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View Full Version : When Was The Last Time a Major Professional Sports Team Forfeited?


HeyHomie
04-13-2004, 09:59 AM
Rather than hijack this thread (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=250525), I'll ask my question here.

When was the last time a team in a major professional sport (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, or MLS) forfeited a game? I'm specifically interested in whether or not it's ever happened in a MLB game in the modern era (I'm sure that more than a few of those early MLB games in the 1870's & 1880's were forfeited for one reason or another; the game wasn't as tightly controlled and organized then as it is today).

What prompted this question was a 15-inning Cubs vs. Braves game a few days ago. After the Cubs had used up all their bench and most of their bullpen, the announcers were speculating on whether or not the Cubs' manager would bring in a starting pitcher. It would seem to me that it may be prudent to forfeit the game rather than risk overworking a valuable commodity like Kerry Wood. But then again, I'm not a MLB manager, and the Cubs won the game with a bullpen pitcher on the mound, so it was all moot.

DISCLAIMER: I mentiond MLB, MLS, NBA, NHL and NFL simply because I wanted to leave out minor-league and/or semi-pro incidents. If any non-US Dopers want to chime in with tales of what happened in professional sports on their shores, I won't mind.

silenus
04-13-2004, 10:05 AM
Well, The White Sox had to forfeit the second game of a double-header back in 1979 when an "anti-disco" promotional stunt between games led to near-riot conditions and the almost total trashing of the field. Does that count? :D

don't ask
04-13-2004, 10:13 AM
In 1909 South Sydney and Balmain were asked to play the Rugby League Grand Final as a curtain-raiser for a Wallabies vs Kangaroos match, Balmain took this as an insult and did not turn up.

South Sydney kicked off, then forward Bill Cann picked up the ball and scored. They walked off the field and were duly declared premiers.

I don't imagine at that time any sport was professional but it was big news.

BwanaBob
04-13-2004, 10:16 AM
I seem to recall a near-riot at nickel beer night at Cleveland (baseball). The fans got ugly, menaced the opponents (Texas?) who were whisked off the field, and the Indians forfeited. In the 1970's I believe.

RealityChuck
04-13-2004, 10:34 AM
In 1995, the Dodgers forfeited a game when fans threw souvenir baseballs onto the field.

asterion
04-13-2004, 11:06 AM
I guess the last couple of posts, at least for me, bring up the question of when the last forfeit was that didn't include fans being stupid?

fezpp
04-13-2004, 11:38 AM
In Premier League Football in the UK Middlesborough didn't turn up for a match against Blackburn, I think it was in 1998. They claimed that they had too many injuries to field a full team.
This was deemed to be unnaceptable and they ended up getting docked three points (rather than it just being chalked up as a loss and recieving no points for the game). Ironically they ended up getting relegated by less than three points. If they had fielded a team of 11 goats that day they would have stayed in the league!

Duke
04-13-2004, 11:51 AM
In 1909 South Sydney and Balmain were asked to play the Rugby League Grand Final as a curtain-raiser for a Wallabies vs Kangaroos match, Balmain took this as an insult and did not turn up. (snip) I don't imagine at that time any sport was professional but it was big news. No professional sports in 1909? Heck, the Rugby League code separated from Rugby Union because of professionalism!

don't ask
04-13-2004, 12:30 PM
No professional sports in 1909? Heck, the Rugby League code separated from Rugby Union because of professionalism!

Only a very attenuated view of professionalism. Rugby League came about from the inability of Rugby Union clubs to compensate players for financial losses. I knew a former Australian player that all fans would know, who retired in the 1970s. He didn't earn enough to buy his home. Modern pay rates are a fairly recent phenomenon, even 20 years ago most professional sports people had a job because you couldn't live on your contract payments.

Acsenray
04-13-2004, 12:46 PM
In 1909 ...
I don't imagine at that time any sport was professional ...

Are you sure about that? The first openly all-professional baseball club, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, played in 1869-1870. The first organized major baseball league, the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs, started in 1876.

