Federal League Newsbeat
Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Milwaukee Journal, June 4, 1914:
Armando Marsans of the Cincinnati Reds was suspended last night on a charge of causing dissension among the team. This action by Manager Herzog followed receipt of letters from the Cuban outfielder and Dave Davenport, a young pitcher, that they would quit the club unless given new contracts.
Herzog immediately ordered both players to get out of their uniforms and off the diamond. Davenport was later excused in the belief that he was led into the matter by Marsans.
Regardless of who the ringleader was, Davenport was in the Federal League by the middle of June 1914. He had an absolutely absurd workload in the 1915 Federal League: 55 games, 46 starts, 30 complete games, 10 shutouts, 392.2 innings pitched, and 1497 batters faced while putting up a 145 ERA+. Davenport was never the same again, but to be fair, he had never been the same before.
This was the second time in two months that Herzog and Marsans got into it. This time Marsans jumped to the Federal League, playing nine games before an injunction forced him onto the sidelines pending the outcome of the Reds’ court case against him for jumping his contract. More than a year later, Marsans was permitted to rejoin the St. Louis Terriers, but the time away from baseball had apparently eroded his skills and ruined his career.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Calumet (Michigan) News, May 27, 1914:
Walter Johnson, star pitcher of the American league, talked for an hour on Sunday with Joe Tinker, manager of the Chicago Feds. Although nothing definite was done, the great pitcher departed in a receptive mood. No offer was made because Johnson declared he was not open for an offer at the present time.
“I wouldn’t sign a contract now with any ball club, not even with Washington, but I’ll say that the Federal league looks as good to me as any other league, and later on I’ll be ready to talk business for next year.”
“I don’t know where Walter will pitch next year,” said Tinker, “but I’ll be he’ll get a lot of money. If he is not with the Federal league it will be because some club in organized ball will pay a record salary.”
Johnson got a 25% raise to stay with Washington for the 1915 season, but it wasn’t a record salary. Johnson earned $12,500 in 1915, but Ty Cobb took home a cool $20,000.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
For a brief shining moment between 1914 and 1915, Brooklyn had two major league baseball teams—the legendary Brooklyn Dodgers and the not-so-legendary Brooklyn Tip-Tops.
Within the New York area, one franchise was awarded to Brooklyn, owned by a baker named Robert Ward… The baker, with his brother George S. Ward, sunk more than $250,000 into the new concrete-and-steel ballpark, situated so near the Gowanus that fans got a good whiff of its toxic odors on summer days.
An owner paying for his ballpark? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Williams [Arizona] News, May 7, 1914:
[Federal League] President Gilmore declares he will claim the world’s baseball championship for the Federals if the winners of the American and National leagues refuse to meet his pennant winner.
Well, good luck with that.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
The lesser-known subplot of Wrigley Field’s first game, in the Toledo News-Bee, April 24, 1914:
Court Officers Yank Pitcher Johnson, Late of Reds, From Chicago Federal League Game
Chief Johnson, Indian twirler who jumped from the Cincinnati Reds to the Kansas City Federals, expressed confidence on Friday that the court order restraining him from playing with the Packers will be dismissed…
Papers were served on Johnson after he had pitched two innings at the Chifed opener. At the same time President Madison of the Kansas City club was enjoined from tampering with Cincinnati players now at the Cub park.
Not really terribly well done by the KC Feds, allowing someone to get close enough to Johnson during a game to serve him a court order.
Anyway, Johnson was in legal limbo for months and didn’t play again until July 25, when he threw a complete game for the Packers. When the Federal League died after the 1915 season, so did the Chief’s major league career.
Shouldn’t really be much of a surprise that a decent but unspectacular pitcher who fought organized baseball in court didn’t have much of a career afterwards.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
[Keokuk, Iowa] Daily Gate City, April 23, 1914:
Chilly atmosphere that threatened to cut the bleacher attendance, was dished up today for the opening of the new Chicago Federal park, when the Kansas City Packers meet [sic] the Chifeds. Despite interference by the weather man, Owner Weeghman predicted a crowd of 20,000, the reserve seat section having been sold out three weeks ago. Corporation Counsel Sexton was to hurl the first ball.
Weeghman Park firsts:
First batter: Chet Chadbourne
First pitch in an actual game: Claude Hendrix
First home run: Art Wilson, solo shot off of Ben Harris
First world championship:
(I’m an Indians fan. I kid because I acutely feel your pain, Cubs fans.)
Monday, April 14, 2014
100 years ago yesterday, the Federal League held its first game as a “major league”.
