Year In Review : 1903 American League
Off the field...
Automobile pioneer Henry Ford organized the Ford Motor Company. By cutting the costs of production and by adapting the conveyor belt and assembly line to automobile production, Ford was soon able to outdistance all his competitors to become the largest car manufacturer in the world. In 1908 he designed the infamous "Model T" and nearly seventeen million cars were produced worldwide before the model was discontinued in 1928. Later a new design called the "Model A" was created to meet growing competition.
In the American League...
On May 6th, the Chicago White Stockings committed twelve errors, and the Detroit Tigers answered back with six of their own. The combined "18-E debacle" set a modern Major League record for the most errors (by two teams) in a single game.
Cleveland Indians rookie Jesse Stovall threw an eleven-inning shutout in his first Major League start to defeat the Detroit Tigers 1-0. The feat still remains as the longest shutout ever for a major league pitching debut.
At a post-season American League meeting, Ban Johnson was unanimously re-elected president and given a raise of $10,000. The American League owners also voted to allow base-running coaches at first and third at all times and to institute the "foul strike" rule in which a foul would be counted as a strike unless there are already two on the batter.
In the National League...
Boston Brave Wiley Pratt became the only pitcher in the twentieth century to lose two complete games in one day. Piatt allowed fourteen hits, while striking out twelve, en route to 1-0 and 5-3 Pittsburgh Pirates victories.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Tommy Corcoran set a Major League record after totaling fourteen assists in a 4-2 regulation win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Lave Cross, of the Philadelphia Athletics, had originally racked up fifteen assists during a twelve-inning game in 1897.
The National League-leading Pittsburgh Pirates set an uncharacteristic National League mark for inept fielding after making six errors in the first inning of a 13-7 New York Giants victory on August 20th.
Around the league...
In Cincinnati, peace talks between both rival leagues continued as the Nationals proposed a consolidated twelve team league, which the Americans promptly rejected. Eventually an agreement was reached to coexist peacefully with the American League promising to stay out of Pittsburgh.
Baseball rules committee chairman Tom Loftus announced that the pitcher's box would not be more than fifteen inches higher than the baselines or home plate.
The inaugural World Series of 1903 was a resounding success and represented the first step in healing the bruised egos of both the veteran National and fledgling American Leagues. Pittsburgh and Boston went head-to-head for eight games proving that great baseball between the two leagues was possible and that a merger would benefit the growth of the sport. Unfortunately, some owners still disagreed with the concept and in 1904 it was prematurely cancelled.