I'm pretty sure there was professional soccer in England a few years before that.

don't ask
04-13-2004, 12:59 PM
As I say I don't imagine much sport was truly professional back then but I'm just basing that on what I do know. Deep into the 20th century Australian sports stars had other jobs, some had to reject opportunities to play for Australia because work interfered. Early 20th century English soccer players had jobs, often as physical labourers. Just before WWII English cricket was split between Gentlemen and Players. The Players who were paid to play often still had jobs.

don't ask
04-13-2004, 01:14 PM
Looking around I see that baseball players have been receiving a good living since the mid 1800s so obviously things are very different there.

awldune
04-13-2004, 02:17 PM
Doesn't a team forfeit if they can't make it to the game? I would think that teams are forced to forfeit relatively frequently due to grounded flights, bus crashes, etc. Not to mention what happened to a certain Uruguayan rugby team.

kunilou
04-13-2004, 03:03 PM
Doesn't a team forfeit if they can't make it to the game? I would think that teams are forced to forfeit relatively frequently due to grounded flights, bus crashes, etc. Not to mention what happened to a certain Uruguayan rugby team.

At least here in the U.S. games are usually postponed or sometimes cancelled rather than forfeited. Inability of a team to even get to the game is considered more of an Act of God.

RealityChuck
04-13-2004, 03:22 PM
The US had pro baseball players starting with the Red Stockings. Most players had second jobs, but only worked them during the winter.

Here's are two baseball forfeits where the fans weren't involved (from baseballibrary.com):

» July 18, 1954: The NL awards a forfeit victory over the Cards to the Phils for a stall that follows a first-inning brawl featuring Phils manager Terry Moore and 1B Earl Torgeson, and Cards C Sal Yvars. The Cardinals are under the impression that local ordinances prevent lights being turned on to continue a game. Down 8-1 in the fifth inning of game two, St. Louis begins stalling.

Thursday, September 15th, 1977: The Orioles forfeit to the Blue Jays when manager Earl Weaver pulls his team off the field in the 5th inning citing a hazardous condition—a small tarpaulin held down by bricks on the bullpen mound. The Jays are ahead 4–0 when the forfeit is called. The O's will end the season tied with the Red Sox at 97–64.

The latter seems to be the most recent.

Duke
04-13-2004, 03:27 PM
Just before WWII English cricket was split between Gentlemen and Players. The Players who were paid to play often still had jobs. True, but the situation was confusing there. After all, WG Grace made more money playing cricket as an "amateur" than any pro did. I know that even in English rugby union before open professionalism many top players received "under-the-table" payments, and not just to compensate for lost wages or to pay for expenses.

As for whether what cricketers or rugby players received constituted a "good wage"--you could make the argument that cricketers don't receive a good wage now. I knew an Oxford Blue who told me that he had been offered a provisional county contract but turned it down because he could make more money even at the lowest rungs of a City financial firm. Nearly all county cricketers have odd jobs in the close season.

But that might be an argument for another thread. I know of one international cricket match that was abandoned for crowd violence (it was the World Series of Cricket "test" match between West Indies and Australia at Georgetown), and several Test matches which were abandoned for other reasons (http://usa.cricinfo.com/db/STATS/TESTS/RESULTS/TEST_ABANDONED_MATCHES.html), but no forfeits. OTOH, there was a "World Series" baseball game from the late 19th century (actually, it was the "championship series" between the National League and American Association champs) which was forfeited because the Association manager objected to an umpire's call. The story is in Total Baseball--I will post it when I get home.

RealityChuck
04-13-2004, 03:52 PM
Moving away from baseball, there was a forfeit in the American Basketball Association's first season, on March 23, 1968. In a playoff game, no less.

Both the New Jersey Americans and Kentucky Colonels finished tied for fourth place, the last playoff position. A one-game playoff was scheduled at the New Jersey home court. However, the circus has booked their home arena (the Teaneck Amory in Teaneck NJ), so the game was sheduled for Commack Arena on Long Island. The arena at the time was the home of the Long Island Ducks of the American Hockey League. A makeshift floor was put on the ice, but water kept condensing on the floor, making it slippery. In addition, the roof was leaking from a rainstorm, dripping more water onto the court. Officials finally determined the conditions were unplayable and New Jersey lost by forfeit.

