American Association (19th century)

American Association (19th century)
Sport Baseball
Founded 1882
Ceased 1891
No. of teams 25 (total)
12 (at peak)
Country United States
Last
champion(s)
Boston Reds (1)
Most titles St. Louis Browns (4)

The American Association (AA) was a professional baseball league that existed for 10 seasons from 1882 to 1891. Together with the NL founded 1876, the AA participated in an early version of the World Series (later begun 1903) in seven times versus the early Nationals with an inter-league championship play-off tournament. At the end of its run, several strong stable franchises of the AA joined the NL. For the next decade of the 1890s, the Nationals loop existed alone with each season's champions being awarded the prized Temple Cup (1894-1897).

During its existence, the AA was often simply referred to as "the Association" in the media, in contrast to the NL which was sometimes called "the League".

History

The American Association distinguished itself in several ways from what it considered to be the puritanical National League. The new league established teams in what the NL leaders pejoratively called "river cities", including Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Louis, with the inherent implication of lower morality or social standards in those cities. In contrast to the NL, the AA offered cheaper ticket prices, Sunday games and alcoholic beverages to its patrons.[1]:p.55 As such, the American Association was the world's first professional sports league designed to out-compete another by better accommodating blue-collar tendencies and attitudes toward spectator sport.

On November 8, 1881, at the Gibson House in Cincinnati, it was decided that individual teams in the league-to-be would operate their own affairs and set their own admission prices,[2] under an agreement called the "guarantee system". The NL at that time prohibited the sale of alcohol on its grounds, while the AA had no such restrictions, especially as several of its teams were backed by breweries and distilleries. The AA became known as "The Beer and Whiskey League", another pejorative term applied by NL owners, and which did not seem to bother the fans of the Association's clubs.

Beginning in 1884 and continuing through 1890, the champion of the AA met the champion of the NL in an early version of the World Series. These early Series were less organized than the modern version, with as few as three games played and as many as fifteen, and the contests of 1885 and 1890 ending in disputed ties. The NL won four of these Series, while the AA won only one, in 1886 when the St. Louis Browns (now Cardinals) defeated the Chicago White Stockings (now Cubs).

Over its lifetime, the AA was weakened by several factors. One was the tendency of some of its teams to jump to the NL. The consistently stronger NL was in better position to survive adverse conditions. Some owners of AA teams also owned a NL team.[1]:p.58 The most significant blow to the AA was dealt by the Players' League, a third major league formed in 1890, which siphoned off talent and gate receipts. In a rare historical oddity, the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (now the Los Angeles Dodgers) won the league's championship and represented the AA in the 1889 World Series, switched to the NL during the off-season, and then repeated the same feat.

No player who spent the majority of his career in the AA is in the baseball Hall of Fame. The living legacy of the old Association is the group of teams that came over to the National League to stay. The Pirates moved to the NL after the 1886 season, the Bridegrooms/Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds after the 1889 season, and the Browns/Cardinals after the American Association folded following the 1891 season. Following the reorganization and contraction of the NL from 12 teams down to 8 in 1900, half of the eight surviving teams were former members of the AA. Several of the AA's home-field venues survived into the 1960s: The ballpark used by the 1891 Washington club evolved into Griffith Stadium; the home of the St. Louis Browns, Sportsman's Park; and the city block occupied by the Reds, which evolved into Crosley Field. Crosley was the last physical remnant of the AA to go, other than the clubs themselves, when it was replaced by Riverfront Stadium in mid-1970.

