Year In Review : 1915 Federal League
Off the field...
The Superior Court in Fulton County, Georgia accepted the charter for the establishment of the new Ku Klux Klan on December 4th. The first Ku Klux Klan was an organization that thrived in the South during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. Subsequent groups calling themselves by the same name sprang up in much of the South after both World War I and II and in response to civil-rights activity during the 1960s. In spite of its efforts, the new Klan was not strong, and by the end of the 1960's its nationwide power and membership had declined into a small, underground movement.
Ford rolled its one-millionth automobile off the Michigan assembly line, which was responsible for manufacturing half of all cars in America. To meet the growing demands of his "Model T" automobiles, Henry Ford had opened a large factory at Highland Park, in 1910. There, the industrial visionary invented precision building, interchangeable parts and a continuous moving assembly line that revolutionized automobile production by significantly reducing assembly time per vehicle as well as labor costs.
In the American League...
On May 6th, an "up-and-coming" pitcher for the Boston Red Sox nicknamed "The Babe" hit his first major league homerun off the Yankees Jack Warhop at New York's Polo Grounds.
A back-up catcher for the Philadelphia Athletics named Wally Schang set an American League record after nailing six would-be St. Louis base stealers during a 3-0 loss to the Browns.
On June 23rd, Detroit's Ty Cobb stole home (again) for the fifth time in the month en route to a 4-2 Tiger victory over the St. Louis Browns. "The Georgia Peach" would finish the season with ninety-six.
In the National League...
Making his National League debut, St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Lee Meadows became the first player to wear glasses regularly on the field. Later that season, Carmen Hill of the Pittsburgh Pirates became the second.
The Pittsburgh Pirates became the first team since 1894 to lose game one of a doubleheader (against Baltimore 6-0), then comeback to score in every inning of the nightcap (to win, 13-5).
On August 18th, Wilbur Good became the only Chicago Cub ever to steal second, third, and home — all in the same inning. His teammates followed his "good" example and went on to beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 9-0.
In the Federal League...
After a lengthy contract dispute instigated by the Federal League's high salary structures, "Home Run" Baker announced his early retirement from the Philadelphia Athletics at the tender age of twenty-eight. Manager Connie Mack also experienced salary problems with several other players including Chief Bender, Eddie Plank, and Jack Coombs. Refusing to compete with the rival league's higher pay scale, Mack decided to release the stars and sell Baker to the Yankees after the 1915 season.
In December, organized baseball agreed to a formal "peace treaty" with the Federal League ending a two-year political war. The Federals agreed to disband after the American and National Leagues both agreed to pay an enormous sum of $600,000 for distribution to owners, absorb two franchises (one American League and one National League) and recognize all former players as eligible picks at a Fed-controlled auction.
Around the league...
The Federal League sued organized baseball, claiming it to be an illegal trust and demanding that it be dissolved with all contracts voided. The case was formally filed in the U.S. court in Chicago, before Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis and the future baseball commissioner intentionally stalled his decision while waiting for peace to be declared at the end of the year.
The American League officially banned the emery ball, a pitch introduced by Russ Ford in 1910. Ford had accidentally discovered that a scuffed baseball could be made to break sharply while a semi-pro pitcher. He began intentionally doctoring the ball using emery paper, and disguised his pitches as spitballs, which at the time were legal.
On "Suffrage Day", 4,100 women bought tickets to see the Giants take on the Chicago Cubs in New York. As a publicity stunt, the suffragettes announced that they would pay five dollars to each player who scored a run. Unfortunately, "Wildfire" Frank Schulte emerged as the only recipient after leading a Chicago "double-steal" in the first inning.