Womack: How the World Series originated — and almost unraveled

From SABR member Graham Womack at The National Pastime Museum on October 27, 2016:

On October 11, 1902, the closest thing to a World Series that year reached its anticlimactic finish. In front of 4,768 fans at Pittsburgh’s Exposition Field, Cy Young pitched a five-hit shutout to lead a team of American League All-Stars to victory over the National League–champion Pittsburgh Pirates. Pittsburgh had already clinched the four-game exhibition series by winning the first two games and tying the third, but they were obligated to play the fourth game, perhaps for the promise of gate receipts or to allow wagers to be settled.

Pittsburgh had gone 103–36 during the season, withstanding raids by the rival, upstart American League that took pitchers Jack Chesbro and Jesse Tannehill. But Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss was unfazed and wanted more, with the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, New York, reporting December 1, 1902, that Dreyfuss had bet $1,000 with a steel man that his team would win the 1903 pennant.

“I have made this bet, and I am willing to make it ten times as much before the season opens,” Dreyfuss said. “I particularly want to get some of the money hung up which the American League people have. They have made the crack that they have riddled the Pittsburg team. I want to know. They can win my money if they have the sand or put up the real coin. Now is their time to bet. I wager, and will go to the finish, that Pittsburg wins the pennant next season, that is, the coming season. Do I hear any response? I want to prove that the American League has not hurt Pittsburg’s ball team very much. The places of Tannehill and Chesbro are easily filled.”

A larger contest was coming, one where Dreyfuss would have to eat his words.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/how-world-series-originated-and-almost-unraveled

Originally published: October 27, 2016. Last Updated: October 27, 2016.