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  • What if the Federal League survived?

    Getting most of my information from this article: http://research.sabr.org/journals/fe...a-major-league

    From 1913 to 1915, the upstart Federal League put up a strong fight against Organized Baseball. By 1914, 59 major leaguers had jumped ship to the Federal League, including Hal Chase, and they had attempted to land Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and Christy Mathewson, though they chose to remain after having their salaries increased.

    David Fultz, former outfielder with the A's and the Highlanders before becoming a lawyer, organized the Baseball Players' Fraternity in 1912. They soon became a formidable entity, and had enough clout to present the National Commission with a set of seventeen "demands" and seventeen "requests" relating to improving conditions for players in the major leagues. Ultimately, their efforts were successful in increasing player rights and improving salaries. It seems likely that, had Fultz's organization not done this, more players would have left for the Feds.

    Federal judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis endeared himself to Organized Baseball when he delayed the FL's antitrust suit for months, until the league had already folded, before handing down his ruling exempting baseball from Federal antitrust laws.

    Had Fultz not presented his demands to the National Commission, allowing the FL to snag more players (perhaps including players such as Cobb), or a different judge tried the antitrust suit, could the Federal League have been able to establish itself a major league?
    Last edited by TheGeorgiaPeach; 05-14-2019, 05:02 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by TheGeorgiaPeach View Post
    Getting most of my information from this article: http://research.sabr.org/journals/fe...a-major-league

    From 1913 to 1915, the upstart Federal League put up a strong fight against Organized Baseball. By 1914, 59 major leaguers had jumped ship to the Federal League, including Hal Chase, and they had attempted to land Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and Christy Mathewson, though they chose to remain after having their salaries increased.

    David Fultz, former outfielder with the A's and the Highlanders before becoming a lawyer, organized the Baseball Players' Fraternity in 1912. They soon became a formidable entity, and had enough clout to present the National Commission with a set of seventeen "demands" and seventeen "requests" relating to improving conditions for players in the major leagues. Ultimately, their efforts were successful in increasing player rights and improving salaries. It seems likely that, had Fultz's organization not done this, more players would have left for the Feds.

    Federal judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis endeared himself to Organized Baseball when he delayed the FL's antitrust suit for months, until the league had already folded, before handing down his ruling exempting baseball from Federal antitrust laws.

    Had Fultz not presented his demands to the National Commission, allowing the FL to snag more players (perhaps including players such as Cobb), or a different judge tried the antitrust suit, could the Federal League have been able to establish itself a major league?
    Welcome to the site!

    I think it could have survived, but I think it would have been tough to survive in any possible cities with three MLB franchises. Likely only NY could support three teams (as we know). Attendance in those days drove revenue, as opposed to today where TV money is so huge. Attendance in the early 1910's wasn't like it is today....many franchises were only drawing 200,000-300,000 fans a year. Assuming that the number of baseball fans remained the same and that disposable income for baseball wasn't going to change much, losing even 25% of your attendance would harm a team.

    So if the St. Louis Terriers had to compete with both the Browns and Cardinals, I'm not sure if all three could make it if their attendances were somewhat similar. One of the teams would likely fall short of the others, and perhaps fold. Two team cities like Chicago were able to make it work due to north side and south side proximity stadia. I'm not sure if three stadia would have that kind of location boost to attendance.
    Sox fans are the only ones who seem to remember the 1959 World Series happened.

    Play the Who am I? game in trivia and you can make this signature line yours for 3 days (baseball signatures only!)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post

      Welcome to the site!

      I think it could have survived, but I think it would have been tough to survive in any possible cities with three MLB franchises. Likely only NY could support three teams (as we know). Attendance in those days drove revenue, as opposed to today where TV money is so huge. Attendance in the early 1910's wasn't like it is today....many franchises were only drawing 200,000-300,000 fans a year. Assuming that the number of baseball fans remained the same and that disposable income for baseball wasn't going to change much, losing even 25% of your attendance would harm a team.

