Baseball Prospectus: Too far from town: Burlington Bees

From Sarah R. Ingber, Davy Andrews, and SABR member Roger Cormier at Baseball Prospectus on May 11, 2020:

It was around 11 p.m. on the first Saturday of the last February of the 1970s when state and local law officers raided the 12th annual Burlington Bees fundraiser. According to the Des Moines Tribune, more than 250 civilians inside the Burlington Memorial Auditorium were treated to a steak dinner, drinks, games, and qualified for a chance to win a $5,000 cash prize drawing. Each one paid $50 for the evening. Basic math says the Bees were having a good night for themselves. A fire destroyed Community Park in 1971, and they still needed nights like these to fully rebuild. The authorities had no problem with baseball per se; they took umbrage over the ambiguity regarding whether or not the gambling was, in legal terms, legal. They settled for the time being on no arrests and on taking $1,000 and the “chuck-a-luck” wheel. Bees General Manager Merle Miller was not pleased.

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Originally published: May 13, 2020. Last Updated: May 13, 2020.