Even more horrendous was the accident that occurred on Nov. 29, 1900 in San Francisco. The event was a football game between Stanford and California, which attracted about 20,000 paying spectators and 200 freeloaders. The freeloaders' roost was the sheet-iron roof of the Pacific Glass Works factory, which overlooked the playing field.
No one knows how 200 people managed to work their way onto the roof in broad daylight. The manager claimed he had tried to prevent the spectators from gathering there and had even called police. Whether or not, 20 minutes after the game started the roof caved in, sending 100 or more men and boys downward "upon the red-hot furnaces and glass vats below. All were horribly burned.... The fires on the furnaces had been started for the first time...and the vats were full of liquid glass.... Some were killed instantly and others were slowly roasted to death."
It hardly seems necessary to add that today's sports fan enjoys a comparatively easy lot. All he faces are traffic jams, hideous renditions of The Star-Spangled Banner, escalators that do not escalate, admission prices that do, and the ever-present threat of the $2 beer.