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What is the lowest attendance for a Major League Baseball game?

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Answered 2014-08-04 17:17:54

23 people On September 8, 1916, the New York Yankees came to Philadelphia to play the hapless Athletics. The fans sitting in Shibe Park for the rain-delayed game were outnumbered by the men in uniform. In fact, when the Yankees were at bat, they had more players on the bench than fans in the seats. After an 8-2 win over the Yankees, for the only time in major league history, a team was two games back for every fan in attendance. 46 games back of the first place Red Sox and an announced attendance of 23. That is not considered the official record in many circles, however.

Post Script: The 23 brave fans saw another record that day. Philadelphia outfielder Wally Schang, a switch-hitter was the first major leaguer to hit home runs in consecutive at bats from different sides of the plate.

In many circles, the official record occurred on September 22, 1966 when the Chicago White Sox were at the original Yankee Stadium to play the Yankees in what will forever be the smallest announced crowd in MLB history as the game was played in front of just 413 paying fans.

That game is memorable because Red Barber, then an announcer for the Yankees had the cameras pan out to show the entire stadium showing the tens of thousands of empty seats (the game was believed to be televised locally on WPIX-TV, Channel 11 in New York though there is no known existing footage of that game). Barber was fired shortly after that, allegedly for showing the empty seats.

Post Script: Three members of that 1966 White Sox team played three years later in the 1969 World Series: Don Buford for the Orioles and both Tommie Agee and Al Weis for the "Miracle" Mets, who won that championship in the first year of the division era. Also on that '66 White Sox team was Tommy John, whom the surgery many pitchers have today is named for and after having it in 1974 and missing the '75 season would pitch for 14 more years through the 1989 season.

The division-era (since 1969) record unofficially was set on August 24, 2011. The head count, done by a tweeter, was 347 at a Reds-Marlins game at Sun Life Stadium. Hurricane Irene caused a large evacuation of the already-miniscule Marlins fanbase. The official attendance is far higher, as it is based on tickets sold, which are much more than 347. .

Officially, the division-era record also involves the A's. On April 17, 1979 only 653 people watched the hapless A's (they would lose 108 games in 1979) play the Seattle Mariners (who would lose 95 games that year). The A's won that game, too: 6-5.

Just for the record, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (where the A's play, and one of the last multipurpose stadiums in MLB) has the lowest capacity at 35,000 because most of the seats are tarped off (capacity was 50,000+ in 1979 when the record was set as seats were not tarped off then). The A's also have some of the cheapest tickets, and Cisco Field (the long-awaited replacement) will only house 34,000. Considering the A's have won 10 World Series, it seems to be that they just have a hard time selling tickets. The crosstown Giants have much greater fanfare, especially with their recent World Series win.

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