Today is the anniversary of several events important in the history of baseball not just as a game but as an expression of capitalism, of labor relations.


1914 Major league baseball returns to Baltimore as the first Federal League game is played with approximately 27,000 patrons on hand to watch the Terrapins beat the Buffalo Blues, 3-2.

The Federal League was an attempt not just by owners to create a third major league to compete with the National and American Leagues, but by players to destroy the Reserve Clause and be able to negotiate fair wages for their labor. This league failed after two seasons, and for decades the myth of baseball as a game, not a business, flourished, as players loyally played for one team their whole careers: because they had no choice (unlike Ann Romney). I am wearing at this very moment a Chicago Whales groundskeepers' jacket (from the very cool Ebbets Field Flannels); the Whales were the Chicago entry in the FL (and 1915 League champs!), and Whales owner Charles Weeghman built the park that would become Wrigley Field.

Second, in 1972, the first MLB players' strike ended. The players got owners to not only kick more cash into pensions, they got the right to arbitration, which actually helped fuel spiraling salaries far more than free agency (the owners insisted that arbiters had to choose between the player's request and the team's offer; they could not split the difference).

Finally, the movement of MLB franchises out of the east coast and towards first the midwest, then the west coast and the south began on this date when in

1953 On Opening Day, thanks to the three-hit pitching of Max Surkont, the former Boston Braves win their first game representing the city of Milwaukee by beating the Reds, 2-0 at Crosley Field. It is the first time in since Baltimore shifted to New York to become the Highlanders (Yankees) fifty years ago that a franchise has moved to a different city.

Such movements were based on money following fans, and attempts to maintain MLB's monopoly (the Pacific Coast League was thiiiiiis close to being a Major League before the Dodgers and Giants moved in. . . ).

And in purely PNW local interest:

1990 The first sellout in Mariners history occurs when 54,874 fans attend the season home opener at the Kingdome. The Friday the 13th crowd leaves disappointed when Seattle is routed by Oakland, 15-7.

Enjoy. Will try to keep up the daily baseball lessons as long as I have time, energy, and internet access. Meanwhile, anyone know what Milton Bradley is up to?