Talk:Western League (original)

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Uncertain information[edit]

There is a dispute by the author's own admission concerning the accuracy of saying that the NY Yankees's history dates back to the Indianapolis team of the Western League.

See also Quick Facts here: New York Yankees

Roodog2k 22:32, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

  • The problem is that two different pages claim Indianapolis as their ancestor. The other one is Oakland Athletics. I did not write either of those pages and don't know what their sources are. If anything, THOSE TWO PAGES are the ones that need the "DISPUTED" tag. Someone needs to do some research on this topic. Wahkeenah 02:16, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
    • The 1960 book, The Home Team, by James Bready, indicates that the Baltimore franchise of 1901 was essentially an entirely new team, not a team transferred from elsewhere. Wahkeenah 20:40, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
  • According to Dewey and Acocella's "Total Ballclubs", the 1901 AL Baltimore Orioles (which became the Yankees) was originally a part of a second attempt at the American Association in 1900, but when the league never got off the ground, they had to wait one year (the 1900 season) before rejoining the major leagues. Ban Johnson wanted to challenge the National League by moving Western League teams (the Indianapolis team referenced here) into eastern cities, one of which is Baltimore. However, given that the Oriole franchise in question here existed prior to 1900 according to these authors, they must not have been a a relocated franchise, but a new one. --Leshii 04:03, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
    • I would have to read that book in order to get the full gist of what they are saying, because it doesn't sound quite right. Meanwhile, I am taking the liberty of changing this section heading, because it's not so much "disputed" as "uncertain", with more research required, which I would do myself if I didn't have to work for a living. d:) Wahkeenah 04:24, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
      • A Baltimore franchise had existed prior to 1900 in the National League, but was dropped. John McGraw spent 1900 trying to get a franchise in a rival league. At one point reports indicated he would join a new incarnation of the American Association. Instead Ban Johnson wooed him into the American League.Acedtect

I read a few books about the history of the Minneapolis Millers and they all indicate that the Millers were abandoned by the AL following the 1900 season. Since the Nl vacated such cities as Washington, Baltimore, and Cleveland, this was perfect to move into those territories. Essentially, the Minneapolis team then was absorbed by the minor league American Association in 1902, playing there until the beginning of the 1960s when the Twins arrived in '61.

  • According to newspaper accounts of the day, it is fairly clear that Minneapolis, Buffalo, and Indianapolis were released from the league. Minneapolis was sold and apparently admitted into a new minor league under the name of the Western League. Buffalo was released to join any league it wished and the AL agreed not to poach. More research is needed to know where Buffalo went. Indianapolis actually jumped to the failed American Association which was formed in 1901 by the National League but never played. Only Kansas City is clearly identified in the accounts as having been transferred from Kansas City to Washington under the auspices of James Manning. I hope this clears up the innacuracies. Acedtect

According to Eugene Murdock, author of Ban Johnson: Czar of Baseball, the cities were abandoned because he saw mor opportunities in the eastern United States, than with the current line-up in the Midwest. None other than Connie Mack was sent to form the Philadelphia franchise and the Boston franchise with funding from Charles Somers of Cleveland. John McGraw, in an effort to return to the city of Baltimore helped revive a new Orioles team, but returned to the NL (New York Giants) when it became obvious that neither McGraw or Johnson would be able to work together. Hope this helps a bit.


It is absolutely clear that the Buffalo franchise was dropped in favor of the new (for 1901) Boston Red Sox. (Beyond Bsn Johnson's desire to locate in larger cities, and willingness to go head-to-head with the NL in Boston, he appears to have had some financial interest in the Red Sox. So much for Buffalo.) The Bisons joined the International League.

