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January 18, 1996: Baseball Owners Approve Interleague Play

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    January 18, 1996: Baseball Owners Approve Interleague Play

    MLB owners approve interleague play
    https://www.history.com/this-day-in-...-approval-1996
    Excerpts from the history.com article:


    "On January 18, 1996, Major League Baseball owners unanimously approve interleague play for the 1997 season. The owners' vote, which called for each team to play 15 or 16 interleague games, breaks a 126-year tradition of teams only playing games within their league during the regular season."

    "On June 12, 1997, the San Francisco Giants beat the Texas Rangers, 4-3, in the first interleague game."
    ================================================================

    BASEBALL'S OWNERS HIT A HOMER BY APPROVING INTERLEAGUE PLAY
    https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news...915-story.html
    Excerpt from the orlandosentinel.com article:


    "Public apathy still runs deep in this sport, and owners simply are trying to woo some of those fans back into empty seats and boost sagging television ratings."
    ================================================================
    ================================================================

    1903 Winter Meetings: Married Life Begins For American, National Leagues
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/190...d-life-begins/
    Excerpt from the sabr.org article:


    "The Washington Post...advocated for the season to begin in mid-May and run through mid-September, and even came out in favor of limited interleague play..."
    ================================================================

    1904 Winter Meetings: Power Play
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/190...gs-power-play/
    Excerpt from the sabr.org article:


    "The magnates unanimously opposed Garry Hermann’s proposal for a round-robin series involving all clubs of both leagues, an early suggestion of interleague play."
    ================================================================

    1910 Winter Meetings: Ho-Hum Affairs
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/191...o-hum-affairs/
    Excerpt from the sabr.org article:


    "Garry Herrmann, the Cincinnati magnate, put forth a 112-game season plan, with postseason interleague play, but his scheme was not taken seriously."
    ================================================================

    1912 Winter Meetings: Discussing Interleague Play and the Slow Pace of the Game
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/191...e-of-the-game/
    Excerpts from the sabr.org article:


    "In other AL matters, Ban Johnson was asked his opinion of an idea floated by Gary Herrmann of having a 64-game interleague series. Johnson said there was no chance of Herrmann’s “scheme” being adopted in 1913, and his interviewer inferred that the AL president did not want to see the plan ever implemented."
    ================================================================

    1920 Winter Meetings: The Year that Rocked Baseball and Changed it Forever
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/1920-winter-meetings/
    Excerpt from the sabr.org article:


    "At the same time, there was also a rumor that the owners were considering ending the season on August 15 and then shifting to interleague play. After being bantered about numerous times over the years, interleague play eventually became a reality in 1997."
    ================================================================

    1956 Winter Meetings: A Love-Fest
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/195...s-a-love-fest/
    Excerpts from the sabr.org article:


    "Rejected, for the second time in four years, Cleveland general manager Hank Greenberg’s proposal for interleague play. Greenberg’s proposal was strongly resisted by his own American League."

    "Greenberg’s plan called for each team to play four games against every team in the opposite league, with the contests to count in the regular 154-game schedule." FROM: "J.G. Taylor Spink, Baseball Guide and Record Book 1957 (St. Louis: Charles C. Spink & Son, 1957), 110."
    ================================================================

    1960 Winter Meetings: The Missouri Compromise
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/196...ri-compromise/
    Excerpts from the sabr.org article:


    "Later that day, American League leaders and Cronin did another about-face. They would attempt to operate in 1961 with nine teams: Washington in the American League and either New York or Houston in the National League, and there would be interleague play, if the National League would also expand to nine teams and begin play in 1961. O’Malley was favorably inclined, but the other National League owners were opposed, preferring an “orderly solution.”

    "The logjam began to disintegrate in New York on November 30, when Frick met with Cronin, Giles, Carroll, and American League attorney Ben Fiery. The resulting settlement eliminated the nine-club idea, rejected interleague play and made possible the American League’s entry into Los Angeles in 1961."
    ================================================================

    1969 Winter Meetings: Reorganization Talk
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/196...nization-talk/
    Excerpt from the sabr.org article:


    "Feeney was opposed to interleague play (something the American League and Kuhn wanted)..."
    ================================================================

    1976 Winter Meetings: Changing Demographics and Broadcast Challenges
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/197...st-challenges/
    Excerpt from the sabr.org article:


    "In addition, the NL agreed “in principle” to allow any of its 12 members teams to relocate to D.C., and to approve the application of any AL team to relocate to Washington and become a member of the NL. Of course, the latter would create two 13-team leagues, thus raising the distinct probability of interleague play."
    ================================================================

    1978 Winter Meetings: Figuring Out Free Agency
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/197...t-free-agency/
    Excerpt from the sabr.org article:


