Tenth Copper City Classic Vintage Base Ball Tournament at Warren Ballpark on April 6th and 7th, Commemorates 1919 Chicago White Sox
In October 1919, most persons knowledgeable about baseball were confident that the heavily-favored Chicago White Sox would easily defeat the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. But the Reds upset the American League champions and the resultant scandal, implicating eight members of the White Sox team in conspiring with gamblers to “fix” the 1919 World Series, rocked major league baseball and almost destroyed the sport.
The eight players implicated in the scandal were branded as the “Black Sox” and were forever banished from “organized” baseball. Three of those Black Sox - Chick Gandil, Buck Weaver and Lefty Williams – along with Hal Chase, another major leaguer blackballed from baseball for his alleged involvement in the 1919 World Series scandal – would play during the 1920s in an “outlaw” league that included a team that called Bisbee’s historic Warren Ballpark its home field.
Almost a century has passed since the Black Sox scandal shocked the nation. The 1919 Chicago White Sox, a team loaded with talented players but tragically flawed by bickering factions, will be remembered at this year’s Tenth Annual Copper City Classic Vintage Base Ball Tournament, on April 6th and 7th, at Warren Ballpark.
Teams dressed in period uniforms and playing the game of base ball as it existed when Abraham Lincoln first ran for president, will take part in the two-day event at Bisbee’s 109-year-old ballpark. Vintage base ball is played without gloves, using an 1870-style lemon peel ball. Although, similar to modern baseball, the game also has some archaic rules that make it fun to watch.
Gates open at 9 a.m. both days and action will continue through early evening. This year’s tournament features teams from the Arizona Territories Vintage Base Ball League and a travelling team from the Colorado Vintage Base Ball league.
Also scheduled to perform between games and innings on Saturday afternoon is the Old Arizona Brass Band from Tucson. The 18-piece band will perform 19th Century musical arrangements representing the 4th U.S. Cavalry regimental band, which entertained soldiers and civilians in southern Arizona during the 1870s and 80s.
The tournament is hosted by the Friends of Warren Ballpark, a non-profit organization sponsored by the Bisbee Council on the Arts and Humanities. The Friends organization is tasked with raising funds to renovate and improve the Bisbee Unified School District’s historic baseball and football facility. All proceeds from the event will go towards projects to upgrade Warren Ballpark, which was constructed in 1909 and has been in continuous use since.