An empty Orioles ballpark

39 Photos

The Orioles game on April 29 was believed to be the first game in major league history to be played without a paying crowd.

So what was the lowest attended game before today?

It was a game between the Troy (N.Y.) Trojans and the Worcester (Mass.) Ruby Legs on Sept.28, 1882, when six fans attended the game at the Worcester Driving Park Grounds.

So why was the attendance to that game, which was won by Troy 4-1, so small? Here’s the way MLB’s historian John Thorn explains it.

Both teams were National League franchises and both had been recently informed that their franchises weren’t being renewed for the 1883 season. The NL was looking to get bigger and both teams would be replaced by teams awarded to larger markets.

Neither team was very good on the field. In the eight-team NL standings, Troy (35-48) and Worcester (18-66) finished seventh and eighth, respectively. In fact, Troy finished the season 37 games back of the first-place Chicago White Stockings.

How bad was the Worcester team? According to Baseball Reference, the team went through three managers over the course of an 84-game season.