MINORS 1901

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1901 California League

Baseball seemed to reach a milestone as the new century dawned when a signatory league from California gave the National Agreement coast-to-coast representation. The California League became a six-team league and renamed itself the Pacific Coast League in 1903. It became an eight team league in 1919 and gave us the "weekly scheduled team" for many years after that. Here San Francisco, a team that had been bridesmaid to Sacramento's consecutive championships in 1899 and 1900, outlasts Los Angeles in a neat hover win.

You can see right away the problems with a four team league, or division: the full spectrum of winning percentages is not reached. Here, San Francisco and Oakland, separated at the end by only 11.5 games, finished first and last respectively without ever changing place in standings after mid-May. (Remember, these are Monday morning standings. It is still possible that San Francisco, for example, dropped to second place at the pinch points: mid-June and mid-August.)

Note the "lobster claw" effect after mid-August between San Francisco and Los Angeles, a graphical hallmark of any four team league. Clearly San Francisco and Los Angeles played against each other during that fourth week of August with San Fran getting the better of it. The movements of any team across the graph are reflected in the movements of the other teams. While this is true even for today's behemoth 20-team schedules (including inter-league play) it is most obvious in pennant races with four teams. It even seems Los Angeles and San Francisco played against each other the week before - note the relatively flat line of Sacramento and Oakland. This indicates that the two front-runners may have played at Los Angeles, where LA won most, before moving to a series in San Fran, where SF won nearly all the games of a series.

 

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