    "Accordingly, earlier in the year they had created a committee to explore realignment, with an understanding that the emphasis would be on divisional realignment (not interleague play) as a way to promote additional pennant-race excitement and playoff games."
    ================================================================

    1992 Winter Meetings: The Circus Comes To Town
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/the...comes-to-town/
    Excerpt from the sabr.org article:


    "For example, owners reviewed data compiled by market researchers to consider league realignment (which would occur in 1994) and interleague play (which would begin in 1997)."
    ================================================================

    1995 Winter Meetings: Interleague Play: Innovation or Abomination?
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/the...r-abomination/
    Excerpts from the sabr.org article:


    "While the free-agent signings, trades, Rule 5 draft, and awards occur every year at the Winter Meetings, the 1995 meeting season proved to be unique and historic because, at the January owners’ meeting in Los Angeles, the executive committee recommended a fundamental change to major-league baseball and its scheduling. The committee approved a proposal for interleague play to begin with the 1997 season."

    "Standing in the way of full implementation, however, was one little thing — the lack of a basic agreement between the owners and players. This was the problem that caused the cancellation of the end of the 1994 regular season and the postseason, and also shortened the 1995 season. However, Donald Fehr, executive director of the players union, was not opposed to the idea. The designated-hitter rule was also seen as a possible obstacle to interleague play, although it had not been a problem in the World Series."
    ================================================================

    Interleague Attendance Boost Mostly a Mirage
    https://sabr.org/journal/article/int...stly-a-mirage/
    Excerpts from the sabr.org article:


    "Over the past 10 years, interleague play has become one of the rites of summer for baseball fans. Interleague play arrives with a lot of fanfare, as so-called “natural rivals” square off while new teams from the other league come to town for the first or second time, theoretically creating a set of unusual and attractive matchups that get the fans excited and boost attendance."

    "Interleague play is also typically one of the accomplishments cited as part of MLB’s PR campaign to persuade people that the sport hascome all the way back from the devastating strike of the mid-1990s. Along with the Division Series and the wild card, interleague play is given credit by many pundits for reviving interest in the national pastime and pumping up attendance."

    "A July 3, 2006, press release published on MLB.com boasted that the 252 interleague games in 2006 set records for total fans (8,592,482) as well as average attendance (34,097). It added that interleague play had boosted attendance 13.2% from 1997 to 2006. On the surface, that seems an impressive endorsement of what was viewed as a radical policy back in the 1990s."

    "These numbers are very misleading, however, mostly because they fail to account for two scheduling factors that pump up interleague attendance and make interleague/intraleague comparison artificially positive. A closer look at this sunny spin on interleague play tells a different story."

    "While it provides some tangible benefit, interleague play’s effect on attendance is mostly a mirage. When one considers that interleague schedules are engineered to be as attractive as possible, more than half of the apparent attendance gain that MLB boasts melts away. When one considers the double scheduling of “natural rivals” and the rotation of divisions in interleague play, the average five percent advantage realized since 1998 is extremely modest."
    "The Yankee is one who, if he once gets his teeth set on a thing, all creation can't make him let go." Ralph Waldo Emerson

    #2
    A stupid day in Baseball history.
    Sometimes I feel like my sell by date expired yesterday.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by JDPNYY View Post
      A stupid day in Baseball history.
      I agree. I enjoyed baseball a lot more prior to interleague play.
      "The Yankee is one who, if he once gets his teeth set on a thing, all creation can't make him let go." Ralph Waldo Emerson

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Tock Ada Shot View Post

        I agree. I enjoyed baseball a lot more prior to interleague play.
        Same here. By the way, that first season of interleague play might have cost the Yankees winning the Eastern Division. Yankees had a terrible record in those games that season while the Orioles had a very good record.

        Comment


          #5
          It was briefly an entertaining gimmick but that ship has sailed long ago.
          You wanna know what? You gotta problem with Luis Cessa, you gotta problem with me. And I suggest you let that one marinate

          Comment


            #6
            Perhaps the first shot fired by Bud Selig in his ultimately successful campaign to destroy the separate identities of the two leagues.
            I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "sit down" I stood up.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by HelloNewman View Post
              Perhaps the first shot fired by Bud Selig in his ultimately successful campaign to destroy the separate identities of the two leagues.
              Yep. Well said. The World Series intrigue was gone.
              "The Yankee is one who, if he once gets his teeth set on a thing, all creation can't make him let go." Ralph Waldo Emerson

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by fredgmuggs View Post
                It was briefly an entertaining gimmick but that ship has sailed long ago.
                Except in the few rivalry cities where those owners can jack up the prices for those games.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by HelloNewman View Post
                  Perhaps the first shot fired by Bud Selig in his ultimately successful campaign to destroy the separate identities of the two leagues.
                  Which year did they end seperate umpires for each league? That might have been the first shot.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by ymike673 View Post

                    Which year did they end seperate umpires for each league? That might have been the first shot.

