Opening Day, 1910: an Introduction

Shibe Park, Philadelphia

We’re still 10 days from the centennial of the 1910 season. Opening day in 1910 was 14 April. Leading up to that date, I am going to spend a great deal of time writing about the teams that played in 1910. I’m going to start with NL champion Pittsburgh (they won the World Series in 1909) and work to Boston which finished dead last; then move to the AL and start with World Series loser Detroit and finish with last place Washington. I want to look, briefly, at each team as it stood ready to open the 1910 season. What had changed from 1909, who was new, what prospects were there that the team might do well? Then during the season I’ll make updates, probably about one a month, keeping the season flowing into October. When I’m done, if I do it right, you should have some sense of the season 100 years ago.

Why do all this for 1910? Well, it’s because the 1910 season is one of the most seminal in baseball history. It’s not that the stats are overwhelming, no major records were established, except that Philadelphia set the AL record for wins (it would last two years). There were only two no-hitters, no where near a record, and there were no perfect games. Seminal?

Well, yes, because 1910 marked the transfer of Major League power from the National League to the American League. There were six World Series’ contested prior to 1910. The AL won the first and the big upset in 1906, but the NL won the other four and had won three in a row. The next time the NL wins three in a row is 1963-65. The AL will begin a dominence that lasts in some ways the entire 100 years. In the 19-teens, the AL will win four in a row twice, 1910-13 and 1915-1918. They’ll win four in a row in 1927-1930; five in a row in 1935-1939; seven in a row in 1947-1953;  and three in a row in 1972-1974, 1983-1985, 1991-1993, 1998-2000. In contrast, the NL wins the three in a row mentioned above and four in a row once (1979-1882). Only in the 1960s does the NL win more World Series’ than the AL (1960, 1963-65, 1967, and 1969). In every other decade since 1910, the AL has at least broken even at five-five. 

1910 also saw the rise of the first successful AL dynasty, the Philadelphia Athletics. They will play in four of the next five World Series and win three of them. It begins a long line of AL dynasties that carries the AL to the records mentioned in the paragraph above.

So to me 1910 is worth studying. A lot of modern baseball’s league power structure comes from that long ago season. I hope to chronical it, if not explain why it starts.

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One Response to “Opening Day, 1910: an Introduction”

  1. Kevin G Says:

    This is a great idea. I wish I thought of it.

    Kevin

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