“The League That Failed” (by David Quentin Voigt) cuts through the haze that surrounds 19th-century baseball history, and portrays a classic, colorful era when baseball was chaotic, struggled over by players, coaches, sportswriters, fans, and owners. It recounts the stormy atmosphere after the Inter-League Wars of 1890 and 1891, when the victorious National League made a bald-faced bid to monopolize major league baseball in the United States, succeeding for eight years with the self-styled “Big League,” which dominated the game while simultaneously gaining infamous notoriety for such high-handed acts as unilaterally capping players’ salaries, failing to protect umpires from physical abuse, and threatening city governments if ballpark attendance dipped.
David Quentin Voigt quotes the Official Historian of Major League Baseball, John Thorn, as he calls out who deserves credit for key baseball rules:
- 90 foot distance between bases
- 9-inning games
- 9 players per side
- a method for calling balls and strikes