Turbow: Branch Rickey’s baseball revolution: Continental League

From Jason Turbow at The National Pastime Museum on June 27, 2016:

During the summer of 1959, there was no mistaking the lack of baseball in Upper Manhattan and Brooklyn. The Giants and Dodgers were playing in new homes in California and their departure left an echo ringing through New York City.

Mayor Robert Wagner was consumed by it. Determined to return a National League team to the city, he tapped a Brooklyn-based attorney named William Shea to spearhead the effort. Early results were not encouraging.

The first option—convincing another team to move to New York, just as New York’s teams had moved to California—was laden with issues. Relocation had been relatively common of late. Starting in 1953 the Braves moved from Boston to Milwaukee; the St. Louis Browns headed east for Baltimore; and the A’s traded Philadelphia for Kansas City. Each of the cities on the losing end of those deals, however, still had another ball club. Trying to move a team out of Cincinnati or Pittsburgh, or revisiting heartache in Philadelphia by snatching the only team the city had left, was simply not tenable. There was also the fact that Commissioner Ford Frick, wanting to increase stability, was disinclined to approve further movement.

The idea of league-wide expansion was also a nonstarter. Since 1900, the American and National Leagues had each featured eight teams, and few people saw reason to alter the formula, even for the country’s biggest city. (In guiding the departure of the Dodgers and Giants to the West Coast, National League President Warren Giles went so far as to say, “Who needs New York?”)

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/branch-rickey-s-baseball-revolution-continental-league

Originally published: June 28, 2016. Last Updated: June 28, 2016.