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The Blue Grass League, 1922-1924

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THE BLUE GRASS LEAGUE, 1922-24

After operating as a semipro circuit in 1921, the Blue Grass League was readmitted to the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues in 1922.

1922 BLUE GRASS LEAGUE (192 games)

FINAL, UNOFFICIAL:

 
Paris Mammoths
36
28
.563
+0 ties
=64 games
 
 
Maysville Cardinals
33
28
.541
+1 tie
=62 games
 
 
Cynthiana Philanthropists
34
30
.531
+2 ties
=66 games
 
 
Mount Sterling Essex
30
32
.484
+2 ties
=64 games
 
 
Lexington Studebakers
28
35
.444
+1 tie
=64 games
 
 
Winchester Dodgers
28
36
.438
+0 ties
=64 games
 

In the official standings (shown below), one Mt Sterling loss was charged mistakenly to Lexington.

The BGL played a split season in 1922. This arrangement was finalized when the league added a third weekly game (on Saturday) to its twice-a-week format of Thursday and Sunday games.

First Half (April 20-July 8)
   
 
Maysville
16
6
.727
 
Lexington
12
10
.545
 
Paris
12
10
.545
 
Winchester
10
12
.455
 
Cynthiana
9
13
.409
 
Mt Sterling
7
15
.318
   
Second Half (July 9-October 6)
 
 
Cynthiana
25
17
.594
 
Mt Sterling
23
17
.575
 
Paris
24
18
.571
 
Maysville
17
22
.430
 
Winchester
18
24
.428
 
Lexington
16
25
.390

Maysville and Cynthiana played five postseason playoff games (October 8-22). Maysville won three and lost one. The other game ended in a tie.

The final, official standings released by the league office were:

 
Paris Mammoths
36
28
.563
 
 
Maysville Cardinals
33
28
.541
 
 
Cynthiana Philanthropists
34
30
.531
 
 
Mount Sterling Essex
30
31
.492
 
 
Lexington Studebakers
28
36
.438
 
 
Winchester Dodgers
28
36
.438
 

The 1922 standings were significantly altered by several decisions by BGL President Thomas M. Russell.

Russell declared two games “no contest” and ordered them replayed. They were Winchester at Maysville (April 20) and Mt Sterling at Lexington (June 4).

Russell overuled an umpire’s forfeit in Paris’s June 8 game at Mt Sterling. When Paris, which was leading, refused to continue play in rainy conditions, the umpire forfeited the game to Mt Sterling. Russell later declared the game a Paris victory.

Lexington forfeited its final three games when the team failed to appear October 2 and 3 (vs Mt Sterling) and October 4 (vs Winchester).

Additionally, Russell ruled that Lexington had used ineligible players in three of its victories and declared those games forfeits: August 27 (forfeited to Mt Sterling), September 9 (forfeited to Winchester), and September 30 (forfeited to Cynthiana).

My first half standings and the official standings are the same:

 
Maysville Cardinals
16
6
.727
+0 ties
=22 games
 
 
Lexington Studebakers
12
10
.545
+0 ties
=22 games
 
 
Paris Mammoths
12
10
.545
+0 ties
=22 games
 
 
Winchester Dodgers
10
12
.455
+0 ties
=22 games
 
 
Cynthiana Philanthropists
9
13
.409
+0 ties
=22 games
 
 
Mount Sterling Essex
7
15
.318
+0 ties
=22.games
 
               
Second half, mine:
 
               
 
Cynthiana Philanthropists
25
17
.594
+2 ties
=44 games
 
 
Mount Sterling Essex
23
17
.575
+2 ties
=42 games
 
 
Paris Mammoths
24
18
.571
+0 ties
=42 games
 
 
Maysville Cardinals
17
22
.430
+1 tie
=40 games
 
 
Winchester Dodgers
18
24
.428
+0 ties
=42 games
 
 
Lexington Studebakers
16
25
.390
+1 tie
=42 games
 
 
           
Second half, official:
 
               
 
Cynthiana Philanthropists
25
17
.594
+2 ties
=44 games
 
 
Mount Sterling Essex
23
16
.590
+2 ties
=41 games
 
 
Paris Mammoths
24
18
.571
+0 ties
=42 games
 
 
Maysville Cardinals
17
22
.430
+1 tie
=40 games
 
 
Winchester Dodgers
18
24
.428
+0 ties
=42 games
 
 
Lexington Studebakers
16
26
.381
+1 tie
=43 games
 

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1923 BLUE GRASS LEAGUE (291 games)

FINAL, UNOFFICIAL:

 
Cynthiana Cobblers
55
44
.556
+1 tie
=100 games
 
Winchester Dodgers
54
44
.551
+0 ties
=98 games
 
Maysville Cardinals
51
45
.531
+1 tie
=97 games
 
Paris Bourbons
46
50
.479
+1 tie
=97 games
 
Lexington Reos
45
50
.474
+0 ties
=95 games
 
Mount Sterling Essex
38
56
.404
+1 tie
=95 games

Cynthiana won the pennant despite losing 14 games in a row, and 18 of 19, in a stretch that began May 31.

