Ferkovich: Looking back at the 1908 World Series

From SABR member Scott Ferkovich at The National Pastime Museum on October 20, 2014:

On the morning of October 14, 1908, a group of 25 or so men met in a room at Detroit’s Pontchartrain Hotel at the bustling corner of Cadillac Square and Woodward Avenue. One of the finest luxury accommodations in the city, it was an appropriate setting for the business the men had gathered to conduct.

They were newspaper employees, baseball writers specifically. They came from parts as far-flung as New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. But they didn’t all converge onto the Midwestern city merely for this meeting. They were there to do their job, which was to report for their respective papers on Game 5 of the 1908 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Detroit Tigers. But the meeting had been contemplated for some time.

Their order of business was to take a vote on whether or not to organize. For years, their profession had been hampered by less-than-ideal working conditions. The thorny issue of the press box, in particular, was one that banded the brothers together. Intended to be a private domain where the scribes could focus on the game and type away in peace, the press boxes in both league and World Series games were too often overrun with “butters-in” who interfered with, and, in some cases, even crowded out the men who had actual work to do. This had to stop.

They voted to form the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. With a united front, they planned to demand a better press box environment, as well as create a system of uniformity in scoring, “and other matters that are of mutual interest to baseball writers and baseball clubs.” Officers were named, and a committee was appointed to draft a constitution for ratification in New York in December. Thus began day one of the BBWAA.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/1908-world-series

Originally published: October 20, 2014. Last Updated: October 20, 2014.