The Americans evidently didn't hold it against the arena -- the moved there the next year and changed their name to the New York Nets.

BobT
04-13-2004, 03:54 PM
In the situation of the long Cubs-Braves games, if the Cubs had forfeited because they didn't want use up too many pitchers, there would have been serious repercussions. Most likely the Cubs players would have been irate that their manager just let them give up. Pro athletes at that level are extremely competitive. They would have kept playing even if they were both out of the pennant race. It's just not in their nature.

Most likely the Commissioner's Office would have issued sanctions of some kinds against Baker and the Cubs. Fans buy tickets expecting a game played to its conclusion. Not a game that ended because one team gave up.

Even if the Cubs had had to use a starting pitcher, it wouldn't have been that hard for them to reconfigure their rotation in the short term by calling up a new starter from the minors to fill in and sending down a pitcher who wasn't going to be available for a few days anyway.

I am always reminded of John Madden's line during the Super Bowl when the 49ers destroyed the Broncos.
"They always say, 'Well, they never quit!' Of course not, they don't let you quit!"

R. P. McMurphy
04-13-2004, 04:01 PM
Well, The White Sox had to forfeit the second game of a double-header back in 1979 when an "anti-disco" promotional stunt between games led to near-riot conditions and the almost total trashing of the field. Does that count? :D

That was a real-life forfeit. The White Sox wanted to boost attendance for a double header with the Detroit Tigers. They had a local disk jockey named Steve Dahl host a "Disco Demolition Night"{ promotion wherby if you brought a disco record to the game you could get in for $1 and they would blow up the records on the field between games. Then the trouble started. . .

A capacity crowd showed up and an estimate of 10,000 additional were outside the stadium. They didn't collect all of the records. The bunch of the records were "blown-up" between the games leaving a huge patch of the center field grass burned. Of course, the crown got unruly and some started throwing records like frisbees. Not a good situation especially in a place like Comisky Park which, at the time, was known as the largest tavern in the world.

The umpires declared the field unplayable for the second game and the White Sox were forced to forfeit.

Captain Lance Murdoch
04-13-2004, 04:14 PM
In qualifying for the 2006 World Cup a game between Guam and Nepal was cancelled because both teams withdrew. Now the world will be left to wonder what might have been.

wolf_meister
04-13-2004, 07:28 PM
Someone mentioned the Red Stockings were the first Major League Baseball team. I think it was George Carlin who said "If the Red Stockings were the first Professional baseball team, who did they play ??"

HeyHomie
04-13-2004, 07:37 PM
Someone mentioned the Red Stockings were the first Major League Baseball team. I think it was George Carlin who said "If the Red Stockings were the first Professional baseball team, who did they play ??"

IIRC, the Red Legs were the first to admit that they were being paid. FWIW.

BobLibDem
04-13-2004, 08:25 PM
If memory serves me, was not the last Washington Senators game a forfeit?

BobT
04-13-2004, 08:42 PM
If memory serves me, was not the last Washington Senators game a forfeit?

Your memory does indeed serve you right

http://retrosheet.org/boxesetc/B09300WS21971.htm

The last forfeit of an MLB game was in 1995 when the Dodgers forfeited a game to the Cardinals, but the Cardinals were already leading 2-1 with one out in the 9th.

Duke
04-13-2004, 08:44 PM
Found the "World Series" forfeit information. It happened in the 1885 series between Chicago (NL) and St. Louis (AA). From Total Baseball, page 102: Chicago (White Stockings of the NL--yes, the NL) was leading 5-4 in the sixth inning of Game Two when (St. Louis) Browns (of the AA) manager Charlie Comiskey pulled his team off the field, objecting to the umpiring of David Sullivan. Umpire Sullivan later forfeited the game to the White Stockings; he worked no more in the Series. Originally the game counted as a tie; later, though, Chicago manager Cap Anson decided that their team would count it as a win, as Sullivan had intended. The Series ended 3-3, with one (other) tie, after seven games.

