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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

B-ref Blog: Orioles to Highlanders: One Franchise or Two?

Foreman Forman has a question for youzez:

So right now, I’m probably going to switch the 1901 and 1902 Baltimore teams to their own franchise and have the Yankees start in 1903. Anyone want to convince me otherwise?

 

Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: February 23, 2010 at 07:10 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: general

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   1. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: February 23, 2010 at 08:30 PM (#3466247)
A more pressing question may actually be why the Union Association is still represented as a Major League on B-R. I would have thought that after Bill James exploded that concept in the NHBA that people would start to realize that it wasn't a major league at all.

On the continuity question: what a mess baseball used to be.
   2. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 23, 2010 at 08:35 PM (#3466255)
This is a fascinating historical story, one that I had no knowledge of. Basically, there were only five players who were on both the 1902 Orioles and the 1903 Highlanders. The Orioles went bankrupt during the season, and the AL awarded a new franchise to New York for 1903.

But someone in the comments there makes the case that Giants owner Andrew Freedman swooped in after the O's went belly-up and stole manager John McGraw and several other players. It's not at all clear to me whether the new ownership took over the denuded Baltimore franchise, restocked it and moved it to New York, or whether the New York franchise was brand-new, and just happened to pick up five players from the old Orioles. If it's the former, then it seems to me that there's really only one franchise involved here.

It also seems to me the kind of thing that would have been reported on heavily in the New York papers. I'm surprised the question hasn't been answered more definitively yet.
   3. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: February 23, 2010 at 09:33 PM (#3466359)
Yeah, this is a simple question with a tougher answer involving original research. There was a Baltimore baseball legal entity; if that entity at all moved to New York, one franchise. If not, two.
   4. Cabbage Posted: February 23, 2010 at 10:03 PM (#3466410)
Orioles to Highlanders: One Franchise or Two?

THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE
   5. Scott Lange Posted: February 23, 2010 at 10:14 PM (#3466429)
This seems as good a place as any to see if anyone has an opinion on a personal conundrum involving the definition of a franchise. I have set a life goal of visiting every major and affiliated minor league team in North America (I'm at an even 50 out of 192ish right now). If a team moves to a new stadium (i.e. Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to Turner Field), I am not requiring myself to revist. But what do I do if the team moves to a new city? Worse, what about minor league teams? They're constantly bouncing around in all manner of permutations. For instance, when the Richmond Braves moved to Gwinnett County outside Atlanta, that seems to call for a new visit even though it was the same "legal entity." But what happens when a new team sets up shop in Richmond- does that require a revisit? If so, what if they also are in the same classification as the previous Richmond Braves? In the same stadium? With the same name? Revisiting Richmond just to see a team that is indistinguishable from the old team in any way save its "legal entity"-hood seems immensely unsatisfying.

If anyone can see a workable, logical, consistent way to define when a revisit should be required, I'd love to hear it.
   6. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: February 23, 2010 at 10:22 PM (#3466439)
If anyone can see a workable, logical, consistent way to define when a revisit should be required, I'd love to hear it.
I don't think there is one that meets all of your criteria. Sorry.
   7. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: February 23, 2010 at 10:31 PM (#3466448)
I think you should phrase your goal as "Visit the pro baseball stadium in every city with an affiliated pro baseball team". If the Richmond Braves move to Gwinnett County, you now have to visit Gwinnett County, whether or not you have visited Richmond before. But there's no need to visit Richmond again just because some other team has moved there. Even though the new team is AA instead of AAA.

Also, now that Oneonta has moved to the former home of the new Richmond team, you no longer have to visit Oneonta. Unless you want to. It's a nice place.
   8. jwb Posted: February 23, 2010 at 10:42 PM (#3466454)
Unless, of course, you want Flying Squirrel memorabilia.
   9. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 23, 2010 at 11:01 PM (#3466473)
The problem with the switch is that it leaves you with a two year Baltimore rump franchise that more or less ruins the historical continuity of the AL from 1901 to 1960, by not connecting those two years to anything. It smacks more of change for the hell of it than anything else, especially since as Whiz said in the BB-ref. discussion, there was a clear continuity of ownership with Ferrell and Devery. As he also says, this is like the Montreal to Washington franchise move more than anything else. The fact that the roster largely changed from 1902 to 1903 doesn't really have all that much significance, compared to the continuity of ownership.

