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Old 12-31-2013, 01:51 AM   #1
echopapa
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MLB Teams that Almost Were

This thread is to discuss relocations and expansion teams that nearly happened, and to create OOTP files for them.
1. St. Louis Browns to Los Angeles (1941)
The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce began courting a major league team in 1941, when they reached a primary agreement for the St. Louis Browns to move to LA for the 1942 season. The Browns would purchase and play in Wrigley Field (the same one the Angels used in 1962). The AL hadn't signed off on the deal yet when it was cancelled due to the war. We don't know if the Browns would've changed their name (probably to the Angels). A picture of a plan to expand LA's Wrigley Field can be found here: StadiumPage.com - 1957 LA Wrigley Field Expansion Concept
2. Boston Braves to Baltimore (1949)
Braves owner Lou Perini was determined to move his team by the end of WWII. He negotiated with Baltimore before deciding on Milwaukee. Memorial Stadium would open in 1950, just in time to host the Braves (Orioles?) opening season.
3. St. Louis Cardinals to Milwaukee (1950)
Cardinals owner Fred Saigh faced financial problems and prepared to sell his team. He received a bid from investors in Milwaukee, but the National League disapproved because Perini was planning to move the Braves there. County Stadium wouldn't be ready until 1953, so it's unclear where the Cardinals would've played until the stadium was complete (Borchert Field was nowhere near MLB standards).
4. St. Louis Cardinals to Houston (1950)
Saigh also received two bids from investors in Houston, and took them very seriously, as the Cardinals already had a strong fan base in Texas. The team probably would've kept the name Cardinals, and played in Buffalo Stadium, as plans were afoot to expand the stadium to 30,655. Gussie Busch bought the Cardinals instead.
5. Washington Senators to Los Angeles (1957)
In September of 1957, Senators owner Calvin Griffith announced that he was conducting a personal survey of cities in California that could host a major league team. Los Angeles offered to build a 50,000 seat stadium.
6. Washington Senators to San Francisco (1957)
San Francisco was the other California city to bid on the Senators, preparing a municipal bond to build a new stadium.
7. Washington Senators to Louisville (1957)
Louisville submitted an unsolicited bid to host the Senators. The team would've played at Fairgrounds Stadium (later Cardinal Stadium).
8. Kansas City Athletics to… virtually everywhere (1960-1967)
When Arthur Johnson bought the Philadelphia A's, he was dead set on moving them to Kansas City, but when Charlie Finley bought the A's, he immediately began looking for new places to play. In 1962, he negotiated with the Dallas-Fort Worth area (unknown where they'd play). He signed an agreement to move the team to Louisville in 1964, where they'd be known as the Kentucky Athletics and play in Fairgrounds Stadium. Finley also looked to Atlanta, Milwaukee (after the Braves left), New Orleans, San Diego, and Seattle before settling on Oakland.
9. Cleveland Indians to Seattle (1964)
Indians owner William R. Daley visited Seattle in 1964 to determine if the city could support an MLB team. He decided against moving upon finding that Sick's Stadium wasn't up to major league standards. Proposed Sick's Stadium expansion here: StadiumPage.com - Sick's Stadium Expansion Concept
10. 1969 Expansion Bids
Kansas City was a sure thing because Missouri Senator Stuart Symington, angry about the A's leaving town, was putting political pressure on MLB to place a new team there. Buffalo, Dallas, Denver, and Toronto also submitted bids. One paper even reported that Buffalo had received the franchise instead of Montreal. If Buffalo had won, Erie County would've built them a dome for baseball and football use. Proposed Denver stadium here: StadiumPage.com - 1967 Denver Stadium Concept Proposed Dallas stadium here: StadiumPage.com - 1968 Turnpike Stadium Expansion Concept Proposed Toronto stadiums here: StadiumPage.com - 1960's Toronto Concepts
11. Chicago White Sox to Milwaukee (1968)
Bud Selig paid White Sox owner Arthur Allyn to host some White Sox games in Milwaukee in 1968 and 1969. Those games drew far more fans than the games at Comiskey Park, and Allyn was prepared to sell the team to Selig when the Pilots' bankruptcy made them an easier target for purchase. Charlie Finley discussed moving the A's to Comiskey Park to leave the void left by the White Sox.
12. San Diego Padres to Washington (1973)
Washington businessman Joseph Danzansky struck a deal to buy the San Diego Padres in 1973 and move them to Washington starting in the 1974 season. The league approved the purchase and the team was ready to move when California politicians intervened, threatening to sue the Padres for breaking their lease and/or use eminent domain to seize the team. Proposed uniforms for the Washington team, as well as more info on the move, available here: San Diego Padres Move to Washington for 1974 Season - Ghosts of DC
13. San Francisco Giants to Toronto (1976)
A consortium of Canadians reached an agreement in principle to buy the San Francisco Giants in 1976 and move them to Toronto in 1977. The team would've kept the name Giants and probably would've played at Exhibition Stadium pending construction of a baseball facility. The deal was blocked by California politicians.
14. Chicago White Sox to Denver (1979) Bill Veeck negotiated with Denver-based investors in 1979 and 1980 to sell and relocate the White Sox before selling to Jerry Reinsdorf in 1981.
15. Oakland A's to New Orleans (1979)
The Louisiana Superdome was designed to host both football and baseball. The Superdome's executives made serious overtures to relocate the A's in 1979, but the cost of breaking the lease at the Oakland Coliseum was too steep.
16. Pittsburgh Pirates to New Orleans (1981) The Superdome tried again with the Pirates in 1981, but talks went nowhere.
17. Chicago White Sox to St. Petersburg (1988)
Construction of the Florida Suncoast Dome (now Tropicana Field) was already underway to host an MLB team in 1988, and Jerry Reinsdorf, fed up with Comiskey Park, demanded the state of Illinois approve a new stadium by June 30, 1988. The bill passed at 11:59pm on June 30 (according to the legislature - journalists reported that the bill actually passed at 12:03am on July 1).
18. San Francisco Giants to St. Petersburg (1992)
Tampa Bay investors planned to purchase the Giants and move them to the Suncoast Dome in 1992, but the deal was blocked at the winter meetings due to objections from Marlins owner Wayne Huizenga.
If you have uniform designs, logos, or stadiums for these teams, or other potential expansion teams or moves, post them here.

