Federal League Newsbeat
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
New York Sun, December 1, 1915:
President James A. Gilmore of the Federal League, in a somewhat evasive way, discussed further yesterday afternoon the plans of himself and colleagues for the establishment of an independent team at Lenox avenue and 145th street. Gilmore refused to name the backers of his latest enterprise, but intimated that he might take the public into his confidence in this matter inside of three weeks or a month.
A story printed in the afternoon editions attributed to [real estate agent Jesse] Meeker an interview in which it was said that in case of failure to close 143d and 144th streets the month which the Federal promoters had paid on the property would be refunded. In other words, that no purchase had been made as of yet…
I’m not sure there’s any way to know for certain what the Feds were doing here, but the more I read about this, the more I become convinced they had no plans to actually have this New York team take the field. I get the distinct impression that this was all a massive bluff intended to extract more favorable peace terms from Organized Baseball.
It’s interesting to note, though, that the proposed location is about a mile from where Yankee Stadium was eventually built.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Pittsburgh Gazette Times, November 24, 1915:
The motor driven scow in which Dwight F. Mallory, one of the large backers and directors of the Baltimore Federal League club and society man, started out alone in a gale from the Magothy River at noon Friday…was found [yesterday] at Wartons Point, in the Chesapeake Bay by a dozen searching parties…There was no trace of the owner.
Mallory was never found, and his body is presumed to have washed out to sea.
It was one of a number of catastrophic setbacks for the Federal League in the offseason of 1915-16. Brookfeds owner Robert Ward, who is said to have bankrolled the league to the tune of more than a million 1915 dollars, died unexpectedly in October. And a quarter of the league (Kansas City and Buffalo) forfeited their franchises as a result of running out of money.
As of November 24, 1915, the Feds were behaving as if their league was still a thing, but it’s tough to imagine them being able to pull out of this death spiral. (No pun intended.)
Monday, November 16, 2015
New York Tribune, November 16, 1915:
James A. Gilmore, president of the Federal League, returned to [New York] yesterday, after attending the annual meeting of the Feds in Chicago.
He announced that the invasion of Manhattan Island by the Federal League was a fact, and insisted that within a week or ten days the location of the grounds and the plans for building the stadium would be made public.
The chief of the youngest organization in baseball was inclined to be a bit reticent, and evaded the question of the possibility of an amicable agreement being reached by the warring factions.
An amicable agreement was reached by the warring factions.
Also in the news 100 years ago today, the Rock Island Argus reports that play is underway in the Rock Island Automatic Baseball league, and that the final score of game one was 347-247. Obviously this wasn’t baseball, but I have no idea what it actually was. My Google Fu is failing me - anyone have any idea what the heck “automatic baseball” was?
Friday, November 13, 2015
Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 13, 1915:
Bronx to Get “Fed” Club.
The home of the new baseball club which the Federal League has decided to locate in [New York] is expected to be in the borough of the Bronx. An architect already has begun plans for the stands, and it is stated that work on them will begin next week.
Baseball? In the Bronx? That’ll never work.
Monday, November 09, 2015
100 years ago today, the Federal League’s death spiral picked up steam. Pittsburgh Gazette Times, November 9, 1915:
[Federal League President] Gilmore said it was possible the Kansas City and Buffalo franchises would be declared forfeited at [today’s] meeting, the clubs in those cities having failed, he said, to carry out their financial obligations.
An official of the [Kansas City] club is quoted as having said: “We are through. We have carried the fight this far, but are not prepared to go on.”
William E. Robertson, president of the [Buffalo] Federal League baseball club, admitted [yesterday] that the $100,000 necessary to hold the Federal League franchise in Buffalo another year had not been raised.
I know how this story turns out, obviously, but it still bums me out that the Feds didn’t make it. I’ve got a soft spot for crazy people spending their own money on crazy things.
Thursday, November 05, 2015
Virginia (Minnesota) Enterprise, November 5, 1915:
Today the Federal league exists in name only, and unless all signs fail next Tuesday will see the formal dissolution of one of the most remarkablke organizations in the history of promoting, says the [Chicago] Examiner today.
Not a wheel is being turned in the Federal league today and the present expectation is that nothing remains but the completion of the innumerable transactions that will effectually wind up James A. Gilmore’s organization.
