Danville, Ill., Now Claims to Be First to Top ’51 Gate (1952)

A claim of malfeasance, apparently, from The Sporting News of August 20, 1952, on page 40. I’ve never particularly trusted anyone’s published attendance numbers, but here’s some (thin) documentation about a specific, season-long, instance of padding the counts:

DANVILLE, Ill.–Danville of the Class D Mississippi-Ohio Valley League, through General Manager Hillman Lyons, is the latest club to file a claim to being the first in O.B. [Organized Ball] to surpass its 1951 attendance this year.

League records last season showed the Dans drew 24,775, but when Lyons took over this year, he and a government tax expert checked the figures and found the gate actually was only 14,487 paid. The Dans surpassed that figure on June 8 this season with 15, 979. After 45 games, the total for the current campaign was 55,424–an average of 1,232.

Lyons, a former catcher, turned to the business end of the game in 1949 at Paducah. Last season he was general manager at Paris, a town of 9,800 which turned out 51,331 for the pennant-winning Mississippi-Ohio Valley League club last year.

Prior to Danville’s claim of being the first to top ’51 at the gate, New Orleans (Southern) was credited with the distinction.

Wonder if someone awarded a prize for this accomplishment….