A Lesson in Attendance
CLEVELAND, OHIO - Guess which team set the regular season attendance record on this date in 1948 (the dateline kind of gives it away)? It wasn't the New York Yankees or some other storied franchise. It was the Cleveland Indians.
The Indians drew 82,781 fans to Cleveland's Municipal Stadium on this date in 1948 to watch the Indians sweep a doubleheader from the Philadelphia A's (today's Oakland A's). Cleveland drew exceptionally well that entire year, and for good reason, they won the American League Pennant and beat the Boston Braves in the World Series.
The record for any game that mattered was set during the 1959 World Series when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox drew 92,720 to the Los Angeles Coliseum, better suited for football, for game 5. The Coliseum was used by the Dodgers while waiting for Dodger Stadium to be built.
Speaking of attendance, it has been generally uphill since the late 1800's with downturns for major catastrophes such as World Wars and The Great Depression. Attendance usually picks up after those events resolve.
World War I
1916 5,215 - War goes on but United States not involved.
1917 4,186 - United States enters World War I
1918 3,032 - War still going during the season, ends in November.
1919 5,843 - 1st season after the Armistice
The Great Depression
1929 7,802 - Stock Market crash October
1930 8,211 - Attendance record set. Economic downturn not fully felt yet
1931 6,850 - Depression sets in
1932 5,657 - Depression continues
1933 4,967 - Depression at its worst
1934 5,694 - Some recovery seen
1935 5,982 - More modest recovery
1936 6,529 - More modest recovery
1937 7,216 - Recession sets in, last through most of ‘38
World War II
1941 7,789 - Pearl Harbor attacked in December
1942 6,988 - War continues
1943 6,031 - War continues
1944 7,063 - War continues, but attendance increases from previous year
1945 8,814 - Japan surrenders in August, war ends
1946 14,914 - Attendance boom in 1st full season after war ends
Historical atendance figures
Wikipedia attendance records
The Great Depression
The Great Depression (encarta)
This story is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.