A moment of silence, please, for the most audacious (and crazy) baseball organization of the 20th century. Sometimes David doesn’t slay Goliath. Sometimes he just gets stepped on.
Wednesday, November 04, 2015
Rock Island Argus, November 4, 1915:
Plans are nearing consummation to terminate the baseball war by absorbing into the National league the men who hold the federal league’s bank roll.
The scheme as outlined is for [Harry] Sinclair to become part owner of the Giants, [Phil] Ball to purchase the Britton equity in the St. Louis Cards, [PittFeds owner Edward] Gwinner to be bought out by Dreyfuss or to be allowed to buy into the Pirates, and the Whales and Cubs to be consolidated and play on the north side grounds in [Chicago].
I don’t know if this peace plan is going to work. There’s no way it complies with antitrust law, right?
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, October 29, 1915:
There is little or no chance of peace on the baseball horizon, a talk with the two Pittsburgh magnates proving the fact, and the published rumors and statements of Charles Weeghman, notwithstanding.
[Pirates] President Barney Dreyfuss will not discuss reported plans to deal with the invaders and he stands firm with Messrs. Hempstead, Ebbetts [sic] and others for a stand-pat policy.
President Dreyfuss is on record as saying that he would dynamite Forbes Field rather than enter into a peace pact with the invaders…
Forbes Field was intact in 1916, but the Federal League was not.
Monday, October 19, 2015
Pittsburgh Press, October 19, 1915:
DEATH OF WARD IS STIFF BLOW TO FEDERAL LEAGUE
The death of Robert B. Ward, head of baking companies in many cities, which occurred [in New York] last night, will doubtless have a far-reaching effect on the future of the Federal Baseball league, of which he was vice president.
It is said that Mr. Ward had expended a million dollars in an effort to keep the Federal league alive. Now that he is dead, and his support removed, baseball men expressed doubts today as to the ability of the other Fed backers to keep the ship afloat.
Mr. Ward not only owned the Brooklyn Federal club, but he had advanced large sums to help other clubs in the circuit which were in distress.
I knew that the Federal League owners in Chicago and St. Louis jumped ship to organized baseball after the 1915 season, but I don’t think I knew that the Brooklyn owner died. Antitrust violations by MLB or not, I almost can’t imagine the Federal League continuing to exist in 1916 without its three biggest financial backers.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Pittsburgh Press, October 14, 1915:
That peace between the National and American leagues and the Federal league is a certainly [sic] is the opinion expressed by leading baseball men who attended the world’s series games between the Phillies and Red Sox.
The presence of Charles Weeghman, owner of the Chicago Federal league club, and Phil Ball, the majority stockholder, when neither had made plans to see the series until the last minute, would indicate that they were asked east to talk over giving up their Federal league franchises in Chicago and St. Louis to accept stock in clubs in organized ball in those cities…
And that’s pretty much exactly how things went down. Weeghman got the Cubs, Ball got the Browns, and the Federal League went away.
Wednesday, October 07, 2015
Pittsburgh Press, October 7, 1915:
Charles Weeghman, president of the Chicago club of the Federal league, received a reply to his telegram challenging the winners of the American and National league pennants for a series to settle the world’s championship title in major league baseball. August Herrmann, chairman of the National commission, in replying to the challenge, said he had sent a copy of it to his colleagues “for their information and consideration.”
This is much more polite than Herrmann needed to be. If I were in his shoes, I probably would have replied with a telegram that said one word: “No.”
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
Toledo News-Bee, October 6, 1915:
A contest for the Federal league pennant was in sight on Wednesday. President E.W. Gwinner of the Pittfeds left for New York to protest to the league directors Chicago’s right to the championship.
Gwinner contends that with the winning of the first game last Sunday at Chicago by the Pittfeds they cinched their right to the pennant, and that the second game should never have been played, as it was postponed from the Pittsburg grounds.
Yeah, that’s bogus. I’m with you on that, E.W. Gwinner, not that it matters. On the other hand, the Federal League had played its final game at this point anyway, so it’s not like the Pittfeds were robbed of an opportunity to raise the pennant or anything.
