H O M E P L A T E
A Glimpse at the American Association
And How the Almanac Took Root
This website is dedicated to the preservation of the historical aspects of the American Association of Professional Baseball Leagues during the first 51 seasons of its existence.
From 1902 until 1952 the American Association was composed of the same eight teams, with some exceptions.
The teams included the Columbus (Ohio) Senators (who became the Red Birds in 1931), Indianapolis Indians, Louisville Colonels, Kansas City Blues, the Milwaukee Brewers, Minneapolis Millers, St. Paul Saints and Toledo Mud Hens.
At this website you will find a variety of statistical information intended to provide foundational background information on the performance history of the league's players through 1962.
The Ballparks section lists each venue used by the various American Associaiton teams and describes them in detail. The other sections are self-explanatory and will be completed in time. As of this update (Mune 3, 2010), completed sections include Batting, Pitching, Ballparks, and Back Issues. The Contact Form is ready to be used and should be functional.
The Managers section is in progress at this time and presently contains data for Columbus, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Louisville, Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The American Association Almanac is a baseball history journal published tri-annually and is available postally by subscription.
While primarily concerned with educating the public on the history of the American Association, this website is intended to advocate the Almanac.
Subscriptions are available to individuals and institutions. Please see more information concerning subscription rates in the "Subscription Info" section. There you will also find information on ordering back issues which are available individually or as a complete set through Volume 8, Number 3. Specific information concerning each individual issue will eventually appear in the section marked "Back Issues."
Sample pages showing the format and various graphic features of the latest Almanac are also shown in the Back Issues section.
Since 2001 when I created the publication, then known as the American Association Newsletter, I have managed to maintain a small subscription base.
Please consider supporting your local baseball historian and subscribe to this acclaimed, "ad-free" journal at your earliest convenience.
League History and Background Information
The American Association got its start in November of 1901 when a group of magnates organized in order to create a baseball league which would compete with the two major leagues. Originally conceived to include Omaha, this notion was ultimately rejected on economic grounds as George "White Wings" Tebeau was recruited to establish a team in Louisville, a move which proved highly successful. That season the Louisville Colonels narrowly missed walking away with the league's first championship; however, Tebeau's team bowed to the Indianapolis Indians after the championship was decided based on the outcome of a triple header in Minneapolis where the Millers were entertaining the Colonels. Ironically, the Millers' crosstown rival St. Paul Saints had their hands full with the Indians, but in late September of 1902 they proved no contest and the Indians became the American Association's first league champion. From the outset, the American Association was an independent league, considered a "rogue" league by the National and American Leagues, and subject to different rules, both on and off the field. However, all this would change for 1903, and despite the fact that players still jumped from team to team, a practice deemed illegal by the owners, the American Association was now a bona fide member of the National Association and a full-fledged player in the development of talent.
For the first 51 seasons the league remained largely intact. The only real departure from the original configuration of teams came when the Toledo Mud Hens were moved to Cleveland in a move to thwart the newly established Federal League from putting down roots there. More on this topic can be found under the heading "Teams." There were a few name changes along the way, as well, for example, the Milwaukee Brewers became the Milwaukee Panthers for the 1919 season (likely attributable to the onset of prohibition, and a change that was not seized upon by every media outlet), and the Columbus Senators permanently became the Columbus Red Birds in 1931.
In 1952 the Toledo Mud Hens were again involved in upsetting the league's applecart when it relocated to Charleston, West Virginia and became the Charleston Senators, changing the league's complexion for the duration. It is, in part, the reason the Almanac contains its focus to include the years 1902-52. The other reason is that the principal source originally used by the Almanac for its base of facts (Marshall Wright's The Complete Rosters of the American Association, Year-by-Year Statistics for the baseball Minor League, 1902 - 1952, now out of print) encompassed the seasons only through 1952. The league would last, in various forms, through 1962 before discontinuing, only to be reborn again in 1969. However, the glory years of the league were long since past, as each franchise was owned by a corporate entity (a major league club) and had lost its local identity to a substantial extent. No longer was local control the driving force behind the doings of each club, as it had been well into the 1930's. In addition, the advent of television contributed to the demise of the golden age of minor league baseball throughout the United States.