jackelope
04-13-2004, 11:37 PM
Originally the game counted as a tie; later, though, Chicago manager Cap Anson decided that their team would count it as a win, as Sullivan had intended. The Series ended 3-3, with one (other) tie, after seven games.THere used to be ties in baseball? Interesting; that's news to me.At least here in the U.S. games are usually postponed or sometimes cancelled rather than forfeited. Inability of a team to even get to the game is considered more of an Act of God.Correct; when they had the big snowstorms out West this past winter, the (NBA) Memphis Grizzlies were unable to travel and postponed several games until later in the season.

And the make-up games weren't televised here due to some kind of scheduling prioties. :mad:

BobT
04-14-2004, 12:28 AM
There have always been ties in baseball. They are infrequent because under US rules, ties have to be replayed in their entirety.

In Japan, tie baseball games are more common since they don't play more than 12 innings. Ties there are not replayed.

Jman
04-14-2004, 03:53 AM
Your memory does indeed serve you right

http://retrosheet.org/boxesetc/B09300WS21971.htm



Ok, I'm quite confused...Washington won the game 7-5, after playing all 9 innings, and yet forfieted the game to NY? What happened to cause the game to be invalidated?

Cugel
04-14-2004, 07:03 AM
In 1909 .. Balmain ... did not turn up.

You don't have to go back to 1909 as Canberra, Brisbane, Penrith,
Cronulla, the Western Reds, Canterbury & North Queensland all forfeited
the opening round of 1996, due to the Super League farago.

owlstretchingtime
04-14-2004, 07:55 AM
In international football Scotland played a game against an East European team (my memory's ropey and google is no help) I think Lithuania, who didn't turn up as they thought it was an evening kick-off. The game was awarded to Scotland 3-0 (although I believe it was eventually replayed).

Also the Australian cricket team forfeited a world cup match in Zimbabwe for political and security reasons.

Also not quite a forfeit, but my Team, Tottenham Hotspur, were fined and banned for fielding an effectively u-17 team in the Inter-Toto cup (and we played the game at Brighton, and lost 8-0), which is as close to deliberately forfieting a game as I can remember.

Rune
04-14-2004, 08:08 AM
The Danish tennis team in the Davids Cup just forfeited a match against Algeria for security reasons. Algeria was awarded a win, as well as the next Danish opponent Slovenia. And then Denmark was further punished by being relegated to the bottom division and deprived of all cash prices for this year’s tournament.

And rightly so if you ask me.

Don’t know if the Danish Tennis Team qualifies as a major sports team.

RealityChuck
04-14-2004, 08:43 AM
THere used to be ties in baseball? Interesting; that's news to me.It used to happen before fields were lighted. If it got too dark, the game was called, and if the teams were tied at that point, it went in the records as a tie.

Once lights were put on the field, the games went on until there was a winner (in the early days, BTW, some teams had rules that prevented the lights from being turned on if the game started in daylight, so there were still ties). Now, some games in some cities get called because of curfew if they go on too long, but the games are continued from that point at a later date. A tie could still happen if the two teams are not scheduled to play again and the game has no playoff implications.

Duke
04-14-2004, 09:02 AM
Also the Australian cricket team forfeited a world cup match in Zimbabwe for political and security reasons. :smack: Of course. England also forfeited a match during the 2003 World Cup, for the same reasons.

Acsenray
04-14-2004, 09:49 AM
Someone mentioned the Red Stockings were the first Major League Baseball team. I think it was George Carlin who said "If the Red Stockings were the first Professional baseball team, who did they play ??"

Like a lot of George Carlin's jokes, this one's only funny so long as you don't look too closely at the facts. If you read carefully what I read above, the Red Stockings were the first openly, all-professional baseball club. There were amateur (or "gentlemen's") clubs, there were clubs that didn't admit that they paid players, there were clubs that paid only a few players, etc. There was no league as such, so teams like the Red Stockings would go from town to town and challenge the best clubs there. There were quite a few barnstorming clubs, well into the 20th century, one of the most famous being the House of David (http://peppergame.com/album/index.asp).

