Original Document
Original Document
Robert Reiss, "17,000 Watch Phillies Whip A's in First Sunday Game. Church Attendances Fail to Show Predicted Drop at Blue Law's Death. National Leaguers Hand 8 to 12 Defeat to Minions of Connie Mack." Philadelphia Bulletin, April 9, 1933.

Philadelphia saw its first Sunday baseball game yesterday–but took it as a matter of course.

The crowd of 17,000 that swarmed into Shibe Park for the epochal game was just another ball crowd. There was no roistering, no boisterous celebration of the wake of the Blue Laws–none of the dire things that the Blue Laws advocates woefully prophesized.

The crowd cheered and made noise while it watched the Phillies hand the A's an 8 to 1 trimming–but a passerby two blocks away wouldn't have known it. No church services were disturbed, a fact that was admitted by clergymen and even by some of the men who fought hardest against liberalization of the Blue Laws.

Shibe is Surprised

Even Tom Shibe, owner of the Athletics, was surprised.

The boxes where the elite normally watch the pastime, were almost empty, but the grandstand was jammed with cash customers and the bleachers filled comfortably with the sided-ion-the-wool variety of fan.

It was a well-dressed, ordinary sort of gathering, out to see a baseball game. In no way did it represent a group watching a game unique in Philadelphia. It was as if the defunct laws of 1794 never had existed.

Treat for Many

"This should mean a great deal for Philadelphia itself as well as for the Philadelphia baseball teams," Shibe said as he took his seat. "This is a crowd that evidently is enjoying itself as it likes to. These are ball fans, many of whom have been unable to see their favorite pastime because of the Blue Laws."
"Just take a look around you and see if these are the sort of people you would call law breakers."

Connie Mack, gray-haired leader of the Athletics, was philosophical regarding the comparatively small turnout.

"There are as many here today as I expected," he said. "We must remember this is an exhibition game."

Not Disappointed

"If it were a championship game, I should feel a bit disappointed. But I expect the attendance to increase during the season. For the last few years, because of the depression, we have had a falling off in attendance."

"I look for this to pick up. This will be particularly true if we can give the fans some good baseball."

Mack was particularly pleased, he said, at the behavior of the crowd.

There was the usual turnout of public offici8als but they received only passing attention. Even the man responsible for the game entered and left the stands without being noticed.

Schwartz Unheralded

State Representative Louis Schwartz, who sponsored the bill that killed the Blue Laws, strode to his seat without a head being turned or a camera pointed his way. …

Many at Other Games

The exhibition between the two major league clubs did not receive all of the attention given by the fans in the city.

It was estimate that nearly 40,000 persons witnessed this and other games during the game.

Rev. George Moaha, pastor of the Belmont Baptist Church, 44th st. and Westminster ave., whop said he was not opposed to liberalization of the Sunday laws, found his faith justified when his church was filled "as usual."

"The game had not effect," he said. "Many ministers believed it would, but I never thought so."

Majority View the same

Others held divergent views, but the majority admitted church attendance appeared unaffected by the new deal. Dr. William B. Forney, secretary of the Lord's Day Alliance and leader in the long fight for "preservation of the Sabbath," frankly admitted "no one expected Sunday baseball to affect the morning services min churches." He was sure, however, that the baneful effect of Sunday baseball would be felt ultimately, especially in the Sunday school services where those are held during the afternoon.

Credit: Philadelphia Bulletin, April 9, 1933.
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