Last edited by echopapa; 12-31-2013 at 01:56 AM.
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:36 PM   #2
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Cool stuff.

Not quite the same thing, but there's the PCL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Coast_League#A_near-major_league) and Continental League (Continental League - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:10 PM   #3
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With the exception of the White Sox moves I had never heard of the rest. Was the Browns to LA in 1942 nixed because of the war? Thanx for the history lesson.
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Old 01-02-2014, 10:01 PM   #4
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With the exception of the White Sox moves I had never heard of the rest. Was the Browns to LA in 1942 nixed because of the war? Thanx for the history lesson.
Found this on wiki:
By 1941, Barnes was convinced he could never make any money in St. Louis. After interests in Los Angeles approached him about buying a stake in the team, he asked AL owners for permission to move there for the 1942 season. Los Angeles was already the third-largest city in the United States, and was larger than any major-league city except New York and Chicago. They got tentative approval from the league, which went as far as to draw up a schedule accounting for transcontinental train trips, though the Browns suggested that teams could travel by plane, a new concept at the time. The deal was slated to receive final approval at a league meeting on December 8. In a case of disastrous timing, the attack on Pearl Harbor took place on December 7. After league officials expressed concerns that travel restrictions would be too stringent for a prospective Los Angeles-based team to be viable, the Browns' proposal was unanimously rejected.

I wonder what that 1942 schedule looked like. I would guess that teams would play in Chicago and then take a few days "off" while taking the train to LA, where they would then play a long road series. In 1942, AL teams were playing each other 22 times, so I would guess they would make the trip to LA twice, playing a five-game series and six-game set, although other combos adding to eleven would work, too.

Regarding baseball teams & train/plane travel, I found some interesting reading here: Baseball teams and train travel
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:45 AM   #5
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I think I've found my next Dynasty.


Note: If only you could get more than 2 subleagues in the MLB..

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Old 01-03-2014, 11:45 AM   #6
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In 1975, there was a floated plan that would have moved the White Sox to Seattle and the A's to Chicago, but the plan was scuttled when Bill Veeck bought the Sox.

