Thursday, June 08, 2006

ReReading from Always on Sunday

Re-Reading from Always on Sunday

John Spalding’s book on the California League, Always on Sunday, is a classic in baseball research.  And because I’m in the middle of recreating the statistical record of that league, as readers of this blog know, I decided to take his book off the shelf, and read what he wrote about the 1900 season, which I am currently working on.  I think the season you are following on this blog will be helped understating the season by Spalding putting into context.

John Spalding on 1900 the California League:

Two straight years of poor financial results had convinced California League officials that the mix of teams had to be altered, so they restructured the circuit in 1900 in an attempt to strengthen its fragile financial base.

In the previous two seasons, the league had consisted of the ever-present San Francisco and Oakland clubs plus four of six teams from Northern California’s smaller interior towns.  This format had proved unsuccessful both years, with Fresno folding in 18987 and San Jose and Watsonville being dropped in 1899.

In 1900, the league returned to a four-team format, the same number that had worked so well during most of the first eight years between 1886-1893. More importantly, the teams which joined the two Bay Area clubs were from two of the region’s other largest cities, Sacramento and Stockton.

The 1900 schedule was similar to the one played out in 1899.  Teams met the same opponent on Saturday and Sunday.  Continuous baseball was played in San Francisco, with either manager Henry Harris’ team at home or J. Cal Ewing’s Oakland club playing at Recreation Park diamond.  There was a game every Sunday morning at Freeman’s Park.

Following the 1900 season, the league dropped Stockton, and moved south to Los Angeles, where the league picked up James Morely’s club that had played in the Southern California League in 1899, and in 1900 until that league folded.  The team played as an independent club after railway service between San Diego and Los Angeles was cut on Sundays, forcing the league out of business.

I’m not sure if he has any books left, but you might want to contact him to find out if you don’t have a copy of this wonderful book.

John Spalding’s e-mail address:


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