The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Mark Simonson

October 5, 2013

World Series scoreboard attracted many in Oneonta in 1913


A company named Peerless made these elaborate scoreboards and took them to many locations. The company worked with the two Oneonta men to furnish a full orchestra to provide music before the game began. An Oneonta man, Joe Burns, was an announcer with a megaphone at the ballpark. Unlike nowadays, the World Series began in early October and games were played in the daylight hours. Admission at Neahwa Park Field, today’s Damaschke Field, was 50 cents, but it was free if you sat in the grandstand. 

At New York’s Polo Grounds that day, more than 36,000 watched the Athletics beat the Giants, 6-4. The Star had the full report on the front page on Wednesday, Oct. 8. Attendance at Neahwa Park to follow the “high tech” scoreboard was apparently a bit sparse.

“Had all baseball fans in Oneonta and vicinity appreciated how fully the mechanical score board…reproduces all the plays of the game … there would have been a far larger crowd. The board is as all witnesses yesterday will attest a mechanical marvel and the cheers of the spectators as they witnessed the ball on the board soar away into deep outfield as Baker made his home run yesterday, evidences that they get into the spirit of the game.” Baker was John Franklin “Home Run” Baker of the Athletics, elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.

Word must have spread about the innovative scoreboard, as by Thursday attendance had picked up at Neahwa Park Field, as reported in Friday’s Star.

“An interesting feature yesterday was the exhibition of the ball which ‘Home Run’ Baker hit into the crowd on Tuesday at the New York grounds. An Oneonta gentleman present at that game happened to be in the locality where the ball was hit and caught it, and he brought it to Oneonta for exhibition on his return. He modestly prefers that his identity be kept a secret.”

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Mark Simonson

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