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100 years ago in Spokane: Crowds gather outside news offices to hear World Series play-by-play

 (Spokesman-Review archives)
(Spokesman-Review archives)

Baseball fans in Spokane had no radio, TV or ESPN Gamecast for following the 1917 World Series.

However, they did have the sidewalk outside the Spokane Daily Chronicle building.

“The dope will begin to fly around the fire escape on the Monroe Street side of the Chronicle office at 12 o’clock tomorrow,” announced the Chronicle.

Translation: The Chronicle would announce every pitch and every play from a platform above the sidewalk “as it comes over the Associated Press wires from Comiskey Park.”

Large crowds routinely gathered outside both the Chronicle and Spokesman-Review buildings to follow the action, 1917-style.

From the Italian file: Joseph Cozzetto, a leader of Spokane’s Italian community, said that his countrymen are more than willing to fight for the U.S., but a few unfortunate circumstances have given people the false impression that Italians are “slackers.”

The main problem: A language barrier when it comes to the draft board. Cozzetto cited an example of a young Italian man from Spokane who appeared before the draft board and asked that he be granted American citizenship before being inducted. He said he thought that “if he went without papers, he would be hated by the other soldiers there.”

However, his limited command of English made it seem as if he was trying to get out of serving. He was not, and he was now in the Army training camp at American Lake (Fort Lewis).