I guess my bottom line is that Sean should leave well enough alone. I can't see any compelling reason why this has to be done. If fans of a particular city (Baltimore or Montreal, or any one of a number of other teams like the Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Braves, etc.) want to have their own set of statistics, there's nothing wrong with that, but IMO that's an entirely separate issue. If it's a question of civic pride, you can have an additional separate page for all the Baltimore teams, the two Kansas City teams, etc. Nothing stops us from doing that as a supplement. But the Orioles/Highlanders/Yankees is still a continuous 110 year old franchise, not two separate ones.
   10. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: February 23, 2010 at 11:02 PM (#3466474)
Does Major League Baseball consider the 1901-02 Orioles and Yankees the same franchise? There's your answer.
   11. Gamingboy Posted: February 23, 2010 at 11:10 PM (#3466477)
I agree with Larry Mahnken. This does not happen very often.


Go with the MLB take.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: February 24, 2010 at 03:37 AM (#3466681)
I agree that this is all the same franchise, especially with Jolly's explainer.

Also agree with:
"A more pressing question may actually be why the Union Association is still represented as a Major League on B-R."

I'm fine with 1880s American Association and then the Federal League, but UA?
   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 24, 2010 at 04:20 AM (#3466703)
Does Major League Baseball consider the 1901-02 Orioles and Yankees the same franchise? There's your answer.

It doesn't, but just about everything MLB does these days is determined solely by marketing, and it's not hard to imagine that it thinks that including the 1901-02 Orioles with the "Bronx Bombers" would be too "confusing" for 21st century fans.

I checked my old Sporting News Dope Books to see how they handled this, and they were totally screwy. Under the Yankees, they merely stated "Not In League" for 1901-02, but then they listed the 1901-02 Orioles under the current Orioles records, and completely eliminated the 1901 Brewers, who in fact were the current Baltimore franchise's direct ancestor. It's as if the original Orioles had moved to St. Louis in 1903 and then returned "home" in 1954.

OTOH the last Sporting News Baseball Guides and Record Books corrected this, and properly listed the 1901 Brewers under the modern Orioles, and put the 1901-02 Orioles under the same heading as the Yankees. This is what Sean should follow.
   14. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: February 24, 2010 at 12:27 PM (#3466822)
Does Major League Baseball consider the 1901-02 Orioles and Yankees the same franchise? There's your answer.


I'll start by saying I think the franchise(s) should be considered one continuous entity. I don't think MLB should be the arbiter and I'll use the NFL as an example. When the Browns moved to Baltimore they took the whole shootin' match, players, owners, jockstraps, everything. However, for PR reasons the Ravens are considered an "expansion" team by the NFL (may not be the right terminology) while the current Browns, who were largely created out of an expansion draft, are the "continuation" of the original Browns with no explaination for a three year gap in their history.

I tend toward the simplistic, if the move was done as a continuation, then it's the same franchise. If the club was disbanded and then a new club put in place (think Washington Senators I and II) then it is a separate franchise.

On the subject of "Major Leagues" when Sean posts the Negro League stuff is that going to be considered a "Major League?" Ultimately that would change a lot of stats for folks but I don't know how you wouldn't call the Negro League a "Major League."
   15. villageidiom Posted: February 24, 2010 at 01:44 PM (#3466844)
OTOH the last Sporting News Baseball Guides and Record Books corrected this, and properly listed the 1901 Brewers under the modern Orioles, and put the 1901-02 Orioles under the same heading as the Yankees. This is what Sean should follow.
But what if they had changed to follow what Sean was doing?

AFAICT from the Pittsburgh papers in mid 1902 the AL was to replace the Detroit and Baltimore franchises with Pittsburgh and New York. From those articles it's clear that the Detroit franchise would move to Pittsburgh; it's not made clear whether the Balt/NY switch was a move or a dissolution/expansion combo.
   16. OsunaSakata Posted: February 24, 2010 at 02:06 PM (#3466850)
The 1901-1902 Orioles should be part of Yankees history.

And Senators I are part of Twins history, Senators II are part of Rangers history and the Expos are part of Nationals history.

