballs was non-existent. Often, fans in the Red River Valley were within walking distance of the local baseball grounds, and if they weren't, a horse and buggy sufficed for the journey. Interestingly, the opening of a new baseball field for Fargo in 1896 presented problems for those attempting to access the park in their buggies. Officials quickly solved the traffic problem by opening a second entrance to the park.

The presence of horses near the playing field was certainly part of the flavor of minor league baseball in this era. One local fan, Jerry Bacon, had one of his horses present for a game between Brainerd and the Grand Forks Company F team in 1895. Unfortunately, Bacon soon learned that his equine attendee was not exempt from the danger of wayward baseballs. The Grand Forks Herald reported that during the 14-5 Brainerd victory, a foul ball struck Bacon's horse in the head. The result: one of the horse's eyes was knocked out of its socket!

Grand Forks Herald September 19, 1895 p. 5 "A Double Header", "City News"

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