Sunday, May 28, 2006

May 28th, 1905

Sunday Baseball Halted

Appropriately enough for a Sunday, we have this story. I think I've mentioned this before, but for a long time in the history of the game--at least the first thirty or so years--whether or not teams could (or should) schedule games on the Sabbath was a hot topic. These days it's a no-brainer, since more fans can come out to Sunday afternoon games (and the one Sunday night ESPN game) than might be able to on a weekday. This was equally true in the early days of the game, of course, but back then they took the Sabbath a bit more seriously. (Maybe I should start doing that so I only have to update six days a week.)

Anyway, the headline refers only to New York City, where the police commissioner ordered his men to arrest anyone found playing baseball. This not only led to the cancellation of a scheduled game between the Giants and Brooklyn franchise (in those days known as the Superbas) but nearly got "Iron Man" Joe McGinnity arrested. McGinnity was set to make a little extra money pitching for a semi-pro team (not an unusual occurrence in those days) but when he arrived at the site of the game, he got into an argument about how much he was due for his day of work. After much arguing McGinnity steadfastly refused to put on a uniform and play the game.

As it turned out, this would serve him well. Soon after, police officers arrived and began to arrest all the players. The players were easy to identify, naturally, because they were the ones in uniform. McGinnity, still in his street clothes (and glad of it, one imagines) was able to slip away unnoticed. Not having spent any time in jail, McGinnity pitched two days later for the Giants and won the first game of the double-header needed to make up for the cancelled Sunday game.

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