Washington Times, April 14, 1914:
That the Federal League is going to make good in Baltimore and awaken those old feverish days of the Hanlon era was distinctly shown when the invaders got down to business yesterday. The opening game of the Feds drew 27,692 fans to the new park, and, to make everybody happy, Baltimore defeated Buffalo 3 to 2.
“Baltimore has done itself proud,” said [Federal League] President James A. Gilmore, “in rallying to the standard to the Federal League. We shall do all in our power to bring league baseball to this city.”
They only lasted two years, but Gilmore wasn’t lying. They really did all in their power to give Baltimore a major league ballclub.
Friday, April 11, 2014
Milwaukee Sentinel, April 11, 1914:
The old reserve clause in the contracts of organized baseball players was held to be invalid and unenforceable in a decision handed down on Friday by Federal Judge Clarence W. Sessions denying the application of the Chicago Federal league club for an injunction to restrain Catcher William Killifer [sic] from playing with the Philadelphia National league club.
Contracts of such nature were held by Judge Sessions to be “lacking in the necessary qualities of definiteness, certainty and mutuality.”
Judge Sessions denied the application because he said the plaintiff knew Killifer was under a moral, if not legal, obligation to play with the Philadelphia club when it induced him to repudiate his obligation by offering him a longer term of employment and much larger compensation.
IANAL, but it appears that Sessions ruled that the reserve clause that tied Killifer the Phillies was invalid, but should be enforced anyway because the Federal League was a bunch of jerks.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Pittsburgh Press, March 27, 1914:
“Who stabbed King Cole in the leg?” That question is destroying brain cells among the New York Yankees today. Just before arriving in Atlanta, Ga., from Mobile, Cole jumped from his berth roaring “I’ve been stabed,” and several stitches were required to close the wound in his shin.
The King knows absolutely nothing, he says, of how he came to be wounded. Some hint darkly that a Federal league agent, disguised as a porter, committed the dastardly crime while the lengthy Leonard sweetly snoozed. Others ascribed it to sleep walking or “as a good way to escape work.” Manager Chance is investigating.
The Federal League, upset that it had missed out on the services of a guy who pitched in Columbus last year, hatched a plan to sneak a proto-Gillooly onto the Yankees’ train and stab Cole in the shin before silently and invisibly extracting the thug in a clean getaway. Seems totally reasonable.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Pittsburgh Press, March 25, 1914:
Brooklyn Federal league players are to have a share in the profits of the club, President Robert Ward announced today.
The plan is unique in baseball annals, and seems to indicate that the Brooklyn Federals have a wealth of financial backing. Ward probably figures that by sharing profits with the players he will get better and more earnest work from the athletes, and will have less difficulty in holding the players now on his payroll.
Either that or it indicates that Ward knew he wasn’t going to make any money. Potayto, potahto.
Monday, March 03, 2014
Washington Herald, March 3, 1914:
The baseball war soon will be over and the Federals will be in organized baseball, is the rumor being circulated…
The plan that will end the war, according to the rumor, is this:
The Federals will abandon their plans for an eight-club league this year, and will drop Chicago and St. Louis, making it a six-club organization for 1914. Charles Weeghman, owner of the Chicago Federal team, will be allowed to purchase the Chicago Cub franchise and Otto Stifel, the St. Louis Federal League owner will be allowed to purchase the St. Louis Cardinal franchise.
Next season, however, according to the rumor, the Federals will be an eight-club proposition and will have teams in the following cities: Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Washington, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Brooklyn, and probably Buffalo, or some other city not yet decided upon.
Well, Weeghman did buy the Cubs as part of a plan to end the war, but it was two seasons later and the Federal League ceased to exist.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
The race to sign Big Six is heating up.
Milwaukee Sentinel, February 26, 1914:
Christy Mathewson, the Giant star pitcher, who has been offered the berth of manager of the Federal league Brooklyn club left [Los Angeles] on Wednesday for Marlin Springs, Tex., the spring training camp of the New York Giants.
He carried with him his unsigned contract to play with the Giants and while reiterating his intention to seriously consider the Federal offer, declared he was confident of coming to terms with the New York national league team.
Federal League president James Gilmore:
“We have not offered Mathewson any stipulated amount…Our telegram sent to him early on Tuesday morning read: “Would you consider a proposition to manage the non-Sunday playing Brooklyn Federal league at your terms?”...We are willing to pay Mathewson more money than he probably considers possible.
Giants secretary John Foster:
Mathewson has been sent a blank contract to fill in and the New York club is willing to sign him for life.
According to one account, the Feds offered Mathewson $65,000 for three years, which (in 1914) was a ludicrously huge offer. Ty Cobb, in his prime, made $11,333 the year before.
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