During the AA's existence, several teams defected over to the NL, and at the AA's demise in 1891 four additional clubs joined the NL. Three former AA clubs, the Cincinnati Reds (defected to the NL in 1889), the Los Angeles Dodgers (defected in 1890) and the St. Louis Cardinals (joined the NL after the AA demise in 1891), have posted more than 10,000 lifetime major league victories.[3]

Pennant winners of the AA

American Association franchises

Franchise Franchise name with all recorded nicknames
Years Years that the franchise were active in the AA
Home-field The home-field ballpark(s) in which the franchise played
Titles How many league titles the franchise won in the AA
Franchise later joined the National League
§ Franchise transferred in from the Players' League
FranchiseYearsHome-fieldTitlesNotesRef
Baltimore Orioles1882–1891Newington Park/Oriole Park I, II, III0[4][5][6][7]
Cincinnati Red Stockings1882–1889Bank Street Grounds/League Park I1This franchise currently exists as the Cincinnati Reds[8][9][10]
Louisville Colonels1882–1891Eclipse Park I1[11][12]
Philadelphia Athletics1882–1890Oakdale Park/Jefferson Street Grounds1[13][14][15]
Pittsburgh Alleghenys/Pirates1882–1886Exposition Park I, II/Recreation Park0This franchise currently exists as the Pittsburgh Pirates[16][17][18]
St. Louis Brown Stockings/Browns1882–1891Sportsman's Park I4This franchise currently exists as the St. Louis Cardinals[19][20]
Columbus Buckeyes1883–1884Recreation Park I0[21][22]
New York Metropolitans1883–1887Polo Grounds I/Metropolitan Park/St. George Cricket Grounds1[23][24][25][26]
Brooklyn Atlantics/Grays/Bridegrooms1884–1889Washington Park/Ridgewood Park II1This franchise currently exists as the Los Angeles Dodgers[27][28][29]
Indianapolis Hoosiers1884Seventh Street Park I/Bruce Grounds0[30][31][32]
Richmond Virginia(n)s1884Allen Pasture0[33][34]
Toledo Blue Stockings1884League Park0[35][36]
Washington Nationals1884Athletic Park0[37][38]
Cleveland Spiders1887–1889Kennard Street Park0[39][40]
Kansas City Cowboys1888–1889Association Park/Exposition Park0[41][42][43]
Columbus Solons1889–1891Recreation Park II0[44][45]
Brooklyn Gladiators1890Ridgewood Park II/Polo Grounds III0[29][46][47]
Rochester Broncos/Hop Bitters1890Culver Field I/Polo Grounds III0[48][49]
Syracuse Stars1890Star Park II0[50][51]
Toledo Maumees1890Speranza Park0[52][53]
Boston Reds§1891Congress Street Grounds1Transferred from the Players' League after 1890 season[54][55]
Cincinnati Kelly's Killers1891East End Park0Also referred to as the Reds and the Porkers[56][57]
Milwaukee Brewers1891Athletic Park0[58][59]
Philadelphia Athletics§1891Forepaugh Park0Transferred from the Players' League after 1890 season[60][61]
Washington Senators1891Boundary Field0[62][63]

Timeline

  1. The 1884 Washington Statesmen were replaced during the season by the Richmond Virginians.
  2. For the 1891 season, the Philadelphia Athletics were replaced by the Philadelphia Quakers of the Player's League.
  3. The 1891 Cincinnati Kelly's Killers folded during the season and were replaced by the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • 1882-AA forms with six teams
  • 1883-AA expands to eight teams
  • 1884-AA expands to twelve teams in response to Union Association threat
  • 1885-AA returns to eight teams
  • 1887-Allegheny ("Pittsburgh Alleghenys") leave AA to join NL
  • 1889-Cleveland Spiders leave AA to join NL
  • 1890-Cincinnati Red Stockings and Brooklyn Bridegrooms leave AA to join NL
  • 1892-Baltimore Orioles, Louisville Colonels, St. Louis Browns, and Washington Senators join National League after the folding of the AA

