Federal League Newsbeat
Friday, April 01, 2016
Toledo News-Bee, April 1, 1916:
President Weeghman announced on Friday that the Federal league pennant, won by his Chicago Whales, will be raised at the Cub park. Regular flag raising ceremonies, bands, parade and speechmaking will accompany the event, which will be held probably in July.
Does anyone know if this actually happened, and if so, how long it flew? A quick googling was unsuccessful.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
El Paso Herald, March 22, 1916:
The Baltimore Feds would like to have [Federal League President] Jim Gilmore drop around some day—the sooner the better. When peace negotiations were entered into the Baltimore Feds were left out in the cold. Other magnates in the “outlaw” circuit were taken care of, but the Baltimore people got what it classed as “the rawest deal in baseball history.”
But when peace came, with Gilmore engineering the proceedings for the Feds, the $300,000 investment of the Baltimoreans in a Federal franchise was disregarded…The Baltimore folks had something like $150,000 tied up in their ball park when peace came, and their league ceased to exist, the park was no longer of an use to them…They were forced to sell it for $25,000 to Jack Dunn, owner of the International team of that town.
Yeah, well, if they thought they got a raw deal from Gilmore, they haven’t seen anything yet.
Friday, February 19, 2016
Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, February 19, 1916:
[Former Kansas City Feds catcher] Ted Easterly, who is out in California, has written to James Gilmore, the ex-president of the Federal League, as follows:
Dear Jim: I noticed all you fellows got ‘yours,’ and I have a contract in my ‘kicker’ which calls for another year’s salary. Now, Jim, dear, where am I at? Just a few lines with an explanation which will straighten out the tangle will be gratefully received by yours truly.
P.S.—Is it a hard task to learn to be a motorman?”
I’m not sure whether Easterly ever got his money, but he never did play another game in the big leagues. He was a pretty good player: A career .300 hitter, career OPS+ of 116, finished in the top ten in the league in slugging twice, could play corner outfield in addition to catching. He was only 30 when the Federal League crashed and burned, so it seems like he could have played longer than he did. Maybe he became a motorman.
Monday, February 08, 2016
Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, February 8, 1916:
Baseball magnates, players and fans are elated over the dismissal of the Federal League’s suit against organized ball. Had the suit been pressed, as the Baltimore Federal Club owners threatened, and had Judge Landis finally rendered a decision, it is certain that the effect on the national game would have been great.
In dismissing the suit, Judge Landis said, in part:
The court’s expert knowledge of baseball, obtained by more than 30 years of observation of the game as a spectator, convinced me that if an order had been entered it would have been, if not destructive, at least vitally injurious to the game of baseball.
I want to say that in all the preliminary evidence and the various arguments…not the slightest evidence was presented to cause the most suspicious person to impugn the honor of the game or of any of the individual players.
Sounds like a wholly impartial judge who would leave his personal feelings out of it when it comes time to render a verdict.
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Washington Times, January 28, 1916:
Those Baltimore Federal League stockholders mean to go to the limit in their battle against organized baseball…
The directors of the Terrapins have been authorized to raise $50,000 to wage a court fight to recover damages for losses they claim to have sustained through the failure of the Federal League promoters to consider them when peace on the diamond was declared.
According to President Rasin, the Baltimoreans will sue to be reimbursed for about $240,000, including $100,000 spent building a ball park…Baltimore admits that it has absolutely no chance whatever of breaking into the big leagues.
Unfortunately for those stockholders, the lawsuit didn’t go as well as they’d expected.
Thursday, January 07, 2016
Pittsburgh Press, January 7, 1916:
Federal league magnates will come to bury Caesar and collect his life insurance next Wednesday when they cluster again in New York for their final meeting as Federal magnates.
Formal obsequies over the league are expected to include the signing of a joint pact by all the club-owners agreeing to the withdrawal of their suit against organized baseball and the signing of certain agreements by the organized owners to protect their brethren now that the outlaw is dead.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with the Fed. The noble Herrmann
Hath told you the Feds were ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath the Fed answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Ebbets and the rest, —
For Gilmore is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honorable men, —
Come I to speak in the Fed’s funeral.
It was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Ruppert says it was ambitious;
And Ruppert is an honorable man.
Tuesday, January 05, 2016
Washington Times, January 5, 1916:
Charlie Weeghman, the Chicago Federal League magnate, is expected to close his deal for the Cubs today, paying in the neighborhood of $500,000 for the club.
“It’s up to Weeghman now to pay his money and take the club,” said [Newark Pepper owner Harry] Sinclair, when asked for a statement.
The Chicago restaurateur is expected to return home tomorrow or Saturday in possession of the controlling interest in the Cubs.
