The Greatest Minor League: A History of the Pacific Coast League, 1903–1957

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Although this league still exist today, it at one point was actually competing against the Major League teams with Hall of Famers such as Joe DiMaggio, Lefty Gomez, and others.

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This league had it all and Snelling does a fantastic job of including just what made this league tick. It could probably even be used as a textbook on early baseball history. The one and only issue with the book is that at times it reads like a textbook and is a bit dense. But this is a book that any fan of baseball history will throughly enjoy.


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So much has been written about the history of major league baseball that it's startling to come upon a book that shares stories about teams and sports legends that most people have never heard before. But for 50 years or more, a third league -- almost on par with the National and American Leagues -- flourished on the west coast. My little home town of Tacoma, for instance, had a baseball championship before every western city except L. That's the Tacoma squad on the cover. Joe DiMaggio had a 61 game hitting streak in San Francisco before he had the famous 56 game hitting streak in New York.

A team in Hollywood experimented with baseball uniforms featuring shorts. There were impressive slugfests, no-hitters, pennant races, and a "Wrigley Field" in this largely forgotten story. There were even early team tours of Japan, spreading the game internationally. Yes, the people living in the western United States knew of Ruth and Gehrig and Greenberg, but those were stars from far away.

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The Pacific Coast League was a major league unto itself, scouting and growing talent, west coast stars, and attracting crowds. Snelling's research was thorough, including on-the-field AND off-the-field antics, successes, and tragedies. And he did a remarkable job telling the stories, year by year, in ways that make pull you into the team rivalries e. Seals-Angels as understandably as if he were writing about the more familiar Red Sox-Yankees. The personalities of owners and players thread through the decades with ease, too.

Reading this book is like stepping into a parallel baseball universe where the names and struggles are familiar but all new. It's a history of baseball Find more of my reviews at Mostly NF. The Greatest Minor League is chock full of sports, personal, and business details.

Histories of the Old Pacific Coast League: A Review Essay - ProQuest

Its organized into chapters of year chunks, actually dipping back into the s, and covering business intrigue, the Great San Francisco Earthquake, what dead balls were, brushes with stars such as Joe DiMaggio, and the end of a golden age as MLB expanded westward. Dennis Snelling's book is meticulously researched and comprehensive. It can be used as a textbook on baseball history due to it's chronological range, tables of league statistics, footnotes, index, and list of many sources. It's only fault is that parts come across as too dense considering the detailed information on mainly unknown characters, and fewer pictures than most baseball history books.

But its obvious Snelling spent many years researching and writing, and it will be well worth the time of any baseball history buff. Happy Hogan baseball. Roy Van Graflan. Sign up to get a pre-publication copy in exchange for a review. Home Groups Talk Zeitgeist.

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The Greatest Minor League : A History of the Pacific Coast League, 1903-1957

Members Reviews Popularity Average rating Mentions 22 7 , 3. Calling itself the Pacific Coast League, this outlaw association frequently outdrew its major league counterparts and continued to challenge the authority of Organized Baseball until the majors expanded into California in This thorough history of the Pacific Coast League chronicles its foremost personalities, governance, and contentious relationship with the majors, proving that the history of the game involves far more than the happenings in the American and National leagues. Sefton , zzshupinga , JamesPaul No current Talk conversations about this book.

This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers. JamesPaul Jun 3, You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data. Part 4: Fagan was one of the most vocal owners in the PCL and usually embroiled in controversy.

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Despite dropping attendance across the league, San Francisco owner, Paul Fagan, frustrated that his efforts to elevate the PCL to major league status had been virtually ignored by big league executives, warned that the circuit might pull out of Organized Baseball and operate independently. Other representatives of the league also reiterated the threat.

The PCL was the only minor league to ever attain this unique status and retained it until The pay could be more generous and the opportunities for stardom could be greater than that which was available in the majors, moreover, the pacific coast was home to many of its players.

Part 6: The decade of the s was not a good one for the PCL. The advent of television brought an end to the prosperity of the s and all clubs struggled at the gate. Fans were becoming more conscious of Major League baseball and when the Braves moved from Boston to Milwaukee in , it became evident that eventually a major league team would locate on the Pacific Coast. At the same time, Horace Stoneham of the N. The impact on the PCL would be profound. Now a major regrouping would have to occur. On December 2, , PCL directors re-arranged the league. By , when Los Angeles and San Francisco acquired National League teams, the fundamental structure of the Pacific Coast league was destroyed and all the hopes and dreams of attaining Major League status were buried.

Pacific Coast League

Thanks for the information. It would have been nice for the PCL to have been classified as a Major League but from reading what you posted it doesn't look like it was a real possibility. I often wondered why the major leagues didn't absorb one of the PCL teams. Sorry about this late reply. I believe MLB was not an inclusive organization in those days, which is the reason why they didn't absorb any of the PCL teams.


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  8. Fagan of the Seals was probably the only owner, outside of Bob Cobb, that had the finances to run a team, but he was not a well-liked individual amongst the MLB owners Because of this, they probably wouldn't have let him in the Majors. If the Seals were allowed in, I envision the owners forcing Fagan to sell his team like they did with Veeck when he owned the St.

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