Northwestern League

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Northwestern League
SportBaseball
Inaugural season1879
Ceased1887
No. of teams4 to 12 each season
CountryUnited States

The Northwestern League was a sports league that operated in the Central United States during the early years of professional baseball for five seasons: 1879, 1883–1884, and 1886–1887. After the 1887 season, the league was replaced by the Western Association.[1] A second Northwestern League, located in the Pacific Northwest, formed in 1905.

The Northwestern League of 1883–1884 is considered the first baseball "minor league", as it was party to the National Agreement of 1883, along with the National League and American Association, whereby the leagues agreed to honor each other's suspensions, expulsions, and player reserve clauses, and established territorial rights.[2]

Results by season[edit]

The league operated for a total of five seasons, during a span of nine years.

1879[edit]

Four teams participated in the 1879 season, which ran from May 1 to July 7.

1879 Northwestern League final standings
Team Record GB Manager
Dubuque Red Stockings 19–5 (.792) Ted Sullivan
Rockford White Stockings 13–9 (.591) 5 James McKee
Omaha Green Stockings 5–13 (.278) 11
Davenport Brown Stockings 5–15 (.250) 12 J. W. Green

Source:[3][4][5]:134

1883[edit]

The 1883 season featured eight teams and ran from May 1 to September 29.

1883 Northwestern League final standings
Team Record GB Manager
Toledo Blue Stockings 56–28 (.667) William Voltz / Charlie Morton
Saginaw Greys 54–30 (.643) 2 Arthur Whitney
Peoria Reds 49–35 (.583) 7 Charles Flynn / Charles Levis / A. C. Harding
Grand Rapids (MI) 48–36 (.571) 8 Charles Eden / Henry Jones
Springfield (IL) 37–47 (.440) 19 C. J. Frichtel / John Peters / John Crawford
Bay City (MI) 35–49 (.417) 21 John Crawford / William Montgomery / Chester Morgan
Fort Wayne Hoosiers 34–50 (.405) 22 Jack Remsen / Milton Scott
Quincy Quincys 23–61 (.274) 33 Charles Overrecker / Ed Hengel / Dickey Pearce

Source:[6][4][5]:141

1884[edit]

The 1884 season began on May 1 with 12 teams. The Bay City team disbanded in late July and was replaced by Evansville. In early August, multiple other teams disbanded.[7] Play continued through August 13, at which time Milwaukee had the best record of teams still active.[8] Milwaukee was later offered the league championship for the abbreviated season, but declined it.[9]

1884 Northwestern League final standings (1)
Team Record GB Manager
Grand Rapids (MI) 48–15 (.762) Horace Phillips
Saginaw Greys 47–21 (.691) 3+12 William Dyer
Quincy Quincys 45–23 (.662) 5+12 George Brackett
Peoria Reds 40–25 (.615) 9 James Whitfield / Charles Flynn
Milwaukee Brewers 42–30 (.583) 10+12 Charles Cushman / James McKee / Tom Loftus
Minneapolis Millers 30–42 (.417) 22+12 Benjamin Tuthill
Muskegon (MI) 23–40 (.365) 27 A. R. Bradford / Charles Cushman / John Rainey
Fort Wayne Hoosiers 22–43 (.338) 29 John McDonough / Harry Smith
St. Paul Apostles 24–48 (.333) 30+12 Robert Hunter / Andrew Thompson
Stillwater (MN) 21–46 (.313) 31 Joseph May / Joe Miller / Fred Gunkle / John Peters
Terre Haute (IN) 15–50 (.231) 36 Al Buckenberger / George Hammerstein
Evansville (IN) 4–1 (.800) n/a Stephen Hagan
Bay City (MI) 39–16 (.709) n/a Bill Watkins

Source:[5]:142

The league reorganized on August 14, and started a second season with a limited schedule of 24 games planned for each of four teams.[9] This short season would also end early due to financial difficulties, with the final game played on September 7.[10]

1884 Northwestern League final standings (2)
Team Record GB Manager
Milwaukee Brewers 11–4 (.733) Tom Loftus
Minneapolis Millers 7–4 (.636) 2 Benjamin Tuthill
St. Paul Apostles 7–7 (.500) 3+12 Andrew Thompson
Winona Clippers 1–11 (.083) 8+12 John Rainey

Source:[5]:143

The St. Paul and Milwaukee teams were late-season additions to the major league Union Association.[11][12]

1886–1887[edit]

In 1886, the league was recreated when the Duluth Jayhawks; Eau Claire Lumbermen; St. Paul Freezers, Minneapolis Millers, Milwaukee Brewers, and the Oshkosh, Wisconsin team composed the league. Duluth won the championship.[13]

In 1887, the Northwestern League featured the Des Moines Hawkeyes, Duluth Freezers, Eau Claire, LaCrosse Freezers, Milwaukee Cream Citys, Minneapolis Millers, Oshkosh and the St. Paul Saints. Oshkosh won the championship.[14][4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thornly, Stew (2006). Baseball in Minnesota: The Definitive History. ISBN 978-0-87351-551-1.
  2. ^ "How Minor League Baseball Teams Work: History of the Minors". howstuffworks.com. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  3. ^ "1879 Northwestern League". Baseball-Reference.com.
  4. ^ a b c "Northwestern League - BR Bullpen". www.baseball-reference.com.
  5. ^ a b c d The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball. Lloyd Johnson & Miles Wolff, editors (Third ed.). Baseball America. 2007. ISBN 1932391177.CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ "1883 Northwestern League". Baseball-Reference.com.
  7. ^ "Two More Gone". St. Paul Globe. August 7, 1884. p. 6. Retrieved April 21, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Northwestern League". Chicago Tribune. August 14, 1884. p. 7. Retrieved April 21, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  9. ^ a b "The New Northwestern League". St. Louis Globe-Democrat. August 15, 1884. p. 8. Retrieved April 21, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "The Northwestern League Winds Up Its Career at Milwaukee". St. Paul Globe. September 8, 1884. p. 7. Retrieved April 21, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "The 1884 St. Paul Saints". Retrosheet. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  12. ^ "The 1884 Milwaukee Grays". Retrosheet. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  13. ^ "1886 Northwestern League". Baseball-Reference.com.
  14. ^ "1887 Northwestern League". Baseball-Reference.com.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]