Cherokee vs. Pickens: An early and contentious rivalry

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One of the earliest baseball games ever played in Cherokee illustrates that player spats and controversy on the field are nothing new.

In the match-up between the Cherokee Stars and the Pickens Athletics in June 1886, the Cherokee team came out on tops, 39-33 — but only because of a forfeit.

Apparently, Pickens’ Samuel Tate was called to bat twice in the 7th inning, but failed to appear, according to the Cherokee Advance newspaper account:

“… whereupon “time” was called by the Umpire and he was put out — making three outs. Pickens refused to go to the field and give Cherokee their innings, and in consequence the Umpire declared the game forfeited by Pickens …

In justice to Pickens we quote their reason for quitting the field: — “When the Cherokees started to the field on the 7th inning one of them told the Pickens nine that it was their last time on the field. The Pickens refused to play unless the Cherokee would play the nine innings, which they would not consent to do.

To this the Cherokees reply:

“Admitting that one of our boys did say it was their last time on the field the captain did not say so. And besides why did Pickens go to bat and get two out before refusing to play the inning? The captain knew nothing of any intention of quitting and intended playing the nine innings out, and so publicly stated to the Pickens and the Umpire when they refused to play long.””

The game was significant in other ways: As Lowell Lawson points out in his book “Game Time,” this newspaper account was its first detailed account of a baseball game and the first by a local area paper to use box scores for a sporting event.

The game was a big social affair, too. More than 400 people from Canton and the surrounding area were in attendance at the Ball Ground field, and “Everybody, especially the ladies,” were “cordially invited.” Special trains and half rates were also in effect.

“This was one of the most interesting and exciting games of ball played at Ball Ground,” the account concluded, “since when the Indians played on the same ground there many years ago.”

Read the entire account below (click to enlarge):

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Posted in Newspaper, Pre-1900, Sports Tagged with:

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