Year In Review : 1914 National League
Off the field...
The United States finally completed the construction of the Panama Canal. The fifty-one mile long waterway ran across the Isthmus of Panama, connecting the Atlantic (by way of the Caribbean Sea) and Pacific oceans. After the United States acquired territory in the Caribbean and in the Pacific as a result of the Spanish-American War (1899), U.S. control over a man-made canal seemed imperative. In 1912, "The Panama Canal Act" was passed (exempting tolls from American cargo ships engaged in coastwise trade) igniting a protest by Great Britain that was eventually repealed in 1914 through the efforts of President Woodrow Wilson.
In the American League...
Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman stumbled his way into an unwanted record on June 20th after committing four errors in the fifth inning during a 7-1 loss to the New York Yankees at League Park II.
During the second game of an August doubleheader in Washington, Detroit Tigers pitcher Hooks Dauss combined with four Senators aces to hit a record seven batters for a Major League mark that remained unmatched until the 1971 season.
In September, New York Yankees shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh replaced Frank Chance to become the club's all-time youngest skipper (twenty-three), and the seventh in its twelve-year existence. He later went on to win nine of seventeen games and eventually managed Cleveland in 1928.
In the National League...
On June 9th at the Baker Bowl, Pittsburgh Pirate legend Honus Wagner joined Cap Anson as the only other member of the "3,000 Hit Club". Wagner collected the game-winning double off the Philadelphia Phillies' Erskine Mayer in the ninth-inning of his two-thousand three-hundred thirty second game.
Pittsburgh and New York went head-to-head for a twenty-one innings on July 17th before Larry Doyle's two-run home run sealed a 3-1 Giants victory over the Pirates. The Forbes Field marathon set a Major League mark as the longest "non-walk game" in the history of organized baseball.
Brooklyn Dodgers first baseman Jake Daubert tied a Major League mark on August 15th after recording four sacrifice bunts in the second game of a doubleheader sweep against the Philadelphia Phillies (8-4, 13-5). Daubert had also placed two sacrifice bunts in the first game after an ankle injury impeded his ability to run.
In the Federal League...
1914 debuted the short-lived Federal League after John T. Powers of Chicago convinced a group of entrepreneurs that the growing popularity of baseball could support a third major league. Eight teams entered the inaugural season with clubs based in Brooklyn, Chicago, St. Louis and Pittsburgh as well as Baltimore, Kansas City, Buffalo and Indianapolis which had been the home for AAA teams. All eight cities constructed brand new ballparks including the Chicago Whales who played in what would eventually be known as Wrigley Field.
To effectively compete, the owners lured eighty-one former Major League players (eighteen of which were active) and one-hundred forty Minor League players (twenty-five of which were active) into the Federal League Baseball Company, Inc.
On May 6th, Pittsburgh Rebel Ed Lennox collected the only Federal League cycle during a 10-4 win over the Kansas City Packers.
Around the league...
A joint committee representing both the American and National Leagues voted that a "runner touched or held by a coach while rounding third base was officially out" and that "coaches could now assist other members of their team, not just the base runners". Pitchers were also allowed to stand on the rubber (vs. standing behind the rubber until ready to pitch) and base runners were no longer permitted to run on an infield fly. A motion to eliminate the intentional walk was also rejected along with an attempt to legalize Sunday baseball in Massachusetts.
In April, the twenty-five player limit was suspended in both the American and National Leagues. With uncertainty over who has signed with what teams, it was almost impossible to verify how many players could be on any club's roster at any one time.
On April 22nd, a nineteen year-old pitcher named Babe Ruth made his debut in the International League with a six-hit, 6-0 win for Baltimore over Buffalo. The second batter he faced was Joe McCarthy, the manager he would later play for as a New York Yankee.