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Blues lose AL's inaugural game

CHICAGO, Wednesday April 24, 1901 -- Ban Johnson's new major league, the American League, began today when Roy Patterson and the Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Blues 8-2.

The visitors' Bill Hoffer gave up six walks and four hits in the first two innings, falling behind 7-0. He pitched well thereafter, but the damage was done.

While the games in the East were being rained out, hardly a sprinkle marred the festivities here. A huge throng beseiged new South Side Park, many fans arriving on the city's new "American League Limited." The train brings fans from the heart of the business district in just 10 minutes.

The crowd, about 14,000, overflowed the grandstand and bleachers onto the field. Even president Jim Hart of the rival Chicago Nationals was here.

By mid-afternoon, it was 53 degrees. At 3:30 the teams lined up at home plate, then, behing a "rough rider" band, they marched to the flagpole at the south end of the field. There, last season's minor league AL pennant was raised as the band played "The Star-Spangled Banner."

When umpire Tom Connolly called "Play Ball" at 3:35, Ollie Pickering stepped into the batter's box and, with Patterson's first pitch, the AL was born. Pickering lofted the second pitch to centerfielder Dummy Hoy and the Blues were soon retired. But in the bottom half, Hoffer's wildness quickly got him in trouble. He simply couldn't get the ball down.

NOTES: Beck's double was the Al's first extra-base hit. Next day, he hit the AL's first homer, but the Blues' Earl Moore lost his AL debut 7-3.