Monday, September 18, 2006

September 18th, 1883

Philadelphia at Cincinnati

Or, possibly, September 18th, 1893, Baltimore at Cincinnati. I've mentioned in the past that I don't often do stuff from pre-1900 because (a) I don't know much about it and (b) no one knows that much about it, the whole period is a trifle sketchy. Today is a pretty good example of that. According to the usually reliable Today In Baseball on, Cincinnati assistant groundskeeper Louis Can married his wife-to-be before the game with the ceremony taking place at home plate. According to BaseballLibrary, Can and his wife netted sixty dollars from the home team and another forty from the visitors (that's about two thousand dollars total in modern money) and the ceremony attracted a crowd of more than twenty-two hundred people. This story checks out somewhat, as the Red Stockings (as they were then known) did play the Athletics on that day in Cincinnati.

Things get a little tricky, however, when we come to this same date in 1893. According to BaseballLibrary, on that day, assistant groundskeeper Louis Can was married in a pre-game ceremony in
Cincinnati. In this version however, in addition to being ten years later, the game was against Baltimore and Can and his new wife took off for a honeymoon at the World's Fair in Chicago. This story does check out to some degree as well, as the Reds were hosting the Baltimore Orioles on that day and the World's Fair was going on in Chicago--as anyone who has read the brilliant The Devil in the White City can tell you.

This leaves us with a couple of different possibilities. One is that somewhere along the line BaseballLibrary (or its sources) messed up, and Louis Can was married just once, on
September 18th 1883 or 1893 and that was the end of it. The other option is that Louis Can, in an astonishing display of tastelessness, got married at home plate before a game on the same day exactly ten years apart. I really don't know which to believe, as baseball in those days was so bizarre that either is really plausible. No matter what the solution, it's both an entertaining story and a pretty good example of why I don't do many pre-twentieth century stories.

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