      So if the St. Louis Terriers had to compete with both the Browns and Cardinals, I'm not sure if all three could make it if their attendances were somewhat similar. One of the teams would likely fall short of the others, and perhaps fold. Two team cities like Chicago were able to make it work due to north side and south side proximity stadia. I'm not sure if three stadia would have that kind of location boost to attendance.
      Dang, as soon as I read this I thought 'there's no way the F.L. could have survived.' In my opinion they should have had a team in Philadelphia (Mack was selling and the Phil's were inept) instead of Pittsburgh, Milwaukee instead of St. Louis and Louisville instead of Kansas City. They had to fight it out in New York and Chicago but not in Pittsburgh and on the frontier in St. Louis and Kansas City.

      Not making it:

      1. '14 Indianapolis Hoosiers - best team in the league but the Reds were too well run to challenge; perhaps could have challenged Cleveland for popularity eventually but the league tried to move them to Manhattan but the A.L. fought them and they ended up the '15 Newark Pepper - the obvious death knell to the league
      2. Chicago Feds - built Wrigley Field but weren't going to outpace the Cubs and still competitive pre-1920 White Sox
      3. Pittsburgh Rebels - no threat to the typically competitive Pirates; who will and have stolen players from weaker clubs multiple times if needed
      4. St. Louis Terriers - I doubt this works out the Cardinals had been in town forever and the Browns had a state of the art park
      5. Brooklyn Tip-Tops - weren't outpacing McGraw's Giants and Unlce Robbie's Dodgers in popularity and baseball acumen and Ban Johnson would hold the Yanks in NY until the bitter end since he considered leaving the city empty to start the league a huge mistake
      6. Kansas City Packers - hinge on the success of St. Louis

      Could make it:

      1. Baltimore Terrapins - generated huge fan interest that freaked out Connie Mack and pushed out Dunn's famed minor league Orioles (sold Ruth too), a plausibly solid club in my opinion
      2. Buffalo Feds - seems reasonable it'd work out

      "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post

        Dang, as soon as I read this I thought 'there's no way the F.L. could have survived.' In my opinion they should have had a team in Philadelphia (Mack was selling and the Phil's were inept) instead of Pittsburgh, Milwaukee instead of St. Louis and Louisville instead of Kansas City. They had to fight it out in New York and Chicago but not in Pittsburgh and on the frontier in St. Louis and Kansas City.

        Not making it:

        1. '14 Indianapolis Hoosiers - best team in the league but the Reds were too well run to challenge; perhaps could have challenged Cleveland for popularity eventually but the league tried to move them to Manhattan but the A.L. fought them and they ended up the '15 Newark Pepper - the obvious death knell to the league
        2. Chicago Feds - built Wrigley Field but weren't going to outpace the Cubs and still competitive pre-1920 White Sox
        3. Pittsburgh Rebels - no threat to the typically competitive Pirates; who will and have stolen players from weaker clubs multiple times if needed
        4. St. Louis Terriers - I doubt this works out the Cardinals had been in town forever and the Browns had a state of the art park
        5. Brooklyn Tip-Tops - weren't outpacing McGraw's Giants and Unlce Robbie's Dodgers in popularity and baseball acumen and Ban Johnson would hold the Yanks in NY until the bitter end since he considered leaving the city empty to start the league a huge mistake
        6. Kansas City Packers - hinge on the success of St. Louis

        Could make it:

        1. Baltimore Terrapins - generated huge fan interest that freaked out Connie Mack and pushed out Dunn's famed minor league Orioles (sold Ruth too), a plausibly solid club in my opinion
        2. Buffalo Feds - seems reasonable it'd work out
        I think another team in Washington might have been successful, and they could have put a team in Connecticut or perhaps in Columbus or other-mid range cities.
        Sox fans are the only ones who seem to remember the 1959 World Series happened.

        Play the Who am I? game in trivia and you can make this signature line yours for 3 days (baseball signatures only!)

