As the football season comes to a close this Super Bowl Sunday many Americans will sit down to enjoy a full day of Super Bowl activities, including snacks, dinner and a few beverages with friends. 107 years ago the Palouse Ministerial Association believed strongly that this is a problem.
On May 2nd, 1907 there was a different scourge overflowing the land, the scourge of Sunday baseball. The Palouse Ministerial Association purchased space to print a column on the last page of the Palouse Republic, the headline ran: ‘Evils of Sunday Baseball.’
The Palouse Ministerial Association went on in the article to explain the merits of baseball and the importance of sports, however they contended that: “Our colleges and universities throughout the country have their baseball and football teams, but no school of good repute allows its team to play upon Sunday; and in some states it is against the law to play such a game on Sunday.” The article contends that boys and young men have been seen carousing in the streets before and after the games on Sundays. They believe that such carousing could imply to visitors that the city is a rough place.
The Palouse Republic, was a weekly regional newspaper located in Palouse, Washington directly over the state line to the west of Latah County. The article is quite topical as the Latah County Historical Society recently acquired a Kennedy Ford baseball score book dating from 1926-1930. Kennedy Ford began as a place to ford the Palouse River, which later became a settlement named after one of the prominent families that lived there T. Kennedy.
The score book shows the play-by-play score of what transpired in these games along with the date, opponent and place of the games. The article from the Palouse Ministerial Association must not have made an impact since the score book is filled with records of baseball games on Sundays. Not all of the games recorded have dates; however of the games with dates, 16 games out of 20 (or 80%) were played on Sundays.
As America looks forward to Super Bowl XLVIII it is important to remember that only 107 years ago sports on Sunday was considered a risqué topic. While sports on Sunday may have been enjoyed by many people in Latah County there were those in the clergy (and presumably still do) who believe it should be a day of rest.
Personally, I can’t seem to watch enough sports, especially on Super Bowl Sunday. Go Seahawks!
As I wrote this post I figured I’d take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Zachary Wnek and I am the new museum curator at Latah County Historical Society. I have studied at the University of Oregon, been a historical interpreter at This is the Place Historic Park, taught school in Gambell, Alaska, and most recently have received a Master’s Degree in public history from Eastern Washington University. I am excited to be the new museum curator and look forward to working within such a great organization. Feel free to drop by the office, email or call to introduce yourself.