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Was the NA (1871-75) a "Major" League?

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  • Buzzaldrin
    replied
    Originally posted by WolfSpear View Post
    The National Association was more of a major league than the UA or PL ... come on, those only lasted one year, how are they major leagues? At least the National Association set up the basis for the National League if anything.
    The PL lasted one year because of financial issues, but it was stronger than the NL and the AA on the field and at the box office- length of service does not determine the status of major or minor.

    I agree with you about the UA, the only problem is that it was recognized as major at the time- Henry Lucas was the most talked about man in American in 1884 for starting the UA. You don't get that kind of recognition for starting a minor league. Kind of hard where to go with this one- it did indeed suck in quality of play, but the other leagues recognized the challenge as legit (although they were very clear to put it down as inferior). They blacklisted players that jumped there- if it was a minor league, what would be the point of that? They would only come back since major leagues "should" have more money.

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  • Buzzaldrin
    replied
    Originally posted by SABR Steve View Post
    Speaking of "major" leagues, Harry Wright in his 1894 will, stated he was leaving his papers to the two major leagues and their successors. It's a mystery since the only recognized major league at the time was the NL.
    But it wasn't the National League- it was called the National League and American Assocoation of professional baseball after the merger; they comnoned names. That's unwieldy, so people just called it the National League, but if you look at newspapers from the early 1890s, they say "League Association" when referring to it. Actually, this brings up a question- was it ever officially shortened to just the National League, or is it still officially the whole shebang?

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  • WolfSpear
    replied
    The National Association was more of a major league than the UA or PL ... come on, those only lasted one year, how are they major leagues? At least the National Association set up the basis for the National League if anything.

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  • Rube Waddell
    replied
    Base on my readings, I totally regard the NA as a major league. The best players; the Ansons, Spaldings, Jones's and Matthew's were part of that league and IMO makes it a major. Even with all the NA faults such as gambling, teams dissapearing after 12 games, jumping, unstable scheduling and so on, the quality of play was better in the NA than anywhere else in the US.

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  • Macker
    replied
    Originally posted by SABR Steve View Post
    Speaking of "major" leagues, Harry Wright in his 1894 will, stated he was leaving his papers to the two major leagues and their successors. It's a mystery since the only recognized major league at the time was the NL.
    Maybe he saw great things in the future of the Western League.

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  • SABR Steve
    replied
    Speaking of "major" leagues, Harry Wright in his 1894 will, stated he was leaving his papers to the two major leagues and their successors. It's a mystery since the only recognized major league at the time was the NL.

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  • TonyK
    replied
    Originally posted by Calif_Eagle View Post
    Los Angeles... or California.... or Anaheim.... OR.... Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim...! God knows whats coming next.... ( I saw it the other day and didnt comment but did think it was clever )
    Your team has had more name changes than Elizabeth Taylor. It has to be a marketing ploy to get fans to buy new gear every four or five years.

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  • Calif_Eagle
    replied
    Originally posted by TonyK View Post
    Nobody got this?
    Los Angeles... or California.... or Anaheim.... OR.... Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim...! God knows whats coming next.... ( I saw it the other day and didnt comment but did think it was clever )

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  • TonyK
    replied
    Originally posted by TonyK View Post
    Los Angeles or Anaheim?
    Nobody got this?

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  • jalbright
    replied
    What I call the "simplest" test of a "major league" is mostly aimed at how one deals with the greatest players of that league. If there's enough of a concentration of top talent of the day in that league, those players who can consistently lead such leagues deserve to be treated as the best of their time and then evaluated with that in mind.

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  • Pere
    replied
    Originally posted by TonyK View Post
    Suppose you are correct and many of the talented players were playing outside of the NA from 1871 to 1875. They had to play somewhere and play against decent opponents. Do you know of any other teams or players who might be considered NA caliber?
    No, I don't.

    I believe there were many talented players--who could have been "major leaguers"--playing outside the NL/AL even into the 20th century. Wouldn't it be strange to assume that the early days of the proto-major leagues were more effective at talent concentration than the majors of a succeeding generation? I don't know.

    Originally posted by TonyK View Post
    I used figures of 90% to 98% of NL players who probably came straight from the NA.
    From a field-level perspective, the top teams basically continued operations from one season to the next. The NA was likely as good as the early NL--and vice-versa.

    Originally posted by jalbright View Post
    I think the NA definitely passes the simplest test for a "major league"--was there enough of a concentration of top talent to say that the best of that league was definitely among the top talent of the day? This is a test I use for blackball leagues, which on average weren't as good as the majors, for a number of reasons. However, their best talent matched up well with the best of the majors.
    I'm assuming that the term "top talent" refers to individual players, not teams.

    With the bolded qualifiers, that's a really generous application of "major league." By that definition, I think you'd have to look at not only the Players and Federal but also certain periods of leagues like the Eastern, International and Pacific Coast. That suggests that the quality of being a major league isn't just a matter of having some top talents (though talent is essential). It's a structural question as well.

    All these leagues (including the blackball circuits) did include some great talent and are worthy of study and appreciation, whatever they're termed.

    The NA and the early NL were good leagues, the most that could be said in their day.

    Originally posted by SABR Steve View Post
    A friend of mine said, "Actually, there was no need to differentiate between 'major" and "minor' until there was a minor league." That sounds rather good.
    Right. So which structure do we look to as drawing the meaningful or lasting distinction, and therefore the inception of both categories? The earliest "classifications" of the National Agreement of the 1880s? The establishment of the NAPBL following the 1901 season?
    Last edited by Pere; 06-27-2009, 03:39 PM.

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  • TonyK
    replied
    Originally posted by timmyj51 View Post
    Cheez! This discussion is STILL going on! Just two questions: (1) Did NA
    have the best players? (2) Did NA have the strongest teams? End
    of discussion. Let's start a new topic....like how many angels can
    sit on the head of a pin. Be a lot more interesting than this worked-to-death
    topic.
    Los Angeles or Anaheim?

    Leave a comment:


  • timmyj51
    replied
    Cheez! This discussion is STILL going on! Just two questions: (1) Did NA
    have the best players? (2) Did NA have the strongest teams? End
    of discussion. Let's start a new topic....like how many angels can
    sit on the head of a pin. Be a lot more interesting than this worked-to-death
    topic.

    Leave a comment:


  • jalbright
    replied
    In addition to the above, I think the NA definitely passes the simplest test for a "major league"--was there enough of a concentration of top talent to say that the best of that league was definitely among the top talent of the day? This is a test I use for blackball leagues, which on average weren't as good as the majors, for a number of reasons. However, their best talent matched up well with the best of the majors. Where enough of the best of blackball concentrated, you can see who the best were in that group at that time, and those who could consistently be in the best are the guys we have to pay attention to. I think I could add the requirement that it be a real league (round robin play against each team several times) to give the leader board some credibility, but the NA does that, too.

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  • jalbright
    replied
    Doing a quick look at the top seven teams of the 1875 NA (the ones around all year) and the 8 teams of the 1876 NL, the starters of the NA were basically the starters of the NL. Few starters didn't make it to the new league, but a fair number of subs seem to have moved. Maybe a half-dozen starters didn't cross over (and Cap Anson moved from bench to starting), and about 27-28 backups from those seven teams didn't. In terms of playing time, I wouldn't be surprised if 85-90% NA players in the first year of the NL was on the mark. How much you count the guys from the teams that didn't play all season will affect your results. FWIW, there were 65-70 starters (no more than 2 pitchers would qualify per team in those days) and about 101 players overall considered from baseball-reference.com.
    Last edited by jalbright; 06-27-2009, 08:22 AM.

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