King Kelly, 1887

“Many times,” King Kelly wrote, “have I been asked the question, ‘To what do you ascribe the great popularity of base ball?’ This, seems to me, can be answered in just two words, ‘The excitement.’ People go to see games because they love excitement and love to be worked up. That is one reason why I believe in ‘kicking’ now and then on the diamond. It may be all right for the newspapers to say that ‘base ball will become more popular when played without kicking.’ I disagree entirely with these authorities on this subject. Look at the Chicago Base Ball Club. It has been the most successful in this country. Why? One good reason because they are ‘chronic kickers,’ and people flock to see them to witness the sport. You won't find the ordinary man going out to a base ball field when it’s 80° in the shade to see two clubs play ball for a couple of hours, without a word being said on either side. The people who go to ball games want good playing, with just enough kicking to make things interesting thrown in.”

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