One of the books I’m currently reading is Baseball historian John Thune’s Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game and I keep coming across wonderful passages that connect interesting, and seemingly disparate, dots. This one caught my eye:
Von Der Ahe (proprietor of the St. Louis Browns - of the American Association), in particular, had no love for the league (National League), and he seethed when Chicago’s underhanded tactics denied his Browns a rightful victory in the 1885 World Series. Before he final game both sides had agreed that the controversial game two would be declared no contest; originally it had been forfeited to Chicago when the Browns left the field in the sixth inning of a 5-4 game in a dispute with the legendarily crooked umpire Dave Sullivan (who nonetheless officiated a few big-league games after this). Thus with the series tied at two wins apiece - game one had ended in a legitimate tie - the Browns won game seven handily, 13-4 to win the World Series…or so they thought. Only after the conclusion of this game did Cap Anson insist that game two should now revert to a forfeit, so that the series would end in a draw, at three wins apiece after the series-opening tie. The long-standing rivalry between St. Louis and Chicago may have originated in their competition for the nation’s commerce via river or rail, but, in baseball, the ill feeling between supporters of the Cubs and Cardinals started with this dispute.