I am moving the Buffalo entry out of the "disputed" section. B00P (talk) 20:57, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

The Western League/Western Association Confusion[edit]

The mistakes in the article are understandable; there were several organizations calling themselves the Western League or Western Association in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Essentially, this is the account of the earliest variants. The Northwestern League, founded in 1878, went briefly under the name of the Western League in 1880-1881. It became the Western Association in 1888, changed its name to the Western League in 1893 and became the American League in 1899 (not 1900). It left the National Agreement in 1900 and is (retroactively) recognized as having gained major league status by 1901.

In addition to the other Western Leagues cited in the article, there was also the Western League founded in 1900, which became the American Association in 1902.

Both pages (for Western Association and Western League) will need to be filled in with more detail, including standings, and information on the old Northwestern League is needed.

  • The Western League of 1899 changed its name to American League after the season, so it took effect in 1900, and that's why it's worded that way. The "retroactive" you're referring to would have been effective in 1903 when the leagues made peace. Wahkeenah 22:17, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
  • My research confirms what Wahkeenah states. The 1899 seaosn was played under the name Western League. The name was changed to American League for the 1900 season, but the league stayed in the national agreement and avowedly played as a minor league that year. In 1901 however, Ban Johns son engineered the three expansion teams in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston, tossed out Indianapolis, Buffalo and Minneapolis, and convinced Manning to move Kansas City to Washington. They withdrew from the national agreement and treated themselves as a major league. The National League tried to form a new American Association to steal attendance from the AL before it could get off the ground. The AL considered itself a major league in 1901 and the National League admitted that in 1903 as Wahkeena states. I was unaware the Western League and the Western Association of 1888 were connected. What's the source on that?Acedtect19:21, 9 September 2006

If you can follow the bouncing ball, from city to league, the following demonstrates (at least on paper) the basic facts about the Westeern Leagues and Western Associations of the 19th Cent. The list shows that a Western Association and a Western League existed more or less contemporaneous with each other in the 19th Cent. The WL existed in 14 19th Cent. years and the WA in twelve (12). It's hard to see how they could have had any connection or cooperation. Although the only competing franchises would have been Kansas City (WL) v. nearby St. Joseph (WA). Other than that they stayed off of each others turf. The WA had the bigger cities until '94 when Ban Johnson reorganized the WL and - voila- the WA was stuck with the Peorias.

Its interesting that the WA formed in 1888 and had franchises in each of the three westernmost major leage cities (STL, CHI and KC), though STL appears to have been a farm team of the Browns.


There are several mistakes in the franchise summary. First the Detroit franchise began play in 1894 as the Wolverines, changing their name to the Tigers in 1895. Second, the Milwaukee Brewers franchise (precursor of the AL's SL Browns and today's Baltimore Orioles) operated under the name "Creams" in 1896. Third, the Sioux City (IA) Cornhuskers (precursors of today's White Sox) operated under the name "Apostles" in the years 1895, 1896 and 1898. They used the moniker "Saints" only in 1897 and 1899 before moving to Chicago in 1900. Fourth, the reference to the Toledo franchise is totally inaccurate. Begun as the Toledo White Stockings in 1894,they changed their name to the Swamp Angels in 1895 before moving to Terra Haute,In as the Hottentots for the remainder of the 1895 season. In 1896 they moved to Columbus, Ohio where they played as the Buckeyes in 1896 and the Senators in 1897, 98 and a part of '99. Later in 1899 they moved to Grand Rapids, MI where they played as the Furnituremakers. It was THIS Grand Rapids (and NOT the original GR team founded in 1894- see below)team that then relocated to Cleveland in 1900 and eventually became today's Indians. Fifth, regarding the orignal Grand Rapids team identified as a charter member in 1894, they were known as the Rippers (aka Rustlers) in 1894 and the Goldbugs in 1895, 96 and 97. In 1898 they were either disbanded or moved (not clear) and resurfaced in Omaha as the "Omahogs" aka "Babes'. Later in 1898 they finished their season out in St Joe, Mo as the Saints. After the 98 season, and again this is again unclear, the St Joe team was either disbanded or moved and it was THIS, NOT the original Toledo team, that became the Buffalo Bisons in 1899 and 1900. Some say this Buffalo team was then replaced by today's Red Sox when the AL attained major league status for the 1901 season. To repeat, the orignally chartered Toledo team became today's Indians via Terra Haute, Columbus and Grand Rapids. The originally chartered Grand Rapids team became (according to some) today's Red Sox via Omaha,, St Joe and Buffalo. As for the other three chartered franchise ie Indianapolis, Kansas City and Minneapolis, opinions are mixed. Some say the Kansas City franchise did actually relocate to Washington in 1901 and became the orignal Nationals ie Senators. This is true if one considers a team's roster to be defined as "the franchise". But if one considers "ownership license" to be the hallmark of a "franchise" then it is probably not true that the Kansas City franchise relocated and became the Washington franchise. Similarly this is true of the Indy franchise moving to Philadelphia in 1901 and becoming the A's. Perhaps only in the sense that several of the players made the move but the ownerships were different. Finally there is no evidence that the original Minneapolis Miller franchise had any connection to any of the orignally chartered Al teams in 1901 either the original Baltimore Orioles or their successor, today's Yankees. User: 15:30, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