The American Association Almanac was born in 2001 as the result of a grave hunting trip I took to Columbus, Ohio. The purpose of the trip was to locate the grave of Nick "Tomato Face" Cullop who was buried at the Mifflin Township Cemetery in nearby Gahanna. I found that Cullop's grave was unmarked, and soon found out the cemetery official had no idea who Nick Cullop was. Considering his magnificent stature as a hitter in the American Association, I was perplexed. Returning home that day, I resolved to create a marker for the Cullop grave. It was made of wood with a picture frame, containing a description of Cullop's career highlights on a specially prepared sheet, mounted to a board which was affixed to a stake, a roof added for effect. A few months later I returned to the cemetery and asked the manager to install the marker. He did, and a local newspaper got wind of the story, photographing several town luminaries gathered about Cullop's grave. This was the story that fueled the creation of the Almanac. Soon a host of folks were aligned to help find funds for a marker for Nick Cullop.
In time the New York Yankees came forward and helped finance the creation of a granite gravestone, but it took months and many phone calls and e-mails before the project came to completion in 2008. By this time I'd given up hope of ever seeing a marker put up. But after moving from near Akron, Ohio to Minnesota's Twin Cities area in 2001, I realized things were pretty much out of my hands at that point. The seed was sewn, however, and the Almanac has grown into a full-fledged scholarly journal (soon to have its own ISSN!) dedicated to this old regional minor league of our grandparents' day. It is published three times per year and covers a wide range of topics, principally team histories and ballparks. Please see the description of each issue in the "back issues" section.
A word about me. My name is Rex Hamann and I was never much good at baseball, although I could catch pretty well. I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin where I played on various Little League teams, and at one point partook in a clinic held at old Breese Stevens Field in Madison, former home of the old Madison Blues, and I was entranced by its vintage feeling. More seeds sewn. But after getting cut from my high school team at James Madison Memorial High, I was pretty much done with it. I never quite outgrew the lust for the leather, hanging on to my very first glove (it was huge to me as kid, and fit me even as an adult), and taking advantage of any possible opportunity to play catch. The Chicago Cubs was my team as a kid, and I was a dedicated box score observer, the first four slots in the Cubs' batting order of Kessinger, Beckert, Williams and Santo, often followed by Banks etched permanently into my memory. I was one of those bad little boys who dragged his transistor radio to bed with him at night praying my older brother, with whom I shared my room, wouldn't tell on me. I spent my youth spent hanging on to every word ever uttered by Cub broadcasters Vince Lloyd (whose voice I adored) and Lou Boudreau (who's voice I couldn't stand). My father, Albert, drove us kids down to Chicago for a game against the Pirates in August of 1966, and it was really the one event that converted me into a lover of baseball. I was not quite nine at the time, but I still recall many of the sights, sounds and smells from that one Sunday, especially the cigar smoke, and Wrigley Field was always hallowed ground to me. But eventually I grew up and learned to love other things, and after teaching in Milwaukee for 15 years I became a devout follower of the Milwaukee Brewers. While my heart was steeped in Milwaukee County Stadium, I find Miller Park an exciting place to be, but I'm much too "old school" to go in for indoor baseball. Even with the roof open, it still feels too much like an arena instead of a field. That's a little about what's behind my love for baseball history. I just miss the game I knew as a kid, and I tend to be a bit idealistic when it comes to how the game is played today, and a little bit opinionated as to how I think it should be played. And so I retreat to the seclusion of baseball history, an escape that can't be beat.
Funny how a ballpark with breezes blowing through it
And a carpet of bluegrass shimmering in the light, can attach us to a part of the past
The moon resplendent above the flagpole out-shining the spindly lamps
I live idealistically with the hope
That I will find more people who love what I love about baseball,
From the on-field awe to the joy in tumbling numbers to stumbling upon the ballplayer's grave...
In any shape you take it, take in the crack of the bat, the cloud of dust, the improbable catch,
And delight in the open-air antics as our grandparents may have recalled it....
Maybe that's baseball's single most redeeming, time-resistant quality,
How it can remind us of the ones we felt a kinship with at one time,
Even if just for a few innings,
And put us with them.
Please note: the various sections of this website remain under construction;
as of May 2, 2010 the following sections are complete:
Please enjoy perusing these sections of the website.
Updates on the completion of future sections will be noted here.
(the photo above shows Lexington Park, the home of the St. Paul Saints, circa 1925)