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What would have happened if the Washington Senators didn't move to Minnesota?


TNT44

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I've never seen those rules before until just now. After reading I'm still not too sure the PCL could have pulled it off. You say that the NL and AL were two independent leagues, which in a sense was true. But the leagues were still brought together under Major League Baseball. It is my understanding that those rules to become a "major league" makes you a big time league (no longer considered a minor league), but doesn't make you apart of MLB. Instead you are in competition with MLB. MLB is an organization not a status (for example the NFL would be a major league, when the USFL gained major league status, if it did, it didn't become a part of the NFL). So IMO, MLB would have quashed any league's chances of obtaining those requirments.

I think that "MLB" was a weak enough organization at the top back then that you could use the diffences in leagues to your advantage. Think of it as a weak alliance as opposed to a unified organization. The philosophical and fanbase differences between the two could have worked to your advantage (back then there were such things as "NL" fans and "AL" fans-the Mets exist in the NL in large part because New York had a "NL" fanbase that needed servicing.

Agreed. On a personal tip, I always thought that was a reason why there's so many Cubs fans in Wisconsin. The Braves left a void of unfufilled NL fans who didn't see the Brewers (an AL club) as a suitable replacement. The Brewers "won back" some of those fans when they switched to the NL, but most of them had been Cubs fans for so long they didn't want to switch allegiances again.

Although the sociologist in me thinks that at least some of it has to do with the Cubs fans' rep as being from a "higher" socioeconomic background whereas the Braves/Brewers fans have always had a blue-collar rep (most Cubs fans in Wisconsin live in the more affluent areas outside of Milwaukee that exploded during the white flight of the 60's). But I digress.

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I think that "MLB" was a weak enough organization at the top back then that you could use the diffences in leagues to your advantage. Think of it as a weak alliance as opposed to a unified organization. The philosophical and fanbase differences between the two could have worked to your advantage (back then there were such things as "NL" fans and "AL" fans-the Mets exist in the NL in large part because New York had a "NL" fanbase that needed servicing.

I still think you may be underestimating the power of MLB. Yes the two leagues were seperate in the eyes of the fans. But I don't think they were so much in the eyes of the owners. The AL and NL basically formed as a truce between the owners to stop "stealing" each others players. Owners have always been looking to make a profit. Surely a rival league would cut into many team's proftis. So when it comes down to it I would expect the owners of both leagues to team up to try and stop the PCL if it even attempted to become a major league.

I'm less sure than you are. In regards to the office of the Commissioner, Ford C. Frick was certainly there and a fairly strong presence, but it sounds like the AL owners may have lacked complete trust of him because he was a NL guy. I think the leagues were still prone to acting independently, or without consulting the other league (I think the biggest period case in point would be the creation of the Los Angeles Angels, which didn't exactly meet with the approval of the NL owners).

I'm honestly not sure how much the PCL would cut in to profits. I'm honestly not sure which NL or AL teams had substantial followings on the West Coast, if any (possibly the New York teams, the Cubs (maybe), and the Cardinals i.e. teams with National fanbases). I'd guess the biggest danger would be from a bidding war for players, but if the PCL handled that correctly, (salami slice approach), it shouldn't pose to great a problem.

I would expect no matter what they would have just relocated teams. Now the whole AL/NL thing does create a small problem. But the Giants and Dodgers played each other 22 times. I'm not sure what the travel costs were back then, so I'm not sure if the teams could have afforded the extra travel time (or maybe if the other owners pitch in some of the money). Although I did notice that when LA and SF played each other in the '50s they played the series back to back. If they had to go NL/NL, then maybe the Milwaukee Braves move to San Fransico. They moved to Atlanta only 8 years later, maybe the Giants move delays the Cali move by a couple of year. Or maybe the league decides on two completely different teams who knows.

Ultimately it's the owner's call on where to move; neither the league Presidents nor the Commisioner has the authority to tell owners where or when to move (their power only extends to restricting permission). In regards to travel, if they handled it like the NFL had the Rams (and then 49ers) do, the California teams subsidized some of the travel costs.

