Today I’m gonna take a break from scribbling madly about what’s going on right now and give you an old-timey anecdote. An 128-year-old anecdote to be exact. The following story was extracted from The New Bill James Historical Abstract. If I haven’t mentioned it before, this is one of my favorite books in the whole wide world. And I love this bit… it reminds me of something you’d have heard from Paul Harvey.
1882: The Secret Scorer
When Albert Spalding was the president of the Chicago National League team from 1882 to 1891 (the team now known as the Cubs) he felt that the official scorer should be independent, not subject to criticism or pressure. According to an article by Alex Haas, Spalding successfully kept secret the identity of his official scorer- for ten years. Cap Anson, the manager, did not know who it was. The league president, who received the accounts, did not know who was sending them. The press had no idea who the official scorer was. The man who mailed them to the league office didn’t know what he was mailing; he was just dropping something off for his mother.
His mother was Elisa Green Williams, and she was the official scorer. She attended every game and sat between the wives of two of the team’s stars, Cap Anson and Abner Dalrymple. She scored every play without ever tipping them off that hers was the official account.