  • First, this has the tone of an editorial, which is why I moved it to the talk page. Second, you need to cite some sources. Third, teams seldom gave themselves nicknames in those days, so it is a mistake to make too much out of that issue. For example, according to Richard Bak's A Place for Summer, a history of baseball in Detroit, the 1894-1895 team was typically called the Detroits (common practice of that era) and also the Creams and occasionally the Tigers, but not particularly the Wolverines. "Tigers" was used in 1895 and largely took hold in 1896, but it was not an "official" nickname until the club got permission to use it (from Detroit's "Tiger Regiment") when the American League went major. Now, if you can cite some sources and leave out the accusatory tone, you could expand the franchise list usefully. Wahkeenah 16:22, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Connie Mack in "My 66 Years in the Big Leagues" describes building the 1901 Athletics from scratch. No mention of Indianapolis. I believe the person above got his info from "The Western League: a baseball history 1885-1999" by W.C. Madden. There is a bio of Ban Johnson, I want to say by Eugene Murdock but I've lost the specific reference, in which he describes KC-Washington as the only franchise move.Comet52 23:21, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

Page move to: "Western League of Professional Baseball Clubs"[edit]

I think it was an error that the page was moved. It certainly should have been discussed here first. The editor that moved it has a very limited history and no edits after the date of the move, so I'm discussing this here rather than on his page. I'm going to move it back to Western League (original) -- if possible -- because there are several different iterations of the Western League that are discussed on this page in addition to the version that became the American League, all of which baseball historians treat as one semi-continuous entity. I don't think it's established that they all had this full name. -Kgwo1972 (talk) 13:52, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Disputes in league history[edit]

Moved to talk RJFJR (talk) 22:21, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

There is an inconsistency in the history of certain teams as shown in various sources.[specify]

  • Indianapolis Indians, sometimes called Hoosiers, four players on the 1900 Indianapolis roster (outfielders Phil Geier and Socks Seybold, pitcher Billy Milligan, and catcher Doc Powers, were on the 1901 Philadelphia Athletics roster according to Baseball Reference) → Philadelphia Athletics, 1901 → Kansas City Athletics, 1955 → Oakland Athletics, 1968,

However, some sources' information contradicts the above:

  • Indianapolis Indians → Baltimore Orioles, 1901 → New York Highlanders (renamed New York Yankees, 1913)[1]

Other sources have: Minneapolis → Baltimore → New York

The Allen books merely indicate that Buffalo, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Minneapolis were replaced by Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, simply listing the cities each time in alphabetical order. The Home Team, a history of Baltimore baseball written in the 1950s by James Bready, indicates that the Baltimore franchise of 1901 was a totally new entry, not a transfer from elsewhere.

  1. ^ "Yankees Timeline 1903-1925". New York Yankees. Retrieved July 21, 2008. 

