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American Association (19th century)

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The American Association (AA) was a baseball major league from 1882 to 1891.

The "AA" offered cheaper ticket prices and more liberal libations to its patrons, and became known as "The Beer and Whiskey League", especially by supporters of the National League, in reference to the fact that many of its biggest backers were breweries and distilleries. This nickname is ironic in view of the fact that "AA" is now most commonly used to mean Alcoholics Anonymous.

Together with the National League, the American Association participated in an early version of the World Series seven times during their ten-year coexistence.

The National League won most of those encounters, while some ended in ties due to disputes or other issues. The only victory for the American Association came in 1886 when the St. Louis Browns (now Cardinals) defeated the Chicago White Stockings (now Cubs).

Over that decade, the AA was weakened by several factors. One was the tendency of some of its teams to jump to the NL. The consistently stronger NL also put it in better position to survive adverse conditions. The most significant blow to the AA was dealt by the Players' League, a third major league in 1890, which siphoned off talent and gate receipts.

In a unique historical oddity, Brooklyn represented the AA in the 1889 World's Series, switched leagues in the off-season, and represented the NL in 1890. Brooklyn lost the 1889 Series, and the 1890 Series ended in a 3-3-1 draw, left unresolved due to growing animosity between the leagues.

The living legacy of the old Association is the teams that came over to the National League to stay, the teams now known as the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals.

Pennant winners of the AAEdit

American Association franchisesEdit

TimelineEdit

  • 1887-Pittsburgh Alleghenys leave AA to join NL
  • 1889-Cleveland Spiders leave AA to join NL
  • 1890-Cincinnati Red Stockings and Brooklyn Bridegrooms leave AA to join NL
  • 1892-Baltimore Orioles, Louisville Colonels, St.Louis Browns, and Washington Senators join National League after the folding of the AA

AA presidentsEdit

  • H.D. McKnight 1882-1885
  • Wheeler C. Wyckoff 1886-1889
  • Zach Phelps 1890
  • Louis Kramer 1891
  • Ed Renau 1891
  • Zach Phelps 1891

ReferencesEdit

  • Nemec, David (2004). The Beer and Whisky League : The Illustrated History of the American Association—Baseball's Renegade Major League. Guilford: The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-59228-188-5.
  • Pietrusza, David (1991). The Formation, Sometimes Absorption and Mostly Inevitable Demise of 18 Professional Baseball Organizations, 1871 to Present. Jefferson (NC): McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-89950-590-2.

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