Visit Website Regardless, African Americans continued to play and even thrive at various levels of professional baseball. Incatcher Moses Fleetwood Walker of the Toledo Blue Stockings became the first African American to play in what was then considered a major league. However, Walker and fellow African Americans often faced outright hostility and physical intimidation from both teammates and opponents. In one case, 19th-century superstar Cap Anson of the Chicago White Stockings threatened to cancel a game with Toledo if Walker was in the lineup.
It was an amateur competition little known outside of participating baseball families and genuine baseball devotees.
The Claxton Shield was a very high quality annual competition contested by teams selected to represent the major States of Australia. The games were usually played in the form of a compressed "carnival" over little more than a week where teams would battle for the right to play-off in a Grand Final, while the ultimate winners were to become holders of the prestigious Claxton Shield.
Underpinning the Claxton Shield competition were the local baseball leagues in various major cities around Australia, from which the Claxton Shield teams were chosen. There was quite a deal of interest from around Australia proposing nominations for clubs to join the new national competition, before finally eight teams were confirmed to pioneer Australian major league baseball.
The Rules and The Competition The Australian Baseball League was a serious baseball league much like any other, with clubs playing a number of home and away series against each other, all aiming to qualify for the post season playoffs. The number of regular season games played per season ranged from 42 to 62, partly dictated by the number of competing teams that varied from six to nine throughout the decade.
In the belief that higher scoring would appeal to Australian tastes, the ABL decided it would be a "designated hitter league".
Local players were allowed to use aluminium bats, while any player with a current professional contract in the USA would use a wooden bat. There were limits placed on the number of "import players" allowed to perform for each ABL club, but these limits varied often throughout the ABL decade.
This not only enabled the game to flow more quickly without waiting for catchers to restore their protective equipment after batting, but also produced some more entertaining action on the basepaths.
For the first few seasons, the ABL needed to adopt some rules relating to incomplete games because lighting curfews were a problem at some venues. However, after a few years of experiment, these rules were abandoned and the game reverted to traditional baseball rules.
Over the years, the league tried several different programming strategies aimed to increase fan support, scheduling a combination of nine innings single game days, with seven innings double-headers. In the end, travelling requirements and costs often determined the nature of the fixtures. It is fair to say that the ABL was never quite satisfied that they had found the optimum fixturing formula.
The playoff format also changed over the decade. For the first three years, only the top two teams contested a best-of-five Championship Series. In it was decided that the top four teams would contest best-of-three Semi-Finals on a 1v4 and 2v3 basis, with the winners contesting a best-of-three Championship Series.
Under these formats, the higher placed team was rewarded by staging the series at their home venue. It was hoped that the fixed venue would generate substantial interest in the host city and reduce travelling costs for the competing teams, but this concept was never substantiated by results.
Ina playoff round-robin series was conducted at Altona in Melbourne with the top two teams emerging to play a best-of-three Championship Series.
Like any high quality professional sport, ABL competition was always very serious and occasionally fierce. Individual players carried over the spirit of competition from the Claxton Shield days and the opponent clubs also developed some intense rivalries.
Like most good rivalry stories, this battle was fuelled when several players transferred from one club to the other over the decade. However, as time elapsed, the clubs inevitably moved towards private ownership as State Associations found it tough to justify often substantial financial losses.
Sad but true that, during the ten year span of the ABL, few clubs could claim to have been truly profitable on a regular basis. While a number of different owners continued to fund teams out of devotion to their clubs and the sport of baseball, it became increasingly apparent that our national baseball league teams simply could not pay for themselves.
The loyal fan base was too small to raise sufficient gate revenues, while the sponsorship market was extremely tough for a small sporting fish in a very large pond!
Of course, on top of this we had the usual high travelling costs for teams to move around the vast continent of Australia, while other costs such as stadium accommodation, lighting and player payments were always on the increase.
While most clubs did their best to manage themselves professionally, it would be true to say that much of the work was done by people who devoted most of their time for little payment.
In general, the people involved were devoted "baseball people" often with family links to players and each with a passion to make their club succeed The front-offices of ABL clubs were generally operated by very dedicated and tireless people who worked very long hours for little reward.
Making their jobs more difficult was the universal lack of money for operating budgets and a drastic shortage of support staff. This was a sad fact of life for the Operations Managers throughout the league, but most still managed to do a sterling job to organise teams and to make things happen on game days.
It is probably fair to say that more energy was directed to playing the game than marketing it! Lest we forget the host of other dedicated individuals that made the competition function, most of them providing their services because of their love for the game rather than for any financial reward.
Among this number were the office staff, ground crews, umpires, scorers, ground announcers, team mascots and a variety of other helpers. In fact, the only names to appear throughout the history of the ABL were Adelaide Giants and Perth Heat, as other teams either came and went, evolved into new teams or simply changed their names.
Hunter Eagles were a late addition, aiming to represent the fertile baseball nursery of New South Wales country areas. They had expected to return after completion of the new stadium at Gosford.
This was an idea that served a few different purposes. Not only did it help to provide some funding and to reduce some player costs, but the influx of US import players each season added interest and spice to the league.
Like most things about ABL clubs, the affiliations were also subject to many changes. The Melbourne Monarchs too had four different affiliates, starting with Toronto Blue Jays, then returning with the expansion Florida Marlins after their exile.Baseball history in National League by Baseball Almanac - a walk through the National League season with stats, top 25, final standings, rosters and other baseball history.
On Aug. 12, , the Major League Baseball Players Association went on strike, initiating what became, at the time, the longest work stoppage in American professional sports.
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 65th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League attheheels.com game was held on July 12, , at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League.
Its Origins. Before the formation of the Australian Baseball League (ABL) the pinnacle of Australian baseball competition was the Claxton Shield, which had a long history and great tradition of its own. The –95 Major League Baseball strike was the eighth work stoppage in baseball history, as well as the fourth in-season work stoppage in 22 years.
The strike began on Friday, August 12, , and resulted in the remainder of that season being cancelled, including the postseason and, for the first time since , the World attheheels.com strike . Welcome to attheheels.com, the official site of Major League Baseball.