Independent Baseball in the 1920s, Part Three & Final
As I said when I began this essay, I’ve had problems with people dealing with leagues that are not in Organized Baseball. Many researchers ignore them completely.
But should we? Should we ignore the San Joaquin Valley League or the Midwest League of the early 1920s? What do we do about the Chicago City League? For many years, a player would make more in that league on a weekend than he would playing in “D Ball” for a whole month. The same for the San Francisco City in one season in the 1920s. Judge Landis call the San Francisco City League an outlaw league one season.
What about the 1928 through 1936 California State League that Ken Camozzi’s grandfather pitched in, or Jerry Coleman’s father played in? John Spalding called it a semipro league— but the Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds had farm clubs in the league.
The two seasons the San Joaquin Valley League was in O. B. were probably the two weakest seasons as far as players were concerned. The reason for this was they problems these leagues had with population and salary requirements in O. B. People in the Central Valley expected a higher caliber of ball than they would be allowed under Organized Baseball rules. The towns were too small, and they had too much money to spread around.
Personally, I think we should handle them like we do leagues in the 19th Century. If they are good leagues, include them in the whole scheme of minor league baseball. If not, consign them to semipro status. But no matter what they are, they are part of the great canvass of American baseball, and I will continue to research these leagues, especially here in California. But there are strong— non-O.B.—leagues throughout the country prior to World War Two that should be researched.