1885 – Power Grab

For the first 9 seasons of the Century League, founder William Whitney had essentially ruled by fiat. Unbeknownst to him, this rankled some of the other owners. Charles Bigsby was gone, but his brother Miles, owner of the Brooklyn club, was quietly working behind the scenes to undermine Whitney’s authority. By the time the league’s […]

1884 – The Big Time

1884 will be remembered as the year that baseball really started to transition from pastime to national industry. Several new leagues cropped up – all of lower caliber than either the Century League or Border Association, and most of them would sooner or later disappear into the mists of time, but what would become minor […]

1883 – Getting Serious

Going into 1883, the Century League got serious about its new competition. When the Cleveland Cuyahogas pulled the plug, CL President William Whitney took the opportunity to go for the jugular by placing a replacement club in New York. This set up a direct head-to-head battle in the nation’s largest metropolis between the Century League […]

1882 – Border War

When the Cincinnati Monarchs club left the Century League after the circuit’s first season (taking St. Louis along with them), there were a lot of hard feelings on both sides. Though neither club returned to the Century League, both continued to operate independently as touring clubs. But Cincinnati owner James Tice continued to keep an […]

1881 – Song of Sing Sing

The New York Knights, and their larger-than-life owner Charles Bigsby, were no longer around. The Knights had been dismal in 1880, and this was to some extent due to the legal troubles of the club’s owner. Those troubles ended with Charles being sent to Sing Sing Prison and his ballclub folded. The younger Bigsby (Miles), […]

1880 – Rotating

The Milwaukee Brickers did not last one full calendar year as Century Leaguers before declaring bankruptcy. The void was promptly filled by the Baltimore Banner club, named for their club’s owner and referred to in the newspapers as the Bannermen. As the 1880 season progressed, one issue grew increasingly apparent in the Century League. Through […]

1879 – Eight is Enough

For 1879, William Whitney was determined to find two new clubs for the Century League; the goal was to have eight teams in the loop and the desertions of Cincinnati and St. Louis had meant playing the 1878 season with six. Though both Cincinnati and St. Louis were still intact and playing independently of the […]

1878 – Sibling Rivalry

For 1878 the Century League returned the same six clubs it had the previous year. The results however, could not have been different and that was at least partially due to a rivalry between brothers – and club owners – Charles (New York) and Miles Bigsby (Brooklyn). Embarrassed and angry after a dismal season in […]

1877 - Soldiering On

1877 – Soldiering On

Those who may have wondered if the Century League would be yet another in a series of failed baseball leagues received their answer in 1877. In a matter befitting the military background of league founder William Whitney the Century League soldiered on despite being staggered by the loss of two of its western outlets in […]

1876 - The First Season

1876 – The Foundation is Built

Fruit magnate William W. Whitney’s vision came to fruition – and yes, that’s a pun – in the spring of 1876 when the Century League took the field for the first time. A West Point-educated engineer, Whitney had fallen in love with baseball while in the Union Army during the Civil War and after getting […]