Given that, a feat by Zimmerman, Dunn or Strasburg is more meaningful to me as a Washington record compared to Goslin, Howard or Johnson, rather than as a franchise record compared to Raines, Dawson or Rogers. Can Sean do city records?
   17. Scott Lange Posted: February 24, 2010 at 03:15 PM (#3466911)
"Visit the pro baseball stadium in every city with an affiliated pro baseball team"


That's sensible. Obviously when there are two teams in a city simultaneously I want to visit both (Mets/Yankees, Cubs/Sox, etc.), and it doesn't seem very logically rigorous to waive that rule just because the two teams are in the city at different times, but there's just no alternative I guess. If only baseball owners would plan their club migrations around my hobby...
   18. J. Bowman, upon reflection, does hate pants Posted: February 24, 2010 at 03:21 PM (#3466922)
THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE


Just checking to make sure someone had made this joke. Carry on.
   19. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: February 24, 2010 at 03:36 PM (#3466945)
The 1901-1902 Orioles should be part of Yankees history.

And Senators I are part of Twins history, Senators II are part of Rangers history and the Expos are part of Nationals history.


That's a helpful response, considering the Orioles/Yankees circumstances are different than those other franchises, which is why the ####### question has come up at all.
   20. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: February 24, 2010 at 03:43 PM (#3466958)
What's the difference? That there were very few players in common?

The Phillies were given the franchise (or license or whatver) that had belonged to the bankrupt owners of the Worcester Ruby Brown Leg Stockings. Those two teams didn't have any players in common, but some group them as the same franchise. I sort of think BB-ref should, but it doesn't.
   21. esseff Posted: February 24, 2010 at 04:06 PM (#3466982)
Harold Seymour shines a little light on what went down in Baltimore. The situation stems from the feud between McGraw and Ban Johnson, who wouldn't tolerate McGraw's umpire baiting. Johnson issued a series of short suspensions and then suspended McGraw indefinitely in July 1902. McGraw responded by enlisting the help of Reds owner John Brush in securing a majority of Baltimore's stock, which they then sold to the New York Giants' Tammany Hall-connected owner Andrew Freedman. Six of Baltimore's top players were then sold to the two NL teams, four to Freedman's Giants and two to Brush's Reds. McGraw jumped to the Giants as manager, but claimed that he had secured a legitimate release from Baltimore in lieu of money he said he was owed for having to advance some player salaries out of his own pocket.

At that point, Johnson seized control of the Baltimore franchise. He rallied the team's minority stockholders, and with Wilbert Robinson in charge cobbled together a team that included players donated by other AL clubs, minor leaguers and "whatever else could be picked up." At the end of the season he moved the team to New York. Years later, McGraw told Fred Lieb that he knew Johnson had planned all along to move the team to New York and was beating him to the punch.

That account is from "Baseball: The Early Years" by Harold Seymour. And it probably supports both sides of the continuity debate. On one hand, the nucleus of the Baltimore team had been dispersed before the transfer, and on the other hand, the remnant franchise did complete the 1902 season in Baltimore and then was transferred without a (further) change in ownership. According to Seymour, Johnson himself got the Tammany Hall backing to establish a park at 168th and Broadway (there had been concern that Freedman would be able to block the transfer by using his connections to have the city decide it needed a new street to go through any parcel Johnson might choose for a ballpark).

Considering the nature of the composition of the Baltimore roster that finished out the 1902 season, it's not surprising that so few of the players were on the team the next year in New York.
   22. 185/456(GGC) Posted: February 24, 2010 at 04:09 PM (#3466988)
I sometimes wonder about the continuity of the Boston NL franchise after Spalding and company jumped, but never really looked at it in depth.
   23. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 24, 2010 at 04:31 PM (#3467029)
The 1901-1902 Orioles should be part of Yankees history.

And Senators I are part of Twins history, Senators II are part of Rangers history and the Expos are part of Nationals history.

Given that, a feat by Zimmerman, Dunn or Strasburg is more meaningful to me as a Washington record compared to Goslin, Howard or Johnson, rather than as a franchise record compared to Raines, Dawson or Rogers. Can Sean do city records?


That's what I said yesterday in post #9. It's the best compromise solution.
   24. Cblau Posted: February 24, 2010 at 09:53 PM (#3467459)
The Phillies were given the franchise (or license or whatever) that had belonged to the bankrupt owners of the Worcester Ruby Brown Leg Stockings.


Actually, they were given the Troy franchise, after the Troy owners turned down the league's offer to move to Philadelphia.

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