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The League Championship Campaign Of 1894

The struggle for the League's championship pennant in 1894 was the most
noteworthy one on record in one particular respect, and that was in the
exciting struggle by the three leaders of the first division for the
championship, which struggle began on June 20th with the Baltimores
first and Boston second, and was continued on that line until New York
became one of the trio on July 5th, after which date these three clubs
occupied the position of first three in the race to the finish, the
other nine clubs not being "in it" after July 5th. In all other respects
the race for the pennant of 1894 was far from being up to the standard
that should characterize the League's championship season, no less than
three of the minor league pennant races being more evenly contested than
was that of the great major league. From the following record of the
difference in percentage points each season between the leader and tail
ender it will be seen that in no less than seven of the seasons from
1881 to 1894, inclusive, were the pennant races of past seasons superior
in this respect to that of 1894, that of 1891 being the smallest in
difference of points on record.

Here is the record in question:

1881 277 1886 493 1890 499
1882 441 1887 333 1891 223
1883 570 1888 303 1892 367
1884 400 1889 328 1893 359
1885 442 1894 418

Judging by the percentage figures of the twelve clubs, recorded at the
end of each month's campaign of the season, the race was a one-sided one
almost from the start, the Baltimore and Boston clubs being in the
leading positions from the very outset of the race, the remaining ten
clubs fighting for third place from April 19th to June 20th, when New
York took the lead of the other nine, joining Baltimore and Boston in
the struggle for the leading position.

A League pennant race--or that of a minor league, for that matter--to be
up to the regulation standard, should at least show a difference in
percentage figures varying, on the average, not far from 250 points; a
model race, in these figures, not exceeding 200 points. But this
standard has not been reached in League records for fifteen years, the
best being over 223 points. Then, too, comes the record of the occupancy
of the several positions of the two divisions, this, to a certain
extent, showing the character of the pennant race of the season. In this
regard, an evenly contested race should show a weekly change of position
in each division, for one thing, and also a change from first division
to second division at least once a month. A model race should see the
first three positions changed weekly, the first six places at least
fortnightly, and the tail end positions once a month at farthest. But
what does the figures of the pennant race of the League for 1894 show?
Let us glance at the; records of the occupancy of the first and second
divisions in last year's pennant race. From the 22d of April to the
close of the season, the Baltimore and Boston clubs were never out of
the ranks of the first division clubs; nor were the Chicago, Washington
and Louisville clubs ever out of those of the second division. This
alone was a one-sided condition of affairs in the race. From May 1st to
July 17th the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh clubs occupied positions in
the first division, and the Cleveland club was in the first division
from April 22d to June 27th and from July 17th to the finish, while New
York was in the same division from June 29th to the close and Brooklyn
from August 27th to the end of the season. On the other hand, Chicago,
St. Louis and Cincinnati, together with Washington and Louisville, were
practically out of the race from May to September.

The April campaign finished with St. Louis, Cleveland and Boston tied
for first place in the race, with Philadelphia, Baltimore and Cincinnati
following. Boston and Baltimore's occupancy of fourth and fifth places
being the lowest each occupied during the entire season's campaign,
while Cincinnati's position, tied for that of first in the race on April
20th, was the highest that club reached from April 19th to September
30th; St. Louis, as tied for first place, together with Louisville on
April 20th, was the highest these three clubs reached. Baltimore was
the first to reach the leading place in the race, that club being first,
with the percentage figures of 1.000, on April 24th; St. Louis occupying
the lead on April 28th; Cleveland on May 2d, that club occupying the
leading place from that date to May 28th, when Pittsburgh jumped into
first place for a short time. Boston occupied the lead for the first
time on April 26th. The nearest New York got to the leading position was
on April 19th, when the club was tied for first place with Boston,
St. Louis and Washington. The highest position the "Phillies" reached in
the pennant campaign was second place, which they occupied on May
23d. Brooklyn's highest position was reached on June 22d, when that club
occupied third place. Chicago's highest was eighth place, and the only
clubs which stood in the last ditch were Chicago, up to May 10th;
Washington, from May to August 15th, and afterwards Louisville up to the
finish of the season.

For the first time in the annals of the League, but one western club
occupied a position in the first division as early in the season as July
2d, when the Pittsburgh club stood fourth in the race, following
Baltimore, Boston and Brooklyn, being followed by Philadelphia and New
York, Cleveland at that date being in the second division. On July 17th
Cleveland replaced Brooklyn in the first division, and remained there to
the finish of the race. Pittsburgh was driven into the ranks of the
second division on August 21st, and failed to get back again. Baltimore
had the pennant virtually in hand in August, and New York drove Boston
out of the second place on September 6th, the percentage figures of the
three leaders on that day showing Baltimore to be in the van with .676,
New York .652, and Boston .646; with the "Phillies" fourth, the
Brooklyns fifth and the Clevelands sixth, these relative positions not
afterwards being changed. Neither were those of the clubs in the second
division at that date, except in the case of the Cincinnati and
St. Louis clubs, the team under the Boss Manager, Chris Von der Ahe
beating the Brush-Comiskey combination team of Cincinnati out the very
last day of the race, greatly to the disgust of the Cincinnati cranks.

A great disappointment to the Louisville cranks, whose pet club started
the season with a picked team of star players, containing three
ex-captains of League teams, in Pfeffer, D. Richardson and Tom
Brown--was the sad falling off of that club from the position of being
tied for first place with Baltimore and Boston in April, to a permanent
place in the last ditch in August, a result which relieved Manager
Schmelz considerably, as up to August 22nd Washington had occupied the
tail end position in the race from July 9th to August 23d. Similar bad
management of a club team had retired Pittsburgh from second position,
on June 8th, to seventh place, on July 2d, and it was only through a
wise change of managers that the club was able to retain the lead in the
second division to the end of the campaign.

An incident of the campaign of 1894 was the disastrous start in the race
made by the Chicago club, which occupied the tail end position in the
race at the close of the April campaign and remained in the last ditch
up to May 11th, after which the club gradually passed the Washington,
Louisville, Cincinnati and St, Louis teams, finally occupying eighth
position the last of September. The pennant race of 1894, as a whole,
was a decided failure as far as an evenly contested race was concerned,
the only exception in the way of an exciting struggle for the lead being
that between the three leaders from July 5th to September 30th, this
being the one redeeming feature of the League championship campaign of

Next: The Contests For The Pennant In 1894

Previous: The Base Ball Season Of 1894

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