I'm not sure if a California move would be even viable in a couple of years-the proverbial "window of opportunity" may have shut as soon as 1960. The PCL had been in the Open Category since 1952-how many more years would it honestly take to reach de facto major status?-Approx. 1960 sounds like a good benchmark. In short, if the move didn't happen when it did, it might not have ever happened. Granted the Dodgers have no problem with moving at the time, but if the Giants aren't willing to go to the West Coast, the Dodgers might opt to build a new stadium in New York

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I'm less sure than you are. In regards to the office of the Commissioner, Ford C. Frick was certainly there and a fairly strong presence, but it sounds like the AL owners may have lacked complete trust of him because he was a NL guy. I think the leagues were still prone to acting independently, or without consulting the other league (I think the biggest period case in point would be the creation of the Los Angeles Angels, which didn't exactly meet with the approval of the NL owners).

I'm honestly not sure how much the PCL would cut in to profits. I'm honestly not sure which NL or AL teams had substantial followings on the West Coast, if any (possibly the New York teams, the Cubs (maybe), and the Cardinals i.e. teams with National fanbases). I'd guess the biggest danger would be from a bidding war for players, but if the PCL handled that correctly, (salami slice approach), it shouldn't pose to great a problem.

I understand that there was a divide between the league, but I just think the owners would come together if they felt that the PCL was a big enough threat. I'm also not so sure how a salami slic approach would work. The owners probably would have figured something out as they start to see a players signing with the PCL. Maybe it would work for lower tier players. However if the PCL Los Angeles Angels a star like Don Drysdale to play near his hometown, the MLB would certainly be aware and try to find a way to stop. Also I'm not sure how the reserve clause worked back then. So could the just offer the PCL players higher salaries after they have already signed with PCL teams? I'm really not sure, but I think if the MLB owners felt threatened enough they would have found a way to stop them.

Ultimately it's the owner's call on where to move; neither the league Presidents nor the Commisioner has the authority to tell owners where or when to move (their power only extends to restricting permission).

I know that MLB can't force a team to move. What I was trying to say is that the owners would probably discuss and agree on the teams to move if they felt threatened. There were no other teams NL teams that were rumored to move. But team owners don't really have ties to the city, but instead to the team's profit. Maybe one owner would takes the chance on moving in hopes of getting a higher profit. I'm not sure what the attendence numbers were back then, but the Pirates were working on 9 losing season, the Cubs had 10 out of the last 11. Attendence may have been down during that time. But then again both the Giants and Dodgers were prominent, winning teams at the time of their moves.

Overall this is a very interesting subject. I don't know too much about the history of the game at this time. Mostly what I'm going by is what I've learned in my sports economics class. If there's a book on the PCL I may like to check it out.

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LOL! :D

I know that MLB can't force a team to move. What I was trying to say is that the owners would probably discuss and agree on the teams to move if they felt threatened. There were no other teams NL teams that were rumored to move. But team owners don't really have ties to the city, but instead to the team's profit.

I think you're in danger of applying a modern business model to the past.

From 1903-1953, franchise stability was the absolute name of the game. Some moves were discussed, but no teams actually went through with it, in part because it was presumed that they had ties to the city.

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Not to mention the Cubs televising their games on WGN, of course, which accounts for Cubs fans existing all over this great nation of ours. Sometimes, they're not white!

Gotta love how "a lot of Cubs fans live in the affluent parts of Greater Milwaukee" turns into "all Cubs fans are white."

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LOL! :D

I know that MLB can't force a team to move. What I was trying to say is that the owners would probably discuss and agree on the teams to move if they felt threatened. There were no other teams NL teams that were rumored to move. But team owners don't really have ties to the city, but instead to the team's profit.

I think you're in danger of applying a modern business model to the past.

From 1903-1953, franchise stability was the absolute name of the game. Some moves were discussed, but no teams actually went through with it, in part because it was presumed that they had ties to the city.

Not just the cities, but the neighborhoods the ballparks were in. Imagine the fits people would throw if the Cubs tried to leave Wrigleyville and apply that to EVERY team.

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I think you're in danger of applying a modern business model to the past.

From 1903-1953, franchise stability was the absolute name of the game. Some moves were discussed, but no teams actually went through with it, in part because it was presumed that they had ties to the city.

