Lost in Time: What’s an “Unaccepted Chance”?

Box Score From the April 19, 1888 Edition of the Austin American-Statesman

Box Score From the April 19, 1888 Edition of the Austin American-Statesman for a Game Played by Houston and Fort Worth.

Friend and research colleague Darrell Pittman sent me this question overnight – along with the above featured 19h century box score: “What is an ‘unaccepted’ chance?” Hmmm! If you examine the details of the ancient game account, please note that Howard, the Houston shortstop, is credited with an “Unaccepted chance”.

My answer is the ever popular “damifino”! Although the question does leave ample room for considerable room for non-serious conjecture:

(1) For one thing, and this is the first thought that jumps out at me, why is the Austin American Statesmen waiting until April 19, 1888 – almost two weeks – to publish a game account and box score for a game played on April 7, 1888? – Was the esteemed capitol city newspaper making up for an earlier “unaccepted chance” to publish this story in a timely fashion?

(2) We note that Houston took a one-run lead in the top of the 9th, but that Fort Work fought back for a two-run rally that gave them a 7-6 victory in the bottom half of the last regularly scheduled game inning. – Is it possible that Fort Worth scored their winning run from third base after a batter struck a slow rolling grounder to short that Howard didn’t even bother to throw because he saw that he had no chance to get the runner – and that the official scorekeeper invented “unaccepted chance” as a credit on the play as opposed to either scoring it a “fielder’s choice” or an “infield single” by the Fort Worth batter?

(3) Is it possible that Houston shortstop Howard had the annoying habit of spitting tobacco on his manager’s shoe prior to his every time at bat for good luck – and that the team’s peerless leader had threatened Howard with an immediate benching, if he did it again? And when it did happen again in the top of the 9th, Howard batted anyway, and that his manager said nothing – passing on his “unaccepted chance” to bench Howard for cause for the sake of getting his often timely bat to the plate in a game critical situation, – and that the scorer – who was sitting behind the Houston bench the whole game to witness the entire building transaction – then erred in crediting the “unaccepted chance” to Howard rather than assign it to his manager – where it truly belonged.

(4) We have no real idea what an “unaccepted chance” once was, but it sounds like an archaic expression for fielder’s choice. If you know, please enlighten the rest of us in the comment section which follows this column.

Thank you! – The Pecan Park Eagle.

We leave you this Thursday morning with our own “accepted chance” to post our Question of the Day – based upon certain current news events in our Houston area:

Question of the Day:

Under what circumstances is the word “alright” worth $45,000 per use – up to three utterances per scheduled event?


When the word “alright” is used by actor Matthew McConaughey as the commencement speaker to the Spring 2015 graduating class from the University of Houston.

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4 Responses to “Lost in Time: What’s an “Unaccepted Chance”?”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Although usage, spelling, and meaning do change over time because of misuse, such as “disinterested,” which means objective or unbiased-NOT uninterested, ALRIGHT is not acceptable in formal writing. The proper spelling is ALL RIGHT, two words.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      You are absolutely correct, Tom. If “MM” transcribes his talk for posterity, he will need to use the formal, two-word correct form of “All right” – thus, reducing his pay for each of these paired items to $22,500 per individual word unit – and a limit on payments to three pairings,

  2. Fred Soland Says:

    Two things still amaze me about all of the hoopla surrounding Matthew McConaughey’s fee for giving the commencement address at UH. First of all, why would the UH PAY someone to deliver this speech in the first place? Are you telling me that there are no distinguished alumni from UH who would voluntarily give a commence address??

    Second, MM gives the entire fee he receives to charity (granted an Austin based charity, but that is where he lives). So the only part of the fee that is not destined for charity is the talent agency’s fee and the cost to transport Matthew from Austin to Houston and back. I suppose they could give him gas money and he could drive his Lincoln down here, but that would be asking a lot, a lot, a lot of him.

    Last, were you aware that the University of Texas never pays for anyone to give their commencement speeches?

  3. vdpittman Says:

    Got the issue wrong… sorry it was April 12

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