Submitted by BTGrimes on Thu, 12/24/2015 - 3:30pm
Third Major League Fails
TODAY in BASEBALL - DECEMBER 22 - CINCINNATI, OHIO - An attempt to make the Federal League a third major league came to an end on this date in 1915. The official word was National League, American League and Federal League bosses settled their differences at a meeting in Cincinnati. What in fact happened was the NL and AL flexed their muscles, and the Federal League ceased to exist. The rise and fall of the renegade league also put the wheels in motion for MLB to become a legal monopoly.
The Federal League came about as a minor league in 1912. It declared itself a "major league" in 1914 and had a couple successful seasons with close pennant races, stars lured from the National and American Leagues and good attendance. It was an eight-team league competing in the major league cities of Chicago, St. Louis, Brooklyn and Pittsburgh (it also had teams in Baltimore, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Buffalo).
What brought about the events of this day in 1915 was the Federal League had filed an antitrust lawsuit against the National and American Leagues claiming they were illegal monopolies. The case stalled in the court of federal judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis while the future baseball commissioner urged negotiation. The Federal League's position weakened as the delay drained it of funds.
Several FL owners were bought out and some teams absorbed into the NL and AL, but the Baltimore franchise of the Federal League was not happy with the agreement and sued. The lawsuit went all the way to the United States Supreme Court which ruled in 1922 that major league baseball was exempt from the Sherman Antitrust Act, a decision in effect to this day.
Ironically, the episode gave a glimpse of what was to come 60 years later - free agency. Not only would the 1915 agreement bring amnesty for National and American League players who had jumped to the Federal League, but they would be able to sell their services to the highest bidder.
Another legacy of the defunct Federal League was Chicago's Weeghman Park, built for the now defunct Chicago Whales. It was taken over by the National League franchise Chicago Cubs and renamed Wrigley Field, the same park they play in today.
This baseball history story about the Federal League is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.
Submitted by BTGrimes on Sat, 08/29/2015 - 6:00pm
Don't count your chickens...
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON • The Chicago White Sox won the World Series in 2005, dominating the Boston Red Sox, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Houston Astros enroute to an 11-1 post season record. Unless you're a die-hard Sox fan (guilty) however, most people forget the White Sox were almost humiliated by the worst collapse in baseball history.
On August 1, 2005 the White Sox had a commanding 15 game lead. The Cleveland Indians began to eat away at the lead. On this date in baseball history in 2005 the Sox lost to the Seattle Mariners, but still had a 7 game advantage. By September 22 that lead had shrunk to a frightening 1.5 games with 10 remaining - Cleveland had gone 36-12 since August 1st. A White Sox collapse seemed imminent.
All of the sudden momentum shifted. The White Sox won 8 of their last 10 games and won the American League Central by 6 games. Cleveland went 3-6 down the stretch.
As Yogi Berra said, "It ain't over til it's over."
This baseball history story about the Chicago White Sox 2005 season is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.
Submitted by BTGrimes on Mon, 06/29/2015 - 9:00am
The real story of "Moonlight" Graham
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - It's the stuff of legend, except it's true. In the late innings of a game played today in baseball history (June 29, 1905), Archibald "Moonlight" Graham made his major league debut in right field for the New York Giants. They were playing the Brooklyn Superbas (today's Los Angeles Dodgers). The game ended a couple innings later with the Giants winning 11-1. Graham did not come to bat. He never got another chance.
"Moonlight" Graham was sent down to the minors after the game. He decided that at the age of 28 he had spent enough time in the minors. Rather than report to the Giants farm team, again, he called it a career. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham came oh so close to batting in a major league game, but it was not to be, until Hollywood came calling long after his death.
"Moonlight" Graham was a key character in the movie, Field of Dreams. The film was fiction, but the "Moonlight" Graham part, played by Burt Lancaster, was real. Well, most of it was real. Graham really did become a doctor in Chisholm, Minnesota, but the part about a young Archie Graham, played by Frank Whaley, living out his dream by coming to bat against the re-incarnated Black Sox remains a dream.
"Moonlight" Graham had a distinctly short, and let's be honest, insignificant, stint in the major leagues, until author W. P. Kinsella came across his statistics:
Archibald Moonlight Graham: Batting record
Kinsella was intrigued about a man who came so close to living out his dream that he put the character in his book of fiction, Shoeless Joe, which the movie, "Field of Dreams" is based on. Unfortunately, Archibald "Moonlight" Graham never found out how well known he became. The Fayetteville, North Carolina native died in Chisholm in 1965.
This today in baseball hisory story is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.
Submitted by BTGrimes on Sat, 06/27/2015 - 9:00am
A Fleeting Star
David Clyde wasn't the first presumed star whose glow faded too soon, but it was sad because many believe Clyde was hyped and rushed to the majors amid tremendous publicity to get fannies in the seats. He has since said the issue for him wasn't so much talent, as confidence. He had talent, but was never given the opportunity to build up major league confidence.
This slice of baseball history is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.
Submitted by BTGrimes on Fri, 06/26/2015 - 9:00am
In the not too distant future, Gehrig would be terrorizing opposing American League teams while playing for the New York Yankees. And he would hit a bunch of grand slam home runs, 23 to be exact (he and Alex Rodriguez are tied for the career lead as of this writing). He also finished with a lifetime .340 average, 1,995 RBI and 493 home runs hitting after Babe Ruth. Gehrig would hold the record for the most consecutive games played (2,130) until broken by Cal Ripken in 1995.
Sadly, while still in his 30's the player known as the Iron Horse would succumb to the debilitating and deadly disease that carries his name.
This baseball history story about Lou Gerhrig is brought to you TODAY in BASEBALL.