AA presidents

References

General
  • Nemec, David (2004). The Beer and Whisky League : The Illustrated History of the American Association—Baseball's Renegade Major League. Guilford: The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-59228-188-5. 
  • Pietrusza, David (1991). The Formation, Sometimes Absorption and Mostly Inevitable Demise of 18 Professional Baseball Organizations, 1871 to Present. Jefferson (NC): McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-89950-590-2. 
Specific
  1. 1 2 Shipley, Robert E. (Summer 1995). "Not Bad for A Beer League" (PDF). The National Pastime. Cleveland, Ohio: Society for American Baseball Research. 15. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-03-04.
  2. The Encyclopedia of Louisville, John E. Kleber
  3. "MLB Teams and Baseball Encyclopedia - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on 8 August 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  4. "Baltimore Orioles (1882-1899) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  5. "Newington Park in Baltimore, MD". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  6. "Oriole Park I in Baltimore, MD". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  7. "Oriole Park II in Baltimore, MD". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  8. "Cincinnati Reds (1882-2008) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  9. "Bank Street Grounds in Cincinnati, OH". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  10. "League Park I in Cincinnati, OH". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  11. "Louisville Colonels (1882-1899) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  12. "Eclipse Park I in Louisville, KY". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  13. "Philadelphia Athletics (1882-1890) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Archived from the original on 2017-06-28. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  14. "Oakdale Park in Philadelphia, PA". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  15. "Jefferson Street Grounds in Philadelphia, PA". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  16. "Pittsburgh Pirates (1882-2008) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  17. "Exposition Park I in Pittsburgh, PA". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  18. "Recreation Park in Pittsburgh, PA". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  19. "St. Louis Cardinals (1882-1890) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  20. "Sportsman's Park I in St. Louis, MO". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  21. "Columbus Buckeyes (1883-1884) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  22. "Recreation Park I in Columbus, OH". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  23. "New York Metropolitans (1883-1887) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  24. "Polo Grounds I (Southeast Diamond) in New York, NY". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  25. "Metropolitan Park in New York". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  26. "St. George Cricket Grounds in St. George, NY". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  27. "Los Angeles Dodgers (1882-2008) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  28. "Washington Park I in Brooklyn, NY". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  29. 1 2 "Ridgewood Park II in New York, NY". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  30. "Indianapolis Blues (1884) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  31. "Seventh Street Park I in Indianapolis, IN". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  32. "Bruce Grounds in Indianapolis, IN". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  33. "Richmond Virginias (1884) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  34. "Allens Pasture in Richmond, VA". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  35. "Toledo Blue Stockings (1884) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  36. "League Park in Toledo, OH". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  37. "Washington Nationals (1884) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  38. "Athletic Park in Washington, DC". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  39. "Cleveland Spiders (1887-1899) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  40. "League Park II in Cleveland, OH". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  41. "Kansas City Cowboys (1888-1899) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  42. "Association Park in Kansas City, MO". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  43. "Exposition Park in Kansas City, MO". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  44. "Columbus Solons (1889-1891) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  45. "Recreation Park II in Columbus, OH". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  46. "Brooklyn Gladiators (1890) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  47. "Polo Grounds III in New York". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  48. "Rochester Hop Bitters (1890) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  49. "Culver Field I in Rochester, NY". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  50. "Syracuse Stars (1890) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  51. "Star Park II in Syracuse, NY". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  52. "Toledo Maumees (1890) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  53. "Speranza Park in Toledo, OH". Retrosheet, Inc.
  54. "Boston Reds (1890-1891) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  55. "Congress Street Grounds in Boston, MA". Retrosheet, Inc.
  56. "Cincinnati Kelly's Killers (1891) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  57. "East End Park in Cincinnati, OH". Retrosheet, Inc.
  58. "Milwaukee Brewers (1891) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  59. "Athletic Park in Milwaukee, WI". Retrosheet, Inc.
  60. "Philadelphia Athletics (1890-1891) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  61. "Forepaugh Park in Philadelphia, PA". Retrosheet, Inc.
  62. "Milwaukee Brewers (1891) franchise index". Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  63. "Boundary Field in Washington, DC". Retrosheet, Inc.
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