Chicago White Sox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 01-03-2014, 04:27 PM   #7
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Wow, that's great stuff. I hadn't heard of any of the pre-1960 stuff. Some thoughts:
  • Imagine the Angels being in LA longer than the Dodgers. I always felt they played second fiddle to the Dodgers, but if that had happened the Dodgers might never have left Brooklyn.
  • I can't imagine the Cardinals being anywhere but St. Louis. They're so successful now it's difficult to imagine them not always having been.
  • Has Louisville or Kentucky ever had a big 4 team? Apparently they did.
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:02 PM   #8
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Silvam and The Game I believe have made some of these failed relocation jerseys for me...the Denver Pirates and the Tampa Bay (and Toronto) Giants.
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:52 PM   #9
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Silvam and The Game I believe have made some of these failed relocation jerseys for me...the Denver Pirates and the Tampa Bay (and Toronto) Giants.
I have never made a jersey but the Toronto & TB Giants are really cool.
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:26 PM   #10
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<ul>Imagine the Angels being in LA longer than the Dodgers. I always felt they played second fiddle to the Dodgers, but if that had happened the Dodgers might never have left Brooklyn.
For the Dodgers to stay in Brooklyn, they would've needed to remove New York planning director Robert Moses. Moses insisted that any new stadium within the city limits would have to be built in Flushing (where Shea/Citi is). O'Malley didn't want to play in Flushing so he moved. He might not have moved the team to LA, but he would've moved it nonetheless.
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:52 AM   #11
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  • I can't imagine the Cardinals being anywhere but St. Louis. They're so successful now it's difficult to imagine them not always having been.
Bill Veeck had some very interesting things to say about the St. Louis situation in his book Veeck, as in Wreck. When he bought the Browns in 1951, he realized that St. Louis couldn't support two major league teams, so he set out to drive the Cardinals out of town. The owner of the Cards, Fred Saigh, was having problems with the feds that would later lead to his conviction on tax evasion charges. Veeck hoped that Saigh would sell the Cards and the new owners would move the team. He was right about the first part - Saigh sold the team, but he sold it to Gussie Busch. At that point, Veeck knew that "the jig was up." He couldn't compete with Busch in St. Louis, so that spelled curtains for the Browns.
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Old 01-06-2014, 03:53 PM   #12
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I have never made a jersey but the Toronto & TB Giants are really cool.
I couldn't remember who made them, but I've used them when I moved San Fran to Toronto in one of my games before.
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Old 01-06-2014, 04:31 PM   #13
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Imagine the Angels being in LA longer than the Dodgers. I always felt they played second fiddle to the Dodgers, but if that had happened the Dodgers might never have left Brooklyn.
A Browns-to-Los-Angeles move in 1941 - a full 17 years before the Dodgers & Giants moved to California - likely would've set in motion a series of events of which we can only speculate. Assuming Browns owner Don Barnes would've found financial success in LA, it's likely that at least one other team would've moved to California shortly thereafter - both for financial reasons and for scheduling considerations (teams could make one trip west and play series' against two teams). And who knows from where that second team would come, and to where they would relocate? (SF, SD, and LA-area would be the obvious choices.) And if the AL then would've had two teams on the west coast by the mid-40's it's certainly possible that a couple of NL teams would've moved west years before the Dodgers and Giants actually did it. Whichever teams - in either league - that were in the worst financial shape by the mid-40's would've been the obvious candidates. (Based opon ownership history and issues, it seems the 40's Phillies, Pirates, Cards, A's, Braves, and Indians would've been among the likely candidates to relocate.)

Consider also that within just fourteen years of the Dodgers & Giants moving to the west coast there were seven additional teams located (via expansion or relocation) west of the Mississippi. So it's not inconceivable that the westward migration of MLB would've begun much earlier, and taken on a different form...

As for the Dodgers, perhaps with the leverage of the (presumed) existing success of other teams already out west, O'Malley would've been able to get a new ballpark in the New York area, maybe even several years prior to 1958.

Finally, whatever change in form and scope that a 1940's westward migration would've taken could've either hastened or delayed the eventual expansion that began in the early 1960's.
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:37 AM   #14
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Consider also that within just fourteen years of the Dodgers & Giants moving to the west coast there were seven additional teams located (via expansion or relocation) west of the Mississippi. So it's not inconceivable that the westward migration of MLB would've begun much earlier, and taken on a different form...
Interesting thoughts, except you're forgetting one small problem: World War II. With wartime travel restrictions in place, it's just as likely that the Browns would have followed their move to LA in 1941 with a move back east in 1942. It would have been impossible for eastern teams to make two or three trips to the west coast when rail service was burdened by war traffic and private air travel was almost non-existent. Teams couldn't even travel to Florida for spring training in those days, so they certainly weren't going to travel to California during the season.

My guess, then, is that, in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the American League and the Commissioner's Office would have persuaded the Browns to move back east. Since there were no empty major-league stadiums available, they probably would have moved right back into Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, at least for the duration of the war.
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:10 AM   #15
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Interesting thoughts, except you're forgetting one small problem: World War II. With wartime travel restrictions in place, it's just as likely that the Browns would have followed their move to LA in 1941 with a move back east in 1942. It would have been impossible for eastern teams to make two or three trips to the west coast when rail service was burdened by war traffic and private air travel was almost non-existent. Teams couldn't even travel to Florida for spring training in those days, so they certainly weren't going to travel to California during the season.

