Academic journal article Nine

The Federal League of Base Ball Clubs: The History of an Outlaw Major League

Academic journal article Nine

The Federal League of Base Ball Clubs: The History of an Outlaw Major League

Article excerpt

Robert Peyton Wiggins. The Federal League of Base Ball Clubs: The History of an Outlaw Major League, 1914-1915. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2009. 362 pp. Cloth, $49.95

When the newly proposed United Football League was presented for public scrutiny in 2009, its innovative features (e.g., Thursday and Friday night games) and propensity to go head-to-head with the firmly established National Football League raised many eyebrows. And yet, almost one hundred years earlier the upstart Federal League of Base Ball Clubs set many precedents for the outlaw leagues in professional sports that followed. Wiggins's detailed account of the Federal League (1914-15) chronicles the history of this ill-fated venture for baseball fans of today.

Effectively combining colorful descriptions of club owners, front office personnel, coaches, and players, along with selected game summaries, Wiggins presents an eminently readable history of a failed enterprise. In his account of the creation and eventual demise of an organization that brought both immediate and long-term changes to Organized Baseball--changes still being felt almost one hundred years later--Wiggins has provided a working model for those who would take on an established major league. These portraits of wealthy men and their desire to become baseball magnates foreshadow current owners of sports franchises driven by the profit motive and psychological needs to be recognized and even admired by sports fans. …

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