        Go here for a link to all player links! http://www.baseball-fever.com/forum/...player-threads

        Go here for all your 1920's/1930's OF info

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post

          Welcome to the site!

          I think it could have survived, but I think it would have been tough to survive in any possible cities with three MLB franchises. Likely only NY could support three teams (as we know). Attendance in those days drove revenue, as opposed to today where TV money is so huge. Attendance in the early 1910's wasn't like it is today....many franchises were only drawing 200,000-300,000 fans a year. Assuming that the number of baseball fans remained the same and that disposable income for baseball wasn't going to change much, losing even 25% of your attendance would harm a team.

          So if the St. Louis Terriers had to compete with both the Browns and Cardinals, I'm not sure if all three could make it if their attendances were somewhat similar. One of the teams would likely fall short of the others, and perhaps fold. Two team cities like Chicago were able to make it work due to north side and south side proximity stadia. I'm not sure if three stadia would have that kind of location boost to attendance.
          Thanks for the welcome!

          I think it's likely the FL teams will merge with the AL and NL. This is a stretch, but perhaps the FL could move some of their teams South? Putting a MLB team in the South in the early 1900s comes up with a few, important problems: the biggest crowd in Atlanta could hardly rival New York or St. Louis and scheduling trains North-South with would be much more difficult than East-West.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TheGeorgiaPeach View Post

            Thanks for the welcome!

            I think it's likely the FL teams will merge with the AL and NL. This is a stretch, but perhaps the FL could move some of their teams South? Putting a MLB team in the South in the early 1900s comes up with a few, important problems: the biggest crowd in Atlanta could hardly rival New York or St. Louis and scheduling trains North-South with would be much more difficult than East-West.
            I think the south was pretty rural then and didn't have the amount of rail and amount of trains running.
            "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post

              I think the south was pretty rural then and didn't have the amount of rail and amount of trains running.
              Yes, definitely. Getting from New Orleans to St. Louis would be more difficult than St. Louis to New York, for example. As I said, it's a stretch, but I thought it might be worth mentioning. I raised the scenario of a surviving FL on another forum, and someone there suggested MLB expanding into Canada 60 years early.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think the league could have survived, but franchises likely would have had to move to cities with good train access, decent population and not having two MLB teams already (or even one dominant one). That's why I suggested Columbus and one in Connecticut.
                Sox fans are the only ones who seem to remember the 1959 World Series happened.

                Play the Who am I? game in trivia and you can make this signature line yours for 3 days (baseball signatures only!)

                Go here for a link to all player links! http://www.baseball-fever.com/forum/...player-threads

                Go here for all your 1920's/1930's OF info

                Comment


                • #9
                  As being the least Baseball educated fan on this forum I had to look up the Federal League. I can't speak on the OP's question but boy I just got to say that is a collection of some of the worst nicknames I have ever heard: The Whales, Tip-Tops, and Terrapins. What in god's name is a "Buffed" -- add in, Terriers, Peppers, and Blue Sox, and you have the worst collections of nicknames I have ever heard. Almost as bad as hockey.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dempsey-Louis View Post
                    As being the least Baseball educated fan on this forum I had to look up the Federal League. I can't speak on the OP's question but boy I just got to say that is a collection of some of the worst nicknames I have ever heard: The Whales, Tip-Tops, and Terrapins. What in god's name is a "Buffed" -- add in, Terriers, Peppers, and Blue Sox, and you have the worst collections of nicknames I have ever heard. Almost as bad as hockey.
                    "Buffed" is a combination of "Buffalo" and "Federal." They also did this with the Chicago team, calling them the Chifeds, before they changed it to the Whales. Whether it was an improvement is difficult to say.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dempsey-Louis View Post
                      As being the least Baseball educated fan on this forum I had to look up the Federal League. I can't speak on the OP's question but boy I just got to say that is a collection of some of the worst nicknames I have ever heard: The Whales, Tip-Tops, and Terrapins. What in god's name is a "Buffed" -- add in, Terriers, Peppers, and Blue Sox, and you have the worst collections of nicknames I have ever heard. Almost as bad as hockey.
                      I don't think the league let the Brooklyn team officially use the name Tip-Tops because of the obvious product placement in the name. The teams owner, Robert Ward, owned the Tip-Top Bakery in Brooklyn. If the team had an official nickname it was probably the Brookfeds.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by EdTarbusz View Post

