Glew: Canada’s first major-league champions, the Tecumsehs

From SABR member Kevin Glew at Cooperstowners in Canada on February 10, 2015, on SABR member Brian “Chip” Martin:

When the Toronto Blue Jays clinched their first World Series title on October 24, 1992, Canadians rejoiced.

Tens of thousands spilled on to Yonge Street in Toronto where they hugged each other and broke into joyous renditions of the national anthem. Similar celebrations erupted in cities and towns across the country. The revelry was understandable given that the Blue Jays were the first Canadian squad to win a major league baseball championship.

Or were they?

Brian “Chip” Martin makes a convincing case in his engrossing and meticulously researched, new book, The Tecumsehs of the International Association: Canada’s First Major League Baseball Champions, that our country’s first big league champs actually hailed from London, Ont., 115 years earlier.

Armed with the same tenacity and crackerjack research skills that made his 2013 page-turner, Baseball’s Creation Myth: Adam Ford, Abner Graves and the Cooperstown Story, one of the best and most important Canadian baseball books ever written, Martin delved into the archives in several towns and cities – including London, St. Marys, Pittsburgh, Cooperstown, Guelph, Petrolia and Wyoming – to complete his excellent, new book.

The author contends that when the London Tecumsehs won the International Association (IA) pennant in 1877 that it should be regarded as a major league title. Unfortunately, historians have relegated the IA to minor league status, despite the fact, as Martin notes, that it was once the National League’s main rival and supplied a blueprint for future professional circuits like the American Asssociation (1882 to 1891), Union Association (1884) and Players’ League (1890) – all of which are recognized as major leagues by historians.

To support his case, Martin, one of our country’s top investigative reporters (formerly with the London Free Press), describes in vivid and fascinating detail the construction of the IA and the Tecumsehs squad, and he shares that IA teams fared very well in exhibition contests against their supposedly superior National League (NL) rivals.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: March 2, 2015. Last Updated: March 2, 2015.