By the way, the 1915 Federal League race was wild, one of the closest races in history. Here are the final standings of the top three:
CHI 86-66 .566 ---
STL 87-67 .565 ---
PIT 86-67 .562 0.5
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
New York Tribune, September 29, 1915:
Night baseball at the Brooklyn Federal League grounds, which was to have been introduced to the public to-night in a scheduled game between the Brooklyn and Buffalo teams, has been deferred, and it is doubtful if the fans will have an opportunity of seeing a contest under novel conditions this season.
Lack of time for the completion of the towers and emergency lights and the difficulty in obtaining competent workment have delayed the project. The three towers, eighty feet high, one of which is located behind the score board in centre field and the others are at the end of each grandstand, are in position, but the lights are not yet installed.
The fans would indeed have to wait for night baseball. The first night game in MLB history took place in 1935.
Friday, September 25, 2015
Milwaukee Journal, September 25, 1915:
According to a statement given out by John G. Taylor Spink, publisher of the official organ of organized baseball, the Federal league is not paying any attention at all to its official schedule and are playing for the gate.
“The policy of the Federal league has been to play as many doubleheaders as possible where its games conflicted with the games played by National and American league clubs,” said Spink. “In this manner many of the better teams, those in the race, have overplayed their schedules, while others have not played as many games as they should have played.”
South Bend News-Times, September 25, 1915:
Vigorous denial was made today by Pres’t Weeghman and Sec’y Williams of the Chicago Whales, that any of the Federal clubs have overplayed their schedule and that the championship race was not valid as charged in an article published yesterday in a sporting publication at St. Louis.
Yeah, it looks like Spink was just making stuff up. None of the Federal League teams played each other more than the scheduled 22 times. Not a great look for the Sporting News of 100 years ago.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Milwaukee Journal, September 15, 1915:
John J. McGraw, according to a report current here today, can sign a five-year contract at $200,000, as manager of the club the Federal league proposes to install in New York next season. This sum is said to be exclusive of any stock propositions.
McGraw’s close friends are inclined to the belief, however, that the former’s two-year contract with the Giants will prove an obstacle in the path of the Feds in the event the veteran pilot agrees to talk terms.
He didn’t take the offer. McGraw was no dummy.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Seattle Star, August 13, 1915:
Charles Bultman, a realty broker, today announced to the United Press that he is negotiating the sale ofthe Cincinnati Reds. He said Warren Carter of Pasadena, Cal., has a 10-day option on the club.
It was reported that “inside baseball” circles today that Carter is acting for the Federal league, and that the Reds will be included in the Federal circuit for 1916.
Wowsers. That would have been crazy. Obviously this didn’t happen, with the Federal League months away from its fatal implosion.
Thursday, August 06, 2015
Grand Forks Daily Herald, August 6, 1915:
The reopening of a raid by the Federals on clubs in organized baseball gives room for wonder if there will be any more cases like that of Armando Marsans, the Cuban outfielder, who jumped from the Cincinnati Reds to the St. Louis Federals last season.
Marsans has not played a lick of baseball since last June, when he made the leap. He was enjoined from playing with St. Louis and his case was continued in court. But Marsans’ salary goes on just the same.
Marsans is at home in Havana, Cuba, running his cigar factory. In the meantime the Reds are in last place and the St. Louis Feds are losing games through lack of the hitting punch Marsans would give them.
The Marsans case is easily the joke of baseball, and the joke is on the fellows who will have to pay his salary.
I’m jealous. It’s always been my dream to be paid handsomely without any obligation to work.
Anyway, on August 19, 1915, a federal judge ruled that Marsans could play in the Federal League until the appeal was heard. Obviously, with the collapse of the Federal League after the 1915 season, the lawsuit became moot.
Monday, July 06, 2015
Pittsburgh Press, July 6, 1915:
An invitation to join the Brookfeds is contained in a letter received by Angelo Aragon, former Yankee, who has been doing spectacular work at shortstop for the Richmond Internationals. Aragon, a Cuban, can’t read English, so had Manager Dunn read the letter to him. Magee’s letter described his Brookfeds as a club in flourishing condition. Aragon laughed aloud.
He was right to laugh, but it’s not like Aragon went on to fame and fortune in the big leagues. He had cups of coffee with the Yankees in 1916 and 1917 and hit .116/.164/.130 those two seasons with an OPS+ of -11. Aragon had a pretty solid minor league career, though, hitting around .300 mostly for Richmond.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
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