Transition to American League[edit]

Moved to talk RJFJR (talk) 22:21, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

The Minneapolis Millers are indicated to have been abandoned by the American League following the 1900 season. Stew Thornley points out that the American League saw bigger markets in the east and wanted to cash in on the former National League territory. Therefore, the Minneapolis franchise is thought to be abandoned and new franchises were added in place of Minneapolis and other abandoned cities. Some teams were indeed transferred, as was the case with the Kansas City team.

In the Chicago Tribune, January 29, 1901, it is reported that the American League voted to drop Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Buffalo, and award new franchises to new backers in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston. The article goes on to report that these were the only franchise decisions at that meeting, Manning's Kansas City franchise having been transferred to Washington at a previous meeting.[1]

Minneapolis owner C. H. Saulpaugh, Indianapolis owner W. H. Watkins, and Kansas City owner James Manning opposed the move of the American League into eastern cities. Only Manning appears to have been eventually swayed, and agreed to move his franchise.[2] The Indianapolis club jumped to the 1901 incarnation of the American Association that the National League formed but never got off the ground.[3]

Saulpaugh sold his Minneapolis club, the lease on its ballpark Nicollet Park, and the American League players, to A. B. Beal. The Jan 16 Chicago Daily Tribune calls them "the Western league franchise."[4] This likely alludes to them joining a new minor league that was planned to play in cities left behind by the American League.[5]

As late as November 23, 1900 Buffalo was to be given a one-year contract to remain a member of the AL.[6] By January, enthusiasm for a Boston club meant the AL would either go to 10 teams or have to drop one.[7] Buffalo lost out but President Franklin of Buffalo was satisfied with the "agreement that the American leaguers would permit him to keep his team intact so far as they were concerned. They promised not sign any of his players if he went into another league."[1]

The player rosters from opening day 1900 compared to the rosters of 1901 seem to bear this scenario out. Washington in 1901 had several players from Kansas City of 1900. Philadelphia in 1901 had four players from Indianapolis of 1900. The rosters of Boston and Baltimore do not seem to share any similarity to the rosters of 1900 Minneapolis and Buffalo.[8] A preseason analysis by the Chicago Daily acknowledges the Washington Club is built around a nucleus from Manning's old Kansas City club, but treats Baltimore and Boston as new teams. Indianapolis transferred four players and ownership to Philadelphia[9]

The Chicago Daily research thus indicates that Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Cleveland, held their clubs steady from 1900 to 1901. Kansas City moved to Washington under the same ownership by Manning. Indianapolis transferred ownership to Philadelphia under Benjamin Shibe and Connie Mack, also cited in "Connie Mack" (a biography). Baltimore and Boston seem to have been created anew with new ownership. Total Baseball agrees with this assessment in their team histories, although they treat Washington as a new club with many players and Manning, taken from Kansas City, rather than calling them a transferred club.

Buffalo continued to play as a minor league franchise continuously until 1970; the current Bisons incarnation is a revival that dates to 1979.

  1. ^ a b "Seeks to snare Duffy of Boston". Chicago Daily Tribune. January 29, 1901. p. 9. 
  2. ^ "Manning to put club here". The Washington Post. November 12, 1900. p. 8. 
  3. ^ "Teams at league park". The Washington Post. January 6, 1901. p. 8. 
  4. ^ "Watkins shows his hand". Chicago Daily. January 16, 1901. p. 8. 
  5. ^ "Johnson returns in pacific mood". Chicago Daily. December 23, 1900. p. 17. 
  6. ^ "Baseball for Baltimore". New York Times. November 23, 1900. p. 8. 
  7. ^ "Circuit of ten clubs". Chicago Daily Tribune. January 13, 1901. p. 18. 
  8. ^ "New baseball faces". Chicago Daily. April 8, 1900. p. 18. 
  9. ^ "Lineup of the rival leagues". Chicago Daily. March 31, 1901. p. 17.