From SABR member Brian Frank at The Herd Chronicles on February 28, 2016:
In 1914, the Bisons faced a young 19 year old left handed pitcher who went on to become the greatest slugger the game had ever known, George Herman “Babe” Ruth. The Babe had recently been plucked off the amateur fields of Baltimore by Orioles owner and manager Jack Dunn. Ruth had a successful pre-season and even pitched against major league teams including the Philadelphia Athletics and New York Giants, and was now ready to make his regular season professional debut in the second game of the season against the International League’s Buffalo Bisons in Baltimore.
The Orioles defeated the Bisons 7-0 in the season opener, behind the pitching of lefthander Dave Danforth who allowed only four hits in a complete game shutout. The game was played in front of “the smallest crowd that ever witnessed an opening game in Baltimore”. The small crowd was due in part to poor weather and a soggy field. However, the main reason for the low attendance was that Baltimore, like Buffalo, had a new Federal League baseball franchise. The Federal League’s Baltimore Terrapins played directly across the street from the Orioles. Many Baltimore fans felt snubbed when the Orioles were dropped from the American League after the 1902 season, thus dropping the city from the major leagues. The new Federal League appealed to many fans, because it dubbed itself as a third major league, and brought the city of Baltimore back into the majors. On opening day, the Orioles drew only 1,200 spectators, while the new Federal League’s Terrapins drew about three times that number playing across the street. These attendance problems would persist throughout the season and would eventually cause the Orioles to begin selling off players, including Babe Ruth to the Boston Red Sox.
Originally published: March 7, 2016. Last Updated: March 7, 2016.