Pittsburgh Gazette Times, January 5, 1916:
The St. Louis Browns were sold [yesterday] to James W. Garneau, Philip C. Ball and Otto F. Stifel, a trio of St. Louis millionaires. The price was $525,000.
“I’m going to give St. Louis a winning club,” said Garneau [last night]. “I don’t care what it costs. The Browns are going to mean something in baseball.”
It would still be a few decades before the Browns won their pennant, but they went 79-75 in 1916, so Garneau wasn’t lying. St. Louis got its winning club.
Thursday, December 31, 2015
Bridgeport Evening Farmer, December 31, 1915:
[Boston Red Sox owner Joe] Lannin has read a lot of stories in which Benny [Kauff] has said about his prowess at smashing baseballs, and he makes no secret of the fact that Benny must prove it first.
“I suppose this Kauff is a pretty good ball player,” said Lannin, “but I can’t see where he gets the nerve to talk of himself in the same breath with Ty Cobb. Why you have to consider the class that Kauff has been playing in for the last two years. When he gets into a big league he’ll have a job in front of him to hit .300.”
Lannin got this one exactly right. Kauff hit .357/.447/.523 in his two Federal League seasons, but .287/.357/.413 in the NL. That’s still a good player - a center fielder with a 136 OPS+ is nothing to sneeze at - but it ain’t Ty Cobb.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Pittsburgh Gazette Times, December 23, 1915:
Probably the most disastrous war that baseball has ever experienced came to a close [in Cincinnati last night] when a treaty of peace between the Federal League and both parties to the National baseball agreement, known as organized baseball, was signed.
...and elsewhere on the same page, this headline:
Baltimore Stockholders Not Pleased With Peace Treaty
Declare Gilmore and Weeghman Failed to Act in Good Faith. Would Sue.
Yeah, I see what they mean. This looks like a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. There’s no way they’d lose in court, right?
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, December 22, 1915:
The delegates from the National, American and Federal Leagues will sign the peace agreement tonight, according to a magnate who left the meeting room for a few minutes late this afternoon.
The article goes on to detail the major pieces of the deal: Nobody who jumped will be blacklisted, all claims to contract jumpers are withdrawn, teams who had players jump will have to pay to get them back, Charles Weeghman gets the Cubs, Phil Ball gets the Browns, and PittFed owner Edward Gwinner has a month to come up with the money to buy an MLB club. There’s also a sketchy, unclear plan where some other Fed owners will get franchises in the International League and a vague plan to figure out who pays what to players with guaranteed Federal League contracts.
Monday, December 21, 2015
United Press via Toledo News-Bee, December 21, 1915:
Early trains arriving in Cincinnati on Tuesday brought many baseball magnates for the big peace pow-wow which is almost certain to end the three-year war which has been waged in organized baseball by the Federal league.
[National Commission] Chairman Herrmann said today that only the details of the peace plan remain to be worked out, but that there are so many of them he does not expect the conference to be concluded before Wednesday.
I knew how this story ended, obviously, but it still kind of bums me out that the Feds didn’t make it.
Friday, December 18, 2015
Pittsburgh Gazette Times, December 18, 1915:
Peace in organized baseball seemed nearer late [last night] when a conference between the National Commission representing the National and American Leagues and a committee from the Federal League adjourned. The chief point of discussion at the meeting was the legality of concluding an agreement before Judge Kenesaw M. Landis hands down a decision in the suit brought before him by the Federal League.
There are specific details of the agreement in the linked article. It’s interesting that as late as a few days before the agreement became official, the plan was still that the St. Louis Feds would merge with the Cardinals. As I’ve mentioned before, SlouFed owner Phil Ball took control of the Browns and not the Cards.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Milwaukee Sentinel, December 16, 1915:
The end of the baseball war came in sight Wednesday night when American league magnates at their annual session [in Chicago] agreed to the peace terms arranged at New York between the Federals and National leaguers.
Within a few days, according to President Johnson, the details of the agreement which does away with the Federals as an independent league will be arranged, the American league having consented to appoint a committee to meet envoys from the others.
The Federal League would be officially put out of its misery in a matter of days.
Monday, December 14, 2015
New York Sun, December 14, 1915:
The feeling grows daily, at least among those on the outside, that the baseball war is far nearer a satisfactory solution than at any time since Gilmore launched his first attack upon the so-called trust.
[An anonymous source in Organized Baseball says] “Organized baseball and the Federal League are like two big fellows standing out in the street and hurling threats at each other. One tells the other how strong he is and how weak the other fellow is. But in the meantime neither is getting anywhere…This senseless war could have been ended satisfactorily for every one, including the public, months ago if either side had shown the least bit of intelligence. I have hope that it will be settled before the end of the week.
It wasn’t quite before the end of the week, but the final peace treaty in the baseball war was imminent.
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.
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