My guess, then, is that, in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the American League and the Commissioner's Office would have persuaded the Browns to move back east. Since there were no empty major-league stadiums available, they probably would have moved right back into Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, at least for the duration of the war.
Of course you're right. However, the reality of what happened - the owners rejecting the proposed move after the attack on Pearl Harbor - isn't all that far removed what you say would have happened, essentially that the Browns would've been persuaded to move back. So my wondering "what if?" was more of a "what if the war hadn't kept the Browns from moving?"

Along these lines, though, another interesting "what if" would have been the following:

1) The Browns agreed to move to LA and the league approved much earlier in 1941, well before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
2) After the attack all parties agreed that the Browns playing in LA was not possible due to wartime travel restrictions.
3) The Browns had burned all bridges as far as returning to St Louis and Sportsman's Park.

What options would there have been?

Geographically, Kansas City would've made the most sense. Ruppert Stadium (Municipal Stadium) certainly could have accommodated many more than the 2000-3000 fans the Browns were drawing at Sportman's Park. But the Yankees owned the double-A Blues, and their stadium, making the Browns and KC an unlikely pairing... The Browns' top farm team, the Toledo Mud Hens, played at Swayne Field, which held about 15,000... Indianapolis might've made the most sense, as - like KC - it was about 250 miles away from St Louis, it's double-A team, the Indians, were unaffiliated with any major league team, and their field - Perry Stadium - held 13,000... If a non-major-league city couldn't be found, would temporarily relocating to another AL city and sharing a stadium, have been an option? Maybe Cleveland? Worst-case scenarios would be the Browns becoming a road team, or even suspending operations.
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Old 01-07-2014, 01:12 PM   #16
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Along these lines, though, another interesting "what if" would have been the following:

1) The Browns agreed to move to LA and the league approved much earlier in 1941, well before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
2) After the attack all parties agreed that the Browns playing in LA was not possible due to wartime travel restrictions.
3) The Browns had burned all bridges as far as returning to St Louis and Sportsman's Park.

What options would there have been?
You're right that there would have been no good options for the Browns if they had moved (or announced a move) to LA and then were forced to go back east because of the war. If they had gone back to St. Louis, it would have been like the situation with the Braves in 1965, who had announced their decision to move to Atlanta but who were then forced to play one last season in Milwaukee. The team's attendance plunged from 910,000 in 1964 to 555,000, despite having nearly identical records in both seasons. The Browns had even worse attendance in St. Louis - they likely would have been drawing only a couple of hundred fans per game if they moved back to St. Louis.

Making the Browns a travelling team is an interesting idea. It was tried before with the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, but that was a special case, and both the experiment and the team were disasters. I doubt that the AL would have allowed that kind of expedient for more than one season.

Bringing up the Browns' AAA affiliate in Toledo is a good point. The Braves moved to Milwaukee because their AAA affiliate in that city gave them territorial rights to the area. If they had moved anywhere else, they would have needed permission from the rights holder. But it's unlikely that the AL would have permitted the Browns to move to Toledo, which was about a third of the size of St. Louis and a good deal smaller than even the smallest big-league city, Cincinnati. In addition, Detroit and Cleveland would have undoubtedly blocked any move by the Browns into northwestern Ohio.

Kansas City would have been a good alternative, as would Baltimore. Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Buffalo were also larger than Cincy and homes to thriving minor-league clubs. The Browns and the AL would have needed to negotiate territorial rights, but it's possible that some sort of arrangement could have been worked out. Their ballparks were not major-league caliber, but, as you point out, the Brownies probably still would have drawn better than they had in St. Louis.
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Old 01-07-2014, 08:28 PM   #17
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Also found this, posted by LGO in another thread from a few years ago:

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Interestingly, in Nov. of 1952, an article in The New York Times mentioned how there were some plans being laid for a fourth potential major league. Frank Shaughnessy, then the president of the International League, was floating the idea that this proposed major league would involve the four largest cities from the American Association and the International League. Most likely this would have meant Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis from the former and Baltimore, Buffalo, Montreal, and Toronto from the latter would comprise this new major league.

A four major league setup would have simplified the post-season World Series competition.

In reality, this proposal died when the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee and the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore, removing a prime city from each minor league.
The whole thread might be interesting to some: http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/boar...scenarios.html

Had this four-league scenario become reality, it would've meant that the second-banana teams in St Louis, Boston, and Philadelphia - along with the Dodgers and Giants - would not have had available to them the cities in which they actually relocated, with several other larger cities taken out of the mix, too. The Dodgers and Giants would still have been viable in New York (or New Jersey), but would've likely had to work out less-than-hoped-for arrangements for new or improved ballparks. The others, however, would've logically relocated to places like Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta, or maybe Denver, or one of the smaller AA or IL cities that weren't originally chosen (Louisville or Columbus?).

