A Major League Baseball source said Tuesday that Wednesday’s White Sox-Orioles game will be the first contest played without fan admittance.
After consulting baseball historians on the subject, the source said none of them could point to a game ever being played without any crowd.
The first two games of the series were postponed Monday and Tuesday due to safety concerns as riots broke out near the ballpark. The Orioles decided to play Wednesday’s game at Camden Yards without fan admittance and make up the first two games as part of a doubleheader in May.
John Thorn, Major League Baseball’s official historian, wrote on his Twitter account that the previous record for smallest attendance for a baseball game was six back on Sept. 28, 1882, at Worcester.
There are several examples of MLB games in the modern era that were played in front of tiny crowds. Back on April 17, 1979, the Mariners played the A’s at the Coliseum in front of 653 people, at least according to the official attendance. Reports indicate there were roughly 250 people actually in attendance.
The White Sox hosted the Blue Jays on April 9, 1997, at Comiskey Park for a game that drew only 746 fans.
The Marlins and Reds played a game in front of a reported 347 fans after Hurricane Irene in 2011. It was the first game of a doubleheader, and the official attendance of more than 22,000 counted tickets sold for both games.
U.S. Cellular Field played host to a pair of sparsely attended games between the Marlins and Expos back in 2004. The teams played two games at the Cell in September 2004 because of Hurricane Frances. Only 4,003 showed up for the first game, and 5,457 came for the second game.