Ill. State Playoffs Cancelled (1947)

Here’s something I’d previously missed, and rather wish I hadn’t. It’s absolutely fascinating in many dimensions:

There will be no playoff series in the Illinois State League after all. Directors of the circuit called off the post-season games on the final day of the season, at a time when President Howard Millard was preparing to release the playoff schedule to the wire services…. In fact, Millard already had notified one umpire that he would work the series…. In explaining this unexpected action, Red Hoffman, vice-president of the Belleville Stags, said that his players did not wish to engage in the playoffs since they had won the title in both halves of the season…. However, the Belleville players stated they wanted to engage in the series, provided they would share in the gate…. They did not want to play on a straight salary basis…. Meanwhile, Marion Manager Mel Ivey announced that he was incensed by the action…. He pointed out that, when playoff plans were originally drawn up, his Marion club was leading in the second half race…. It was decided that Marion would meet Belleville for the season’s championship, if Marion retained its lead…. But, if Belleville should win the second half race, it was decided that the first four clubs would engage in a Shaughnessy playoff series…. Accordingly, Ivey charged, the various teams reserved their best pitchers to oppose Marion, with the result that his team was knocked out of first place. Belleville slipped into the top spot and Centralia and Mt. Vernon qualified for the playoffs by finishing in the third and fourth positions.

The Sporting News, September 24, 1946; page 33 (courtesy of Paper of Record and SABR). Punctuation as in the original.

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