Also looking for new homes around the same time might've been a few of the PCL teams in smaller markets and/or playing in smaller, clearly-not-major-league-caliber ballparks.

Fun stuff to ponder and/or spark an idea for an alternate major league setup in OOTP.
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Old 01-10-2014, 08:41 PM   #18
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Minnesota Twins to Greensboro 1998
Greensboro, North Carolina businessmen were hot and heavy after the Minnesota Twins in 1998 back when Selig was in his "move them or contract them" phase. A failed tax on food and beverages at restaurants is about the only thing that stopped them from moving to the Charlotte metro area where they would have played at the Knights Castle (home of the minor-league Charlotte Knights). The stadium was built in 1990 and designed to allow expansion to 40,000 seats in an effort for Charlotte to attract a major league team.


Montreal Expos to Norfolk 2004
So everyone knows that baseball finally returned to Washington when the Expos left Montreal, but D.C. wasn't without speed bumps. Baltimore really tried everything they could to keep the Expos from moving to Washington because it was in the Orioles' designated MLB media market (from Harrisburg PA to Charlotte NC). One of the leading candidates at the time then became Norfolk (while Peter Angelos was steadfastly against them moving to DC or Loudon County VA, he was fine giving up Norfolk to Charlotte), where the team was going to be called the Norfolk Steamers with a battleship for a logo, in honor of the local Navy presence. The Norfolk Steamers had actually sold over 5,000 season tickets and had letters from various corporations for 75 luxury suites to the new 35,000 seat stadium before the announcement of who would get the team. Other suitors included Las Vegas; Monterrey, Mexico; Portland; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Florida Marlins to Las Vegas 2006
Another move that never got farther than preliminary talks, mostly to force a new stadium in Miami. Las Vegas was ready to play hardball this time, after losing out on the Expos lottery, and unveiled plans for a $420 million glass stadium (yes a glass stadium in the desert) with a retractable roof that would seat 40,000 just a block off the Las Vegas Strip. The Marlins forced Miami's hand into what has so far been another terrible idea for a city to finance a stadium and Vegas was once again bust.
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:28 PM   #19
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St. Louis Browns to Milwaukee (early 50's)
Veeck attempted to move the Browns back to Milwaukee (where he had owned the Brewers of the American Association in the 1940s), but the move was blocked by the other American League owners, seemingly for reasons that were more personal than business-related.

St. Louis Browns to Los Angeles (1954)
In 1953, there was again talk of the Browns moving to L.A. for the 1954 season, but the team was sold and moved to Baltimore instead as the Orioles.

Philadelphia Athletics to Los Angeles (late 50's)
There were also rumors that the Philadelphia Athletics' move to Kansas City in 1955 was a temporary stop on the way to Los Angeles.

New York Giants to Minneapolis (late 50's)
While seeking a new stadium to replace the crumbling Polo Grounds, the Giants began to contemplate a move from New York, initially considering Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota, which was home to their top farm team, the Minneapolis Millers. Under the rules of the time, the Giants' ownership of the Millers gave them priority rights to a major league team in the area.

Possible Expansion Teams
In 1960, the American League conducted a survey to determine potential expansion cities. The list included Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas–Fort Worth, Denver, Oakland, San Diego, Seattle, and Toronto.
1966: Commissioner of Baseball William Eckert stated that cities that should be considered for expansion included Milwaukee (the Milwaukee Braves had moved to Atlanta before the 1966 season), New Orleans, Oakland, San Diego, Seattle, and Toronto, and that expansion would occur in "eight to ten years;" he subsequently stated that the leagues could expand "any time after two years." By August, Major League Baseball had plans to expand to two 12-team leagues by 1970, and had squelched the possibility of a third league, such as the Continental League proposed in 1959 or the proposal made in August 1968 by Ron Plaza consisting of an Eastern, Central, and Western League.

(All text in Italics was lifted from Wikipedia)

I am curious about the "proposal made in August 1968 by Ron Plaza consisting of an Eastern, Central, and Western League." I've done some searching for it but haven't found anything yet...
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Old 01-12-2014, 01:29 PM   #20
joefromchicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thehef View Post
I am curious about the "proposal made in August 1968 by Ron Plaza consisting of an Eastern, Central, and Western League." I've done some searching for it but haven't found anything yet...
Considering that Ron Plaza was managing the St. Petersburg Cardinals at that time, I'm not sure why the author of that Wikipedia entry even mentioned his "proposal." It's not like Ron Plaza's opinion carried any weight.
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