Historical tidbit for Jan 13
I believe this was the June 20th, 1886 game between Detroit and Chicago. I found this cool for a couple reasons. From the Sporting News account, which quickly gets into
… the manifest unfairness of Umpire Gaffney, particularly in the last game of the series. His fining of Anson was unjustifiable. He imposed the first fine, $10, before the big Captain was half way in from first base, and he raised it fifty before Anson had time to open his mouth. Directly the Captain started talking Gaffney went fifty better.
How crazy is that they could levy fines like that? But it gets better. The writer speculated about whether or not the umpire was affected by “the good feeling which Gaffney received at the expense of the admirers of the Detroit club” (I have no idea what that means, but from the rest of the article it sounds like Gaffney stayed in Detroit during the season, lodged by team supporters) and by accepting a flower boquet given to him before the game.
Anson refused to pay, saying “Not I, not a dollar, not a penny. If Gaffney does not remit the fines I’ll have him fired, or my name’s not Anson.”
And the other players complain that he’s for Detroit and the fans cheer for him (“Every time Gaffney came on the grounds the crowd cheered him until the windows rattled a half-mile away. He’s for them every time and they know it, too”).
So you get umpires with the power to fine players random amounts of money, allegations of bribery or at best partisanship, the threat of firing an ump if he doesn’t relent from his fines — and it’s all in the game story. They wrote about this stuff. Also on that front page is a story about the court troubles of some players accused of throwing games, and a notice that “An individual named A. Markworth has been obtaining certain goods about town on the statement that he is an employee of the SPORTING NEWS. Markworth is a forger and beat, and has no connection with this paper whatsoever.”
Really, though, $110 was a huge amount of money to a player in 1886. I’m surprised Anson didn’t beat the guy up on the spot and incite a riot.