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The Blue Grass League, 1909-1912

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THE BLUE GRASS LEAGUE, 1909-1912

The Blue Grass League was admitted to the National Assocation of Professional Baseball Leagues in 1909.

1909 BLUE GRASS LEAGUE (360 games)

 
Winchester Hustlers
75
44
.630
+1 tie
=120 games
 
 
Richmond Pioneers
74
45
.617
+1 tie
=120 games
 
 
Paris Bourbonites
61
57
.516
+4 ties
=122 games
 
 
Frankfort Lawmakers
56
60
.482
+2 ties
=118 games
 
 
Lexington Colts
48
69
.410
+4 ties
=121 games
 
 
Shelbyville Millers
39
78
.333
+2 ties
=119 games
 

The 2nd Edition of the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball shows an extra win for Richmond and an extra loss for Shelbyville. This is incorrect.

Richmond was originally awarded a forfeit victory when the Shelbyville team missed a train connection and failed to appear in Richmond for their game of May 27. Later in the season, however, this decision was thrown out by BGL president George I. Hammond, who ordered a makeup game to be played on September 15. Richmond won 2-1.

Although only the September 15 game was tallied in the final, official league standings, the Encyclopedia mistakenly counted both the May 27 forfeit and the September 15 makeup game.

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1910 BLUE GRASS LEAGUE (386 games)

Paris Bourbonites
80
47
.630
+4 ties
=131 games
 
Lexington Colts
69
56
.552
+8 ties
=133 games
 
Winchester Hustlers*
63
58
.521
+5 ties
=126 games
 
Richmond Pioneers*
62
60
.508
+1 tie
=123 games
 
Frankfort Lawmakers
60
61
.496
+7 ties
=128 games
 
Shelbyville-Maysville
37
89
.294
+5 ties
=131 games
 

The Shelbyville franchise (34-65-2) was transferred to Maysville (3-24-3) August 24.

The 2nd Edition of the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball shows an extra win for Richmond and an extra loss for Winchester. This is incorrect.

On July 4 a forfeit victory was awarded to Richmond when Winchester failed to appear for the morning game of a scheduled morning-afternoon doubleheader. Winchester did arrive later in the day, and the afternoon game was played.

On August 6 BGL president W. C. Ussery ruled that the July 4 forfeit would not count. He determined that the Winchester team had made every effort to get to Richmond on time, but had been foiled by road conditions in the aftermath of heavy rain. Ussery’s ruling was published in full by the Lexington Herald.

Unfortunately, the Richmond victory and Winchester loss were never subtracted from the league standings that were published in the newspapers. Even at the end of the season, the newspaper standings still listed an extra win for Richmond and loss for Winchester.

The official documents of the Blue Grass League have not come to light. Day-by-day newspaper analysis of the Richmond and Winchester seasons reveal no extra game that can account for the anomaly in the standings. It is highly unlikely that these two teams scheduled and played a game that was never reported. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I have concluded that Richmond’s extra win and Winchester’s extra loss are phantoms, and I have not counted them.

No less than 15 newspapers carried news of the Blue Grass League in 1910. These were the Frankfort News, State Journal (Frankfort), Lexington Herald, Lexington Leader, Maysville Bulletin, Maysville Public Ledger, Bourbon News (Paris), Kentuckian-Citizen (Paris), Richmond Climax, Richmond Register, Shelby News, Shelby Record, Shelby Sentinel, Winchester Democrat, and Winchester Sun. The league standings in all of these newspapers, however, must be used with extreme caution, as they were often inaccurate, sometimes grossly so. As a general rule, the later the month, the less accurate the standings.

The State Journal, Lexington Herald, and Lexington Leader were the best sources of BGL box scores. (The other papers carried few or no box scores.) When two box scores of the same game did not agree, I accepted the hometown newspaper’s version in compiling master rosters.

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1911 BLUE GRASS LEAGUE (358 games)

 
Paris Bourbonites
72
44
.621
+2 ties
=118 games
 
Lexington Colts
65
50
.565
+3 ties
=118 games
 
Winchester Hustlers
59
58
.504
+3 ties
=120 games
 
Maysville Rivermen
55
64
.462
+3 ties
=122 games
 
Richmond Pioneers
50
67
.427
+2 ties
=119 games
 
Frankfort Lawmakers
49
67
.422
+3 ties
=119 games
               
First Half (May 9-July 6)
               
 
Winchester
37
22
.627
     
 
Paris
34
23
.596
     
 
Lexington
30
26
.536
     
 
Maysville
25
34
.424
     
 
Frankfort
23
33
.411
     
 
Richmond
24
35
.407
     
               
Second Half (July 7–September 4)
               
 
Paris
38
21
.644
     
 
Lexington
35
24
.593
     
 
Maysville
30
30
.500
     
 
Richmond
26
30
.448
     
 
Frankfort
32
34
.433
     
 
Winchester
22
36
.379
     

The BGL played a split season in 1911. Paris won the postseason playoff with Winchester, 4 games to 0.

The standings above coincide with both my game-by-game logs and the standings that were published in the newspapers at the end of each half season.

The BGL Board of Directors threw out 3 1911 games: Richmond at Paris, May 13; Winchester at Lexington, May 17; and Frankfort at Paris, July 2 (second game). These games were declared “no contest” and ordered to be replayed in their entirety. All individual statistics compiled in these games were wiped out.

Paris’s protest of their May 11 loss to Maysville was upheld, and Paris was declared the winner.

The 2nd Edition of the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball published the following standings for the 1911 Blue Grass League. The origin of these figures is unknown.

 
Paris
71
44
.617
 
 
Lexington
65
50
.565
 
 
Winchester
59
59
.500
 
 
Maysville
55
63
.466
 
 
Frankfort
48
65
.425
 
 
Richmond
47
64
.423
 

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1912 BLUE GRASS LEAGUE (384 games)

 
Frankfort Lawmakers
85
42
.670
+0 ties
=127 games
 
 
Maysville Rivermen
82
47
.634
+0 ties
=129 games
 
 
Richmond Pioneers
65
64
.504
+0 ties
=129 games
 
 
Lexington Colts
60
65
.480
+1 tie
=126 games
 
 
Paris Bourbonites
60
69
.465
+0 ties
=129 games
 
 
Win-Nic-MtS
31
96
.244
+1 tie
=128 games
 

Winchester moved to Nicholasville June 8, then to Mt Sterling June 20.

Frankfort played a postseason series with Clarksville, the champions of the Kitty League. Clarksville won this series 4 games to 2.

The 2nd Edition of the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball shows an extra win for Richmond and an extra loss for Winchester-Nicholasville-Mt Sterling. However, the standings above coincide with both my game-by-game logs and the standings that were published in the newspapers at the end of the season.

The official documents of the Blue Grass League have not come to light. Day-by-day newspaper analysis reveals no extra game that can account for the anomaly in the standings. No forfeits were recorded in the Blue Grass League in 1912, and it is highly unlikely that these two teams played a game that was never reported.

After the Blue Grass League disbanded following the 1912 season, the Lexington and Maysville franchises joined the Class D Ohio State League.

I have compiled complete game-by-game logs and master rosters for each team participating in the Blue Grass League seasons of 1909-12 and 1922-24. None of this material is currently posted on the WWW. However, if you need any of it you may contact me and I’ll do my best to get it to you.

February 2002

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