These days you hear more and more people saying baseball is “slow” or “boring.” Real fans of America’s pastime know it’s anything but. There’s a reason the oldest team franchises in the country are all ballplayers. This sport has staying power, with a foundation that inspired every professional sport in the nation. Whether you’re watching a little league game in your neighborhood or Game 7 of a World Series, baseball bakes magic into its innings. Tell that to the next person who calls the game boring.
Everyone’s familiar with the MLB. And we mean everyone. Despite recent cries of sinking viewership, 8.24 million people watched the 2021 All-Star Game. Still, it may surprise you (or not, depending on your fan level) to know that the MLB has not always been the de-facto baseball league of this country.
Yes, before the memory of almost every living person, the Federal League popped up as a competitor to the National and American leagues. It was 1914. The National and American Leagues were decades old and well into the swing of things when John T. Powers and James A. Gilmore declared the Federal League an unaffiliated band of pro baseball. As a result, the Federal League was frequently referred to as “outlaw” baseball. Players could avoid the restrictions of reserve clauses on their contracts, and salaries skyrocketed to retain top athletes.
The Federal League only lasted a couple of years, folding after interference from the National and American Leagues, but its impact is still felt. First off, it gave us some great team names, like the Brooklyn Tip-Tops, the Buffalo Blues, the Kansas City Packers, and the St. Louis Terriers. Their logos are like time-stamped treasures, memories of a moment where baseball had a little less regulation. The Federal League is also responsible for Wrigley Field, now the home of the Cubs. Wrigley was originally built for the Federal League’s Chicago Whales. Can you imagine a time before the Cubs owned Wrigley? We know. Mind-boggling.
The sport has seen a few other leagues pop up here and there, especially in the minor league. In the ’90s, the Northeast League had teams like the Adirondack Lumberjacks playing the Yonkers Hoot Owls. Man, those were good team names.
No matter what league or what teams are playing, we’re always up for a game of ball. Check out our collection of vintage baseball t-shirts.