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Exhibition Baseball Americana

The National Game, from Coast to Coast

“What other nation on the face of the earth has a game to compare . . . to baseball? You cannot name one,” surmised the San Francisco Chronicle in 1887, noting that baseball fever was a “disease that is now epidemic.” The malady had been festering in town since the Civil War, when a pair of former New York Knickerbockers established the San Francisco Pacifics in 1862. The completion of the transcontinental railroad soon made it feasible for eastern clubs to bring their brand of major league ball to the West Coast in the off season, and in 1890 minor league teams debuted from Portland to Seattle. In 1884, the winners of the National League and American Association pennants met in the first “World Series,” unabashedly attaching global importance to their championship match, even though it went unnoticed by other nations.

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