When going through the ONU baseball archives in the Ada Historical Museum, I wondered: "What's wrong with this picture?"
When going through the ONU baseball archives in the Ada Historical Museum, I wondered: "What's wrong with this picture?"

ADA — The big story in the last couple weeks has been the uncovering of the Houston Astros cheating scandal. This, actually, when all is revealed, might prove bigger than the 1919 Black Sox scandal (see the movie: Field of Dreams).

But, after some in-depth investigative journalism of my own, I found that both of these scandals might pale in comparison with the, until now, little known ONU baseball scandal of 1910. And I’ll get to this shortly.

The dynamics of the Houston Astros scandal of today revolves around high-tech devices being reportedly utilized at their state-of-the-art Minute Maid Park in Texas during the 2017 World Series Championship season.

For instance, there’s evidence high definition video cameras clandestinely placed in the digitized scoreboard beyond centerfield were picking up the catcher’s pitch signals. In turn, this was then relayed to the Astros hitters in various ways.

Now, yes, ONU’s Wander Field (named after former ONU trustee Ronald Wander, Class of 1924) is now also a high-tech digitized ballpark. Not to mention that in recent years it’s gone through quite a “face-lift” by J&D Turf, a company that also spruced up the Dayton Dragon’s and Indianapolis Colt’s fields, respectively.

And no, my research didn’t turn up any foul (pun intended) play in this modern ONU stadium. It was actually in a field of old.

In 1910, ONU was playing on more of a “sandlot field.” What’s more, “digitized” anything was the stuff of science fiction. But the scandal, nonetheless, also revolved around a clandestine manipulation of the scoreboard.

In the photo above, provided by Leland Crouse’s ad hoc Ada Historical Museum, you can see that ONU was playing Cleveland State (“CS”). What’s more, the game, at the time that the photo was taken, was over. And what went out on the AP wire (or maybe “teletype,” it was that long ago) that day, was that ONU had won 6 to 5.

However, after tracking down one of those players from the 1910 team (who wanted to die with a clear conscience, and at 110 years old that could have been any day), he revealed that the seventh inning frame – obscured by the “tall guy” who was strategically placed there– was really a zero!

And doing the math, even without a calculator (just some chalk in honor of that era), it became clear ONU had actually lost that day, 4 to 5.


Editor’s Note: The above piece is — with the exception of the mention of Leland Crouse, his historical museum, and the presence of the included photograph at the aforementioned site — a complete fabrication, a whimsical “what if” dreamt up by the author for his and the readership’s amusement.