Baseball’s Heartland War, 1902–1903

The Western League and American Association Vie for Turf, Players and Profits


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About the Book

In late 1901, a number of baseball owners decided to break away from the Western League and form a new league called the American Association. This “outlaw league” refused to recognize organized baseball’s reserve clause, but vowed to respect contracts. Unfortunately, organized baseball did not reciprocate. Over the next two years, the leagues battled each other for players, fans, and financial superiority. This narrative of that struggle details the business operations of the different clubs, the difficulties of securing property for ball parks, and the problem of players jumping contracts. It also chronicles the two playing seasons during the conflict and describes the rowdy behavior of both players and umpires that characterized baseball at the time. Although the American Association would go on to a longer and more successful life, this study shows that outcome was by no means certain in the early 20th century.

About the Author(s)

Dennis Pajot is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and is active on the group’s Nineteenth Century and Deadball Era committees. He is a frequent contributor to The Inside Game, the Deadball Era’s newsletter. He was awarded the Sporting News–SABR Baseball Research Award in 2010 for The Rise of Milwaukee Baseball and lives in Milwaukee.

Bibliographic Details

Dennis Pajot
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 42 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6337-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8904-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Preface      1

1. The War Begins      3

2. Filling Rosters and Jumping Contracts      33

3. The 1902 Playing Seasons      57

4. Rowdyism and Umpiring in the Western League and American Association      89

5. League Peace but Battle Continues in Two Cities      108

6. American Association Interlude      131

7. The 1903 Seasons      144

8. The War Ends      177

Appendix A: American Association 1902 and 1903 Statistics      191

Appendix B: Western League 1902 and 1903 Statistics      197

Chapter Notes      201

Bibliography      209

Index      211