The business aspect wasn't so different from today. People always talk about how old players just played for the game in the past, unlike these money chasing players of today. Yet players from as early as the 1800s would jump and abandon contracts each week for whoever was paying them the most. Labor relations were very similar to today's.

Franchise stability was fairly common, but at the same time that didn't stop the Dodgers and Giants from moving. They were both (and still are) prominent franchises. We can talk about the fits people in Wrigleyville would throw, yet people in Brooklynn actually threw these fits (and rightfullly so). Some people are still angry about the move and its been just about 50 years.

Now I don't know who the owners were for some of these teams, so I can't say all teams were at risk. But wouldn't put it past any of them to try and move for a profit.

A bit off topic, but it would be so much better if the cities owned sports franchises (like the Green Bay Packers). Or have one guy own the entire league like that one guy wanted to do with the NHL (although I'd have to look more into that, but on paper it sounds good). Because you wouldn't have greedy owners attempting to make a profit over winning. Overall I think the product of the game would be better because teams would be more evenly match. Unfortunately it will never happen.

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The business aspect wasn't so different from today. People always talk about how old players just played for the game in the past, unlike these money chasing players of today. Yet players from as early as the 1800s would jump and abandon contracts each week for whoever was paying them the most. Labor relations were very similar to today's.

Except the players union didn't really ever challenge the reserve clause, so there weren't that many ways to jump teams. The players union was weaker back then; that's why salaries were low (not any "love of the game".)

Franchise stability was fairly common, but at the same time that didn't stop the Dodgers and Giants from moving. They were both (and still are) prominent franchises. We can talk about the fits people in Wrigleyville would throw, yet people in Brooklynn actually threw these fits (and rightfullly so). Some people are still angry about the move and its been just about 50 years.

If I recall correctly, both the Dodgers and the Giants were desirous of new ballparks. Those new ballparks existed on the West Coast, ultimately. After 1953, you see the franchises that had "lost" competing against their fellows in the opposite league shift markets for "greener" pastures. (Athletics, Braves, and Browns). (I think that it also helped to relieve some pressure on baseball to expand for a little bit as well).

Now I don't know who the owners were for some of these teams, so I can't say all teams were at risk. But wouldn't put it past any of them to try and move for a profit.

New ballpark=$cash/money.

A bit off topic, but it would be so much better if the cities owned sports franchises (like the Green Bay Packers). Or have one guy own the entire league like that one guy wanted to do with the NHL (although I'd have to look more into that, but on paper it sounds good). Because you wouldn't have greedy owners attempting to make a profit over winning. Overall I think the product of the game would be better because teams would be more evenly match. Unfortunately it will never happen.

I will tell you that the defunct Indoor Football League had a "one guy owns all (or most)" model. Said guy ended up selling out the the af2 after the second year, only two teams made the jump (Peoria and Lincoln). Most of the remaining markets ended up drifting to the NIFL. I'll also point out that when you have multi-team ownership by one guy, there is a distinct danger the owner will play favorites. In the case of the IFL, this extended to the owner rigging the officiating in the title game so his favorite team (Green Bay) won.

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For the record, Calvin Griffith was the nephew of Clark Griffith, not his son. For irony, Calvin Griffith, the man who moved baseball out of Washington in 1961 was born in Montreal.

The Hardball Times had an interesting alternate history where only the Browns move and MLB has 40 teams by 2010.

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I will tell you that the defunct Indoor Football League had a "one guy owns all (or most)" model. Said guy ended up selling out the the af2 after the second year, only two teams made the jump (Peoria and Lincoln). Most of the remaining markets ended up drifting to the NIFL. I'll also point out that when you have multi-team ownership by one guy, there is a distinct danger the owner will play favorites. In the case of the IFL, this extended to the owner rigging the officiating in the title game so his favorite team (Green Bay) won.

Yea, that was one of the problems with a one guy owns the whole league (I also brought up the example earlier with a book about the yankees using the kc a's as a farm team, which I found here ). For it to work you'd want a guy that views it strictly as a business. Someone who look to make the league proftiable, instead of just one team. I assume this would mean parity, but you could get a guy that would skew things toward his favorite team, or maybe rig the games.

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The Hardball Times had an interesting alternate history where only the Browns move and MLB has 40 teams by 2010.

