Pomrenke: Take a seat: The 1908 World Series and the origin of the BBWAA

From SABR member Jacob Pomrenke at The National Pastime Museum on May 15, 2017:

In this modern era of spacious press boxes with Wi-Fi access, multiple televisions, and cafeterias, when beat reporters are asked to do a 24/7/365 job covering every aspect of a 9 billion-dollar-per-year professional industry, it’s hard to imagine a time when writers had no guarantee of finding a reserved seat to cover the game.

But at the turn of the twentieth century, when baseball’s popularity was reaching a fever pitch, even entering the ballpark was a luxury that could not be taken for granted. A handful of teams set aside space for the press, but more often than not, a writer could expect to find someone else—maybe a local politician, a police officer, or some other dignitary—sitting in his seat when he arrived.

The issue came to a head in October 1908, when the Chicago Cubs met the New York Giants in a tiebreaker to decide the National League pennant. This was the replay of the infamous “Merkle Game,” when rookie Fred Merkle failed to touch second base on a game-winning hit in the ninth inning and a Giants win was wiped from the books. More than 30,000 fans crammed into the Polo Grounds to watch the rematch, a one-game playoff to determine who would go to the World Series. Cubs pitcher Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown called it “as close to a lunatic asylum as any place I’ve ever been.”

Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/take-seat-1908-world-series-and-origin-bbwaa

Originally published: May 15, 2017. Last Updated: May 15, 2017.