The Middle Atlantic League, 1925–1952

A Baseball History


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About the Book

The small and midsized cities of western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia reached their peaks of population and prosperity in the second quarter of the 20th century. The baseball teams from these towns formed the Middle Atlantic League, the strongest circuit in the low minors and the one with the most alumni to advance to the majors.
This thorough history chronicles the MAL through three distinct phases from its 1925 inaugural season to its dissolution in 1952. During the first several seasons, most clubs hung one step from financial disaster despite support from local communities. Then the league flourished during the Great Depression as president Elmer Daily magically found investors and night baseball boosted working class attendance. Now enjoying a modicum of financial stability and an infusion of young talent, the clubs became talent farms for major league teams. Both the league and its cities went into decline as the country underwent seismic cultural and economic shifts following World War II.

About the Author(s)

William E. Akin is a professor emeritus of history from Ursinus College. His articles have appeared in The Historian, American Quarterly and American Historical Review. He lives in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

William E. Akin
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, 5 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9766-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1934-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1. Ghosts, Cokers, Black Diamonds, Milltown Yanks and Stogies: Survival Years, 1925–1929 5

2. Expanding in the Depression Years: The “Mad-Atlantic League,” 1930–1933 43

3. A Minor League with Its Own Minor League: Pennsylvania State Association, 1934–1942 83

4. “Happy Days Are Here Again”: Glory Years, 1934–1939 108

5. “We intend to keep things going”: War Years, 1940–1945 147

6. “The muddle gets muddier”: Postwar Years, 1946–1952 172

Chapter Notes 201

Bibliography 210

Index 213

Book Reviews & Awards

“Akin has produced the most thorough study on the Mid-Atlantic League and set a standard for future examinations for other, mostly forgotten lower minor leagues”—Journal of Sport History; “Emerging from the coal fields and mill towns of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the Middle Atlantic League waged a spirited 27-year battle for survival in baseball’s low minors. At its peak, the MAL ran a minor league of its own and encompassed cities with a total population of more than 1 million. Akin presents a lively and enlightening history, replete with resourceful executives, the (possibly) first female baseball columnist and cameo appearances by notable figures from Chief Bender to Joe Medwick to Whitey Ford and MAL home run king Walter Alston.”—Mike Lackey, Larry Ritter Award-winning author of Spitballing: The Baseball Days of Long Bob Ewing.