It was interesting, but a little too much wishful thinking for my tastes.

Big/small market and competitive balance being pre-empted? No one would even start thinking about that until someone started abusing their large market priveleges.

I know it was a ficticious article, but Chicago Lakers? Montreal Nordiques? I doubt Montreal would've had any trouble using its traditional name (Royals) if Kansas City used Blues. And I think both teams could do better than lift from more established teams (don't even get me started on Atlanta and Anaheim). Speaking of Chicago...

NO F'N WAY does three teams work in Chicago.

-First of all, where would you put the ballpark? The Cubs already have the north side and the Sox have the south side. But as much as I'm sure Mayor Daley would love the excuse of a new team to drive more brown people out of their homes, I don't think most owners would see the West Side as a viable option.

-So let's assume there's a new ballpark in Evanston on the Northwestern Campus. Where's the new team's support gonna come from? Chicagoland's already split 65-35 in favor of the Cubs. And if no world series in 100 years is gonna lose Cubs fans, I don't see too many of them jettin' for the new team. And if the Sox have a hard time with a 35% share, how are the Sox or "Evanston" can survive on only half that many potential fans?

Newark might work, but it would have to cater to current Mets/Yankees fans in North & Central Jersey, and current Phillies fans in South Jersey. Basically, it'd have to be the 1st team in the Jersey market, not the 4th in the NYC market.

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NO F'N WAY does three teams work in Chicago.

-First of all, where would you put the ballpark? The Cubs already have the north side and the Sox have the south side. But as much as I'm sure Mayor Daley would love the excuse of a new team to drive more brown people out of their homes, I don't think most owners would see the West Side as a viable option.

Well, duh. The third team would go on the East Side. :P

Actually, the third team would not be a Chicago team. It would play in Springfield. And not just Springfield, Illinois. The team would travel between every Springfield in the country with a large enough population for "home" games. It would sort of be the national team. Because, hey, is that any less plausible than a 40-team big-league circuit?

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I'll also point out that when you have multi-team ownership by one guy, there is a distinct danger the owner will play favorites. In the case of the IFL, this extended to the owner rigging the officiating in the title game so his favorite team (Green Bay) won.

This is basically what drove the Baltimore Orioles out of the National League in the late 1890s. The Orioles won NL pennants in 1894, 1895 and 1896. Shortly thereafter, the Orioles and Brooklyn Superbas (still the nickname then, IIRC) came into the hands of the same owner (the name escapes me and I am doing this from memory). The owner ultimately transferred most of his best players to Brooklyn, decimating the Orioles. When the NL contracted from 12 teams to 8 in/about 1899, the dramatically weakened Orioles were shown the door.

As a footnote, a new Orioles team began play in the AL in 1901, but lasted only two years before moving to New York and finding success as the Highlanders/Yankees.

Perhaps an interesting "What if . . . " for another day would be what would have happened if the Orioles were never jointly owned with Brooklyn and/or if they had been one of the surviving eight NL teams.

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For the record, Calvin Griffith was the nephew of Clark Griffith, not his son. For irony, Calvin Griffith, the man who moved baseball out of Washington in 1961 was born in Montreal.

True, but Clark adopted his nephew after Calvin's father died. So he was both nephew and son.

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Newark might work, but it would have to cater to current Mets/Yankees fans in North & Central Jersey, and current Phillies fans in South Jersey. Basically, it'd have to be the 1st team in the Jersey market, not the 4th in the NYC market.

That's the thing. There is no "Jersey market".

New Jersey has been a conduit linking Philadelphia and New York City since the Revolutionary War. The quote by Ben Franklin about New Jersey being a barrel tapped at both ends was as true then as it is now.

Northward from Trenton is within NYC's sphere of influence, and south of Trenton is Philadelphia's. I live in South Jersey, and all of our TV stations (save the New Jersey Network) are out of Philadelphia. My wife grew up in North Jersey, and all of their stations are New York stations (WOR being in Seacaucus is still part of the NYC market.) New Jersey has a handful of its own radio stations, and Atlantic City has its own NBC affiliate... even though Philadelphia's NBC-10 comes in crystal clear over the air and through cable.

New Jersey doesn't need an MLB team - we've already got 3.

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