‘Seattle’ Bill James and the 1912 Giants

From SABR member David Eskenazi at Sportspress Northwest on June 21:

On April 16, 1912, one day after the unsinkable Titanic sank to the bottom of the Atlantic, 20-year old pitching prodigy Bill James made his professional debut with the Seattle Giants, the city’s entry in the Class B Northwestern League. … Less than a month later, with James emerging as a hot prospect, the pitching-poor Boston Braves of the National League proposed to pay [owner Dan] Dugdale $7,500 for James and catcher Bert Whaling, the most ever offered by a Major League team for a minor league battery.


Dugdale had no option other than to sell his blossoming star. Under rules of the day, if a major league team and a minor league club could not come to an agreement on the sale price for a player, the major league team could “draft” the player (end of season) and only owe the minor league team $750. This made it virtually impossible for a minor league club to keep a promising prospect for any length of time.

That James would not report to the Braves until 1913 became the most important factor in one of the more improbable pennant races in Pacific Northwest baseball history — one, in fact, that bears a striking similarity to another that occurred 83 years later, in the summer of 1995.

Read the full article here: http://sportspressnw.com/2011/06/wayback-machine-seattle-bill-james-and-the-1912-giants/

Originally published: June 23, 2011. Last Updated: June 23, 2011.