Thursday, April 14, 2011

Baseball Crowd

Today's picture shows a crowd watching a baseball scoreboard. The picture was taken in 1917. During this era, there were elaborate scoreboards that would show what was going on in the game. They even had little mechanical figures on the bases, or going around the diamond. I was like you watched a mechanical reenactment of the game on the board. There was a special name for these sophisticated mechanical scoreboards, but I am not able to remember the name. Do any of you remember?


  1. What a crowd!!
    What really peaks my interest in this photo is that the adults are wearing suits and the kids are wearing "knickers". Back in the day it was important to differentiate between who was a grown up and who was the child---not like today where the kids rule the roost!
    I'm tired of hearing parents say they want to be their child's 'best friend'. Let me tell ya something: there's plenty of room in a little kid's life for best friends, but only room for 2 parents!!!
    I remember once in my day when i was about 5 rushing into MR. Donnelly's candy store. I had come across a penny and wanted some peppermint sticks. I ran down the street so fast that it would have made ol' Jessie Owens proud (now there was an athlete!). I remember clearly that I cut right in front of Mrs. Blake and she nearly dropped her shopping bag. Well, I got my peppermint sticks and when I got home that night I got an all expenses paid trip to the woodshed courtesy of my old man for being disrespectful to my elders. I don't know who told on me but it could have been anyone in our town because people watched out for one another back then..not like today where everybody's wrapped up in themselves.
    If my Pop taught me anything it was to have respect for others....I miss him a lot.
    Keep 'em coming young man, I'll keep lookin' at 'em.

  2. It may be you are thinking of the 'Coleman Life-like Scoreboard'

    100 Years of Scorboard Watching has a number of scoreboards, although mainly the in-park ones.

    I don't recall any special names as such, but since these street displays were updated by telegraph operators, maybe there is a clue that will jog your memory, PJM.

  3. Did the games take place on Sundays? Everyone is so well dressed.

  4. Ellena, they did indeed play on Sundays. I wonder if they are following the world series in this photo. Chicago White Sox beat the NY Giants that year. Then in 1919 the infamous Black Sox scandal happened and the team was pretty much dismanteled after that. They didn't win another World Series until 2005.

  5. PJM, I like these old time scoreboards too.

    Mechanical and backlit machines were pretty much what could be done before television. One of my favorites is "Coleman's scoreboard invention." If you google it, you can see some nifty pictures of the contraption.

    The same technology was commonly used in penny arcades too. If you're near San Francisco, I'd recommend seeing the Musée Mécanique at the end of Fisherman's Wharf. It's a working museum of these antique machines.

  6. @Dave 107
    Are you saying that the Chicago White Socks had to wait 86 years until they won another World Series? If our Montreal HABS have to wait that long for their next Stanley cup, I wont be able to applaud them.

  7. Ellena, Yes It took a long time for the White Sox to win another. Think of the poor Chicago Cubs, their last World Series win was 1908. They have gone 102 years and still no World Series. Looking forward to the Bruins / Canadians series starting tonight.

  8. How awesome! I'm sure people were enthralled!

  9. @Ellena,
    I'm sorry for you but the "Hab"s won't be winning Lord Stanley's cup this decade.

    @Downtown Indy, very cool link!

  10. These scoreboards were often mounted outside newspaper offices and were usually just for "big" events like the World Series. What I find just as amazing as the suits and that so many were caught up in watching a mechanical scoreboard are the hats - so many hats! Seems like everyone wore hats back when.

  11. After googling a little, i found on the following link
    that the shop on the far right of the photograph was the first Judd & Detweiler's print shop, located at 420-422 11th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. You will easily recognize the shop on the PDF photograph (the PDF includes also the reproduction of an advertisement with a drawing of the shop front).
    The legend states that the shop was occupied by this firm from 1876 to 1912, so it is possible that the photo on your site was not taken in 1917.

    Since it is possible to read New York as the name of the team on the top right of the board, i assumed that the other team is the Washington Senators. Another search for instance shows at
    that in 1911, the W. Senators played the NY Highlanders at home 10 times between April and September. Of course, the photograph could have been taken another year. My Sherlock Holmes skills stop here (and please correct me if i'm wrong)!

    Thanks for the site!

  12. @Astrocrabpuff
    If the Habs don't win, winning will become a must for the Vancouver team.

  13. @Astrocrabpuff
    If the Habs don't win, winning will become a must for the Vancouver team.


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