Now, deep into the 21st century, the Major League Baseball is the most important competition of this sport in the United States.
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Now, let’s go back to the 19th century. Here the baseball landscape was quite different. The MLB existed, but it wasn’t the only major entity in the United States at the time. A parallel baseball organization that competed directly with it was the American Association of Base Ball Clubs. Sometimes this entity was also referred to as the American Association or just AA.
The AA was founded in 1881 and was often seen as a rival to the more well-established National League (NL). This was an interesting moment in the history of baseball in the United States. This is because, in addition to the competitions between teams within the tournaments themselves, the competitions also had a huge rivalry of their own.
There were many reasons that led to the creation of the AA. Some of them include:
- the NL had some strict rules regarding the sport itself and elements that directly surround it;
- also, the NL didn’t allow games to be played on Sundays;
- and finally, they didn’t allow the sale of beer in baseball matches.
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This led to the league getting the nickname “Beer and Whiskey League.” This was more informal, but it was certainly something that fans loved.
Some facts about the competition
During its existence from 1882 to 1891, the AA boasted some impressive stats. It started with 6 teams in its inaugural year, but by 1885, the league expanded to 12 teams. Although, to be fair, not all teams managed to stick around for the long haul, with some folding or merging with other clubs.
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There was a lot of talent in the AA. Bid McPhee, known for his barehanded playing style (yes, they often played without gloves back then), was one of the league’s shining stars. The average batting average in the AA during its ten-year run hovered around .260. Here the highest team batting average was a whopping .294 by the St. Louis Browns in 1887.
The rivalry between the AA and the NL wasn’t just about beers and Sundays. The AA was pretty competitive on the field too. In fact, at the end of each season, the champions of the AA would often face off against the NL champs in a proto-World Series matchup. Over the 10 years of these showdowns, the AA clinched the title 4 times.
This shows that there was indeed some serious competition between both entities.
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However, not everything was sunshine and rainbows for the American Association. Financial strains and instability among some of its teams began to chip away at the league’s foundation. By the late 1880s, several AA teams had jumped ship to join the NL, and the writing was on the wall.
In 1891, the American Association played its last season. By 1892, 4 of the remaining AA teams were absorbed into the National League, essentially ending the rivalry.
Although the AA might seem like just a blip in baseball history, it played a crucial role in shaping the sport. Its willingness to challenge the established norms, cater to a broader audience, and compete fiercely on the field helped modernize the game.
And let’s not forget about the legendary players who graced the AA fields. There were many examples of players that were absolute legends and continue to inspire performers of the modern era. If you want to make wagers on modern baseball players, feel free to visit the 1xBet platform today.