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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Umbrella-wielding granny helps incite mini-riot at baseball game

From our archives, 100 years ago

A baseball game at Loon Lake turned into a massive base-brawl, as dozens of men and women spectators from both sides ended up in fist-swinging dog pile.

“Legs were in the air and heads on the ground in a mass of struggling, shouting humanity that grew in volume each moment,” wrote a correspondent. “Men swore and women wept, everybody talked and nobody heard. In the midst of it all, an elderly woman in the grandstand brandished a torn umbrella and told what she would do if she were a man.”

In fact, this same elderly woman and her umbrella had been partly responsible for inciting this mini-riot.

It all began during a game between the Deer Park team and the Hanchez team. A “stout” Deer Park fan walked out over the grass carrying a banner bearing the name of the Hanchez pitcher, George Clink, but with a yellow streak down the middle, apparently implying that Clink was “yellow” – a coward or traitor. Clink had until recently been a Deer Park pitcher.

Clink took the banner good-naturedly, but some of the Hanchez fans did not. Two young women rushed for the banner and were trying to tear it down when interrupted by the elderly woman with the umbrella, who smacked them on the back while making “angry declarations.” A Hanchez player tried to rescue the girls. He, too, got smacked by the umbrella-wielding grandma.

At this point, an “angry little man with red hair rushed in,” and jolted the stout man on the jaw. The banner and its owner hit the ground, and “the main event was on.”

Partisans rushed in from all sides. All order broke down. It was restored only when a deputy arrived and, with help from the noncombatants, managed to pull the pile apart. The stout man with the banner was on the bottom, suffering from facial lacerations. Others suffered lacerations and cracked ribs. The “angry little man” was arrested for his role, yet the old lady with the umbrella apparently got off scot-free.

The most surprising development of all? Both teams resumed the game. Hanchez won 6-2.

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