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Jun 6, 2022

Society for American Baseball Research historian/chronicler Justin Mckinney (Baseball's Union Association: The Short, Strange Life of a 19th-Century Major League) joins the podcast this week to weigh in on the debate that continues to swirl around baseball's curious one-season Union Association - namely, was it a truly major league?
As first broached in our Episode 73 with Jon Springer, the National League was less than a decade old back in 1884, and the rival American Association, which had been established two years earlier, was nipping at its heels.  "Organized Baseball" had just been formed to help codify the still-gestating professional version of the game.
But when a maverick millionaire and spurned team-owner aspirant named Henry Lucas established a new third major league that year - the Union Association - the pro game erupted into chaos.
Come for the pennant-winning St. Louis Maroons (who won 94 of their 113 regular season games, and bested the second-place Cincinnati Outlaw Reds by a whopping 21 games), but stay for the litany of replacement teams (e.g., Wilmington Quicksteps, St. Paul Saints, Altoona Mountain Citys, Kansas City Cowboys, etc.) that folded just as soon as they arrived.