When Maysville did not appear in Winchester for their scheduled games of August 27 and August 28, Winchester was awarded 2 forfeit victories and Maysville 2 forfeit losses, which counted in the standings.

1923: THE RIDDLE OF THE STANDINGS

The Blue Grass League office did not release official team standings to the press at any time during the 1923 season. The Lexington Herald compiled its own daily standings, and these were picked up by the newspapers in the other league cities.

On July 17 the Herald printed these standings. They coincide exactly with my game-by-game logs for each team.

 
Paris Bourbons
31
24
.564
 
 
Maysville Cardinals
28
26
.519
 
 
Winchester Dodgers
29
27
.518
 
 
Lexington Reos
27
28
.491
 
 
Mount Sterling Essex
26
30
.464
 
 
Cynthiana Cobblers
26
32
.448
 

No games were played July 17. The July 18 edition of the Herald printed a revised table:

 
Paris Bourbons
30
23
.566
 
 
Winchester Dodgers
29
27
.518
 
 
Maysville Cardinals
26
26
.500
 
 
Lexington Reos
27
28
.491
 
 
Mount Sterling Essex
26
29
.473
 
 
Cynthiana Cobblers
26
31
.456
 

The following explanation was appended: “A check of all games played in the Blue Grass League this season, made yesterday from the files of the Herald, disclosed that the Winchester Dodgers, and not the Maysville Cardinals, are entitled to second place in the league race.”

The Herald had removed 3 games from its standings: 2 Maysville wins, 1 Paris win, 1 Cynthiana loss, 1 Mt Sterling loss, and 1 Paris loss.

A table the Herald provided of each team’s record against each of its opponents shows that the missing games were a Maysville victory over Mt Sterling, a Maysville victory over Paris, and a Paris victory over Cynthiana.

Why did the Herald revise its standings to remove games that had been played? A possible explanation is that the missing 3 games were thrown out by the league president, Thomas M. Russell. If this happened, however, there is no mention of it in the Herald or any other of the BGL’s hometown newspapers.

There is another possible explanation. Before July 18 Maysville had beaten Mt Sterling, Maysville had beaten Paris, and Paris had beaten Cynthiana in games that were not listed on the original schedule because they were makeup games (games rescheduled after rain postponements). When the Herald checked its files, it may have simply checked those games that were originally scheduled, overlooking the makeup games. I believe this is what happened.

In the absence of information from the league office, the Herald standings, however flawed, were accepted by the state’s other newspapers.

After July 18, the Herald continued to add the results of each day’s games to its revised standings. This it accomplished accurately through August 25. After that date, however, the paper’s standings became a crazy quilt of misinformation. The “Won” and “Lost” columns rarely balanced out. Occasionally a team that won was credited with a loss, and vice versa. Sometimes these mistakes were corrected in a subsequent edition, but not always.

On September 9, the last day of the season, the Herald printed these standings:

 
Cynthiana Cobblers
54
43
.557
 
Winchester Dodgers
53
44
.546
 
Maysville Cardinals
48
45
.516
 
Paris Bourbons
45
47
.489
 
Lexington Reos
44
49
.473
 
Mount Sterling Essex
38
54
.413

These are the standings that found their way into the 1924 Spalding and Reach guides. They do not include the 3 games played on September 9.

The Herald printed its final standings September 10.

 
Cynthiana Cobblers
55
43
.561
 
Winchester Dodgers
54
44
.551
 
Maysville Cardinals
49
45
.521
 
Paris Bourbons
45
48
.484
 
Lexington Reos
44
50
.468
 
Mount Sterling Essex
38
55
.409

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I believe that the standings I have compiled from my game-by-game logs are the accurate summary of what each team accomplished in 1923. I have listed them above as “Final, Unofficial.”

The Blue Grass League’s official papers have not come to light.

The Blue Grass League released no individual or team batting, pitching, or fielding statistics for 1923.

3 box scores were not published in any of the state’s newspapers:

August 5, Mt Sterling at Paris
August 16, Winchester at Mt Sterling
August 19, Maysville at Mt Sterling

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1924 BLUE GRASS LEAGUE (189 games)

 
Paris Bourbons
51
43
.543
+1 tie
=95 games
 
Cynthiana Cobblers
50
43
.538
+1 tie
=94 games
 
Lexington Studebakers
43
50
.462
+2 ties
=95 games
 
Winchester Dodgers
43
51
.457
+0 ties
=94 games

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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