Beginning today we are going to embark on something new on In League With America. On these pages in the months ahead I will tell a story of four different baseball seasons…starting with the current one. I have also recently re-discovered most of the daily “box scores” I wrote on my long-defunct website during my 2003 Extra Innings Tour and I will be moving those over to this site and sharing them again during the course of this season. It is amazing to me that twenty years have passed since then.
If you have been subscribed to this site for awhile you will probably remember that two years ago I did a daily recount on the 30th anniversary of the Excellent Adventure. I’ll link back to those daily accounts here too.
Finally, something old is something new. The final season I will cover in these pages this spring and summer took place 75 years ago. In 1948 the Cleveland Indians bested the Boston Braves for the title in a 6-game World Series and I will revisit a bit of what happened in the majors that year but most of the focus will be on the minor league season that year. Why 1948? Because by almost any measure, that year was the high water mark of minor league baseball. Sue Easler and I could have never done our trip in ’48 because there were 438 teams playing in affiliated leagues that season … all to feed players to the 16 major league clubs at the time. The Brooklyn Dodgers had 26 affiliated minor league teams that year; they played in every corner of the USA and Canada. Ten of these teams were actually called The Dodgers. None were called Trash Pandas. It is not hard to imagine that fans in Valdosta, Cambridge (Md.,) Zanesville, Ponca City, Greenwood (Miss.,) Santa Barbara, Nashua, Danville (Ill.,) Newport News and Pueblo identified not only with their version of the Dodgers but the one in Brooklyn as well. Sadly, though, not one of those towns has minor league baseball today. Safe to say most folks in those towns don’t care about the Dodgers anymore or, perhaps, any other major league team either.
2023: The In League With America Tour
It is 31 degrees here at Camp Craib this afternoon and I don’t think it’s too much warmer at Fenway Park in Boston, but it is Opening Day 2023, nevertheless. I must confess, I’m perfectly happy watching the Orioles from the comfort of the couch on this pretty un-springlike day in northern New England.
2003: The Extra Innings Tour
On March 30, 2003 I was watching my alma mater, Syracuse, beat Oklahoma to advance to the Final Four in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. I got my subaru washed and made final preparations…the 2003 trip began the following day.
1991: The Excellent Adventure
March 30, 1991 was a Saturday and I don’t remember for sure but I think Sue and I were busying ourselves with final preparations for leaving the Upper Valley that weekend. We left New Hampshire two days later.
1948: The Golden Year of the Minors
Another thing that was different about the 1948 season than today was that they knew that the weather in March is often not conducive to baseball in a lot of the country. Neither the major league nor minor league season would start for another three weeks. We will begin looking back at the ’48 season on April 1.