BobLibDem
04-14-2004, 09:54 AM
Ok, I'm quite confused...Washington won the game 7-5, after playing all 9 innings, and yet forfieted the game to NY? What happened to cause the game to be invalidated?
Thank you for the link- it appears with one out to go, fans stormed the field.

dantheman
04-14-2004, 10:20 AM
Now, this is interesting. I thought this thread was going to discuss the current Orioles/Devil Rays issue.

The really fascinating part about that is that the forefeit (which probably won't occur, but it's been mentioned) stems from an apparently illegal roster move that the Orioles made in recalling a player from the minors before he was eligible to be recalled.

bordelond
04-14-2004, 10:59 AM
A tie could still happen if the two teams are not scheduled to play again and the game has no playoff implications.

In MLB, aren't such ties left off a team's W-L record? IOW, instead of a record of 90-71-1, you'd see it recorded in the annals as a record of 90-71. I know I've seen fairly recent MLB W-L records that didn't add up to 162 games.

tiny ham
04-14-2004, 11:08 AM
That was a real-life forfeit. The White Sox wanted to boost attendance for a double header with the Detroit Tigers. They had a local disk jockey named Steve Dahl host a "Disco Demolition Night"{ promotion wherby if you brought a disco record to the game you could get in for $1 and they would blow up the records on the field between games. Then the trouble started. . .

And since then, Steve Dahl considers himself 1-0 for appearances for the Detroit Tigers. This year is a prominent anniversary of Disco Demolition, and they have hinted at something dynamic to mark the anniversary, although I doubt the Sox would ever let him come back. Although they should...if only to get SOMEONE to come to that crappy stadium. Also, Dahl and Bob Odenkirk are working on a Disco Demolition "mockumentary" movie and are trying to get Jack Black to play Dahl. Those who know Steve Dahl and remember him back in the Seventies know that Black would be PERFECT. (you can hear Steve Dahl on 105.9 in Chicago at 2:00 weekdays). He's one of my idols.

Also, I remember a few years ago a Bears game was ended in the third quarter due to lightning hitting the field. It was pre-season, but I imagine things like that must happen during the real season!

dantheman
04-14-2004, 11:14 AM
In MLB, aren't such ties left off a team's W-L record? IOW, instead of a record of 90-71-1, you'd see it recorded in the annals as a record of 90-71. I know I've seen fairly recent MLB W-L records that didn't add up to 162 games.

Sometimes that's because of rainouts that weren't rescheduled. For example, if a game between two teams is rained out late in the season, often it won't be made up unless the game would have an affect on the standings. So you do see teams with 160 or 161 games in a season sometimes.

Frank
04-14-2004, 11:19 AM
In MLB, aren't such ties left off a team's W-L record? IOW, instead of a record of 90-71-1, you'd see it recorded in the annals as a record of 90-71. I know I've seen fairly recent MLB W-L records that didn't add up to 162 games.
You are correct; however ties do count as games played, and all stats go in the record books. It's perfectly possible to have the W-L add up to 162 and have played more games. The record for games played in a season is 165 (out of 162) held by Maury Wills.

W-L records usually add up to less than the schedule because of rainouts that were not made up.

Duke
04-14-2004, 11:35 AM
In Japan, a baseball game is tied if the scores are level after 12 innings. (I think...now I better go check that.) Ties are recorded in the standings.

BobT
04-14-2004, 02:27 PM
In Japan, a baseball game is tied if the scores are level after 12 innings. (I think...now I better go check that.) Ties are recorded in the standings.

You are correct. Japanese games are ruled ties after 12 innings or inclement weather preventing play after 5 innings. The ties are listed in the standings, but not figured into the team's winning percentage. This is unlike the NFL where the infrequent ties do count in the standings as .5 win and .5 loss.

Major League Baseball ties count for purposes of statistics, although the game will have no winning or losing pitcher. Tie games are made up in their entirety if possible.

In the minor leagues, tie games are usually considered suspended games are picked up again from the point where play was stopped.

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