Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/221

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191
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

the past season's experience stands forth as affording unmistakable evidence of the fact that the greatest evil the system of professional ball playing ever encountered or is likely to encounter is that arising from the pool-selling business inaugurated in 1871. The cause of its introduction was a very loose system of arranging wagers on the games, there being constant disputes arising from the want of some reliable depository of the stakes of the betting class. To remedy this, the pool-selling system was introduced, with the sole view of putting an end to the quarreling and bickering incident to the 'betting exchange' business which had previously prevailed. Unfortunately for the professionals, this pool-selling innovation has proved more damaging in its results than any one dreamed of, the evils before existing in the betting-mart being trifling in comparison. Before pools were sold on games, it was only by a rough and unreliable estimate that any idea of the amount bet on a match could be ascertained, except in such cases of individual investments where a man would bet $1,000 or more in place of $25 or $50 on a match. But now the amount of money pending in a contest on which pools have been sold can be known to the interested few to a dollar, and hence the temptation to fraudulent arrangements for losing matches for betting purposes becomes so great as almost to be irresistible. Since the introduction of pool-selling at Base Ball matches, pools amounting to over $30,000 have been known to be sold on a single match, and it has been in the power of parties knowing the aggregate amount of money invested, and who also knew which club the larger amount was invested on, to so manipulate things as to make the contest terminate just as the special 'ring' of the day desired it should. What benefit therefore pool-selling yielded in supplying a regular responsibility in the payment of bets in the place of the previous loose way of staking money was more than offset by the great temptations to fraud the knowledge of the amounts invested on the favorite club afforded and which the pool business admitted of. But, aside from the special evil of the system referred to, the very existence of the betting mart on the ball field has been found to be demoralizing in the extreme. Where this system of open betting exists, it is characterized by a suspicion of foul play by the contesting nines whenever either glaring errors or one-sided scores mark the playing of the game. Besides, during the contest, the class of fellows who patronize the game simply to pick up dollars by it, indulge in the vilest abuse and profanity in their comments on those errors of the play which damage the chances of winning their bets or pools. In fact, in every way likely to affect the interests of professional ball playing, is the pool-selling business an evil, and one, too, that has done more to lower the status of professional ball playing and to bring into question the honesty of the professional class than half a dozen such exposures of fraud as the Wansley case of 1865."