On March 17, 1911, a fire destroyed Washington D.C.’s Boundary Field, almost immediately construction began on a new ballpark on the site–what would become Griffith Stadium.
The Hahn Shoe Company took out advertisements in all of Washington’s daily newspapers announcing a promotion for the new ballpark:
Baseball Season Tickets To Be Given Away!
“Baseball is the popular game that it is because it is A GOOD, CLEAN GAME–the BEST GAME ON EARTH FOR THE MONEY YOU PAY!
“‘HAHN’S SHOES,’ also are so popular–because THEY ARE GOOD SHOES–the BEST SHOES KNOWN FOR THE MONEY YOU PAY!
“To still further popularize BASEBALL and the ‘HAHN’ SHOES this spring, we start today a great VOTING CONTEST–the awards in which are to be
“Three Season Tickets to Scheduled American League Games–Each Ticket Good for Fifty Admissions to (.75) Grand Stand Seats at the Washington Baseball Park.”
The contest called for fans to collect votes on their behalf–the three highest vote totals by April 29 would receive the tickets to 50 home games from May 4 through the end of the season.
The contest became very popular, and by April 9 The Washington Times said that a million votes had been cast,
Leader boards were displayed in the windows of each Hahn store, and The Washington Herald said “So close to the present leaders are many of the other contestants that constant changes are likely.”
When the contest came to an end, The Times claimed “a total of 7,000,000 votes was [sic] cast by friends of the contestants.”
Hahn’s announced the winners in large ads in all of Washington’s newspapers:
The winning contestants each received more than 200,000 votes each. Hahn’s said:
“That baseball and Hahn’s Reliable Shoes are both at the zenith of their popularity here in Washington was manifested by the phenomenal success of our Baseball Voting Contest, in which millions of votes were cast.”
Despite the claim that baseball was “at the zenith” of its popularity in the nation’s capital, or perhaps because construction of the new ballpark wasn’t completely finished until July 24, attendance dropped by nearly 10,000 from 1910 to 1911.
The Senators were no better either. They followed their 66-85 record in 1910, with a slightly worse 64-90 mark in 1911.