Stephenson: When East was West: the great divisional debate of 1968

From Creg Stephenson at The Hardball Times on July 11, 2019:

Ever wonder why the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds were members of the National League West Division from 1969 to ’93, while the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals were in the East? A cursory glance at a map would tell you Atlanta and Cincinnati are far to the east of Chicago and St. Louis, with the former two cities in the Eastern time zone and the latter two on Central time. And it’s not as if baseball owners and league executives didn’t know this.

However, if we know anything about baseball decision-makers, it’s that they rarely do the most sensible or logical thing. Flouting geography when it came to alignment at the birth of divisional play 50 years ago certainly fits in with that line of thinking.

But how did it happen exactly? As with much of baseball melodrama in that era, it started with Charles O. Finley.

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Originally published: July 12, 2019. Last Updated: July 12, 2019.