                    Doin' a quick search I ran across the following:
                    ------------------------------------------------

                    Umpire (baseball)
                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umpire_%28baseball%29
                    Excerpt from the wikipedia.org article:


                    "In 2000, the American League and National League umpiring staffs were merged into a unified staff under the auspices of Major League Baseball..."
                    =====================================================================

                    From "Quora":
                    https://www.quora.com/In-the-MLB-fro...m-then?share=1


                    Question:
                    "In the MLB, from 1997-1999, there was interleague play, but the last leagues were still separate. Which league were the umpires from then?"
                    Answer:
                    "Same Official Baseball Rules (OBR) for both AL and NL, with the NL simply not adopting the DH rule as the AL did. Also, there are only MLB umpires, no separate AL/NL staffs as of 2000 when the staffs merged."
                    "To the root of your question though, I believe from 1997-99 before the staffs merged the umpires were assigned by the home team's league during interleague play."
                    =====================================================================

                    History of Umpiring
                    http://www.stevetheump.com/umpiring_history.htm
                    Excerpt from the stevetheump.com article:


                    "When Bill Valentine and Al Salerno were dismissed in 1968, allegedly for incompetence but patently for unionizing activities, an appeal to the National Labor Relations Board resulted in umpires in both leagues being organized into the Major League Umpires Association. A one-day strike of the first game of the championship playoffs on October 3, 1970, the first by umpires in major league history, prompted the league presidents to recognize the Association and negotiate a labor contract that set a minimum salary of $11,000 and raised the average salary to $21,000."

                    ------------------------------------------------

                    BTW...here's the full story of Bill Valentine and Al Salerno being fired:

                    A Tale of Two Umpires: When Al Salerno and Bill Valentine Got Thrown Out of the Game
                    https://sabr.org/journal/article/a-t...t-of-the-game/
                    Excerpts from the sabr.org article:


                    "On September 15, the four umpires concluded a routine series in Cleveland. The next morning Salerno was awakened in his hotel room by a phone call from American League president Joe Cronin. Salerno was hoping for this call, anticipating the news that he would work the upcoming World Series. Instead, Cronin told him he was fired, effective immediately. Stunned, Salerno went to find Valentine, who was just hanging up the phone. He too had been fired. Both men were told they were being let go because they could not do their jobs. “They’re just bad umpires, that’s all,” Cronin told the press."

                    "Cronin had never fired an umpire before, and he would never again. His reason for firing these two was unequivocal: They were incompetent."

                    "Salerno and Valentine told a different story. As it happened, the two men were leading an effort to organize the AL umpires. Their National League counterparts had formed a union in 1963, and on September 12 — just four days before their dismissals — Salerno had attended a meeting in Chicago with a few NL umpires and the union’s lawyer. The umpires had told Salerno that the AL could join their union if all twenty umpires agreed. The next day Salerno and Valentine had sent notes to the five AL crew chiefs about the meeting. Three days later, both men were fired."

                    "When asked about this unusual coincidence, Joe Cronin expressed surprise — he had “no knowledge” of any desire by the umpires to organize, insisting that the two umps were “never first class at any one time.” Suffice it to say that no one believed Cronin’s claim of incompetence. “To Cronin’s credit,” wrote Shirley Povich(1), “this was not a snap judgment. In Salerno’s case it took the AL President seven years to arrive at it; in Valentine’s case, six years.” Sounding the same theme, Red Smith(2) wrote that Cronin “has to be one of the least perceptive or most indulgent employers this side of Utopia.” But most writers were more direct. “Cronin draws his ideas from the philosophy of William McKinley,” wrote Bob August in the Cleveland News. “Today he looks foolish, a baseball dinosaur lumbering through the 1960’s. He made a mistake and it was a beaut.”

                    ------------------------------------------------

                    1 Shirley Povich;
                    https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/shirley-povich/
                    "Shirley Povich, who wrote about baseball with a great knowledge of the game and with the prose of a wordsmith, crafted many a column with unforgettable insight and sharply pointed prose."

                    2 Red Smith;
                    https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/walter-red-smith/
                    "Red Smith, a small, shy man with a commonplace name, was an uncommonly stylish writer. Amid the purple bombast of the sports pages, “he was the first who gave us a license to really write English,” a colleague, Jerry Izenberg, said."
                    "The Yankee is one who, if he once gets his teeth set on a thing, all creation can't make him let go." Ralph Waldo Emerson

                    Comment

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