                        I don't think the league let the Brooklyn team officially use the name Tip-Tops because of the obvious product placement in the name. The teams owner, Robert Ward, owned the Tip-Top Bakery in Brooklyn. If the team had an official nickname it was probably the Brookfeds.
                        There have been football teams named after companies, The Indian Packing Company in Green Bay and an insurance company owned by guy named Staley in Decatur (Chicago Bears).

                        Does MLB have a rule regarding nicknames and their origins.

                        I just thought it through, there are no company names in baseball; never before gave that a thought.

                        For years the NFL did not want to be associated with stadiums named after products, but they gave up on that in recent decades.

                        Ah! I just thought of one, the 1962 expansion team, the Colt '45s -- there was a beer by that name, but did it come before or after the the team switched its name to the Astros, (and of course a hand gun. I wonder if Colt Firearms was involved?)

                        Warning Digression: Nicknames are funny, I ran across a New York Times article from 1926 where the nicknames Dodgers/Robins/Professionals all appeared in the same article. The headline (written by an editor) called them Dodgers, while the article itself (written by a reporter) only used the name Robins, and the boxscore (I assume created by yet another different person) used the name Professionals.

                        What I thought amazing was that, at that moment (1926) those three men believed they could use all three different nicknames in one article and Brooklyn fans would understand.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dempsey-Louis View Post

                          There have been football teams named after companies, The Indian Packing Company in Green Bay and an insurance company owned by guy named Staley in Decatur (Chicago Bears).

                          Does MLB have a rule regarding nicknames and their origins.

                          I just thought it through, there are no company names in baseball; never before gave that a thought.

                          For years the NFL did not want to be associated with stadiums named after products, but they gave up on that in recent decades.

                          Ah! I just thought of one, the 1962 expansion team, the Colt '45s -- there was a beer by that name, but did it come before or after the the team switched its name to the Astros, (and of course a hand gun. I wonder if Colt Firearms was involved?)

                          Warning Digression: Nicknames are funny, I ran across a New York Times article from 1926 where the nicknames Dodgers/Robins/Professionals all appeared in the same article. The headline (written by an editor) called them Dodgers, while the article itself (written by a reporter) only used the name Robins, and the boxscore (I assume created by yet another different person) used the name Professionals.

                          What I thought amazing was that, at that moment (1926) those three men believed they could use all three different nicknames in one article and Brooklyn fans would understand.
                          The Colt .45s were named after the firearm. Some writers weren't comfortable with that connection and referred to the team as the Colts.

                          Baseball writers used alternate team nicknames on a regular basis into the 1960s. Some of the alternate nicknames were: Braves/Tribe; Red Sox/Millionaires; Giants/McGrawmen or Jints; Yankees/Bombers; Dodgers/Bums; Phillies/Quakers; Athletics/Mackmen; Senators/Solons and Indians/Redskins.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It is my understanding that the Brooklyn Tip-Tops were named after its owner. The names ChiFeds and BufFeds were names given by sportswriters, not the teams themselves.

                            On a side note, it was very important to Buffalo to join the Federal League as Buffalo had been promised a Major League spot in the American League for 1901 only to be blind-sided out in February 1901 and replaced by Boston. Ban Johnson trying to manage getting rights to playing fields in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington became frustrated and angered with the National League and at the last minute decided to fill another city with a head-to-head competition with the National League.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm not sure if the idea of official team names existed in the FL. In that era they seem like they were controlled more by baseball writers and editors. Even into the 1950s the original Washington franchise couldn't make up its mind whether it was the Senators or the Nationals.

                              Comment

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