billsportsmaps.com

October 14, 2019

1927 Major League Baseball: map with crests & uniforms, final standings and stats leaders; champions: New York Yankees./+ Illustrated article, 1927 MLB champions: the New York Yankees, perhaps the greatest team in MLB history.

Filed under: Baseball,MLB>1927 map & season,Retro maps — admin @ 7:31 am

mlb_al_nl_1927-map_w-uniforms_logos_standings_stats-leaders_1927-ws-champs_new-york-yankees_post_d_.gif
1927 Major League Baseball: map with crests & uniforms, final standings and stats leaders; champions: New York Yankees




By Bill Turianski on 14 October 2019; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
Sources:
-Baseball-Reference.com, 1927 AL season; 1927 NL season.
-Baseball Hall of Fame’s Dressed to the Nines (uniforms illustrated by Marc Okkonen), exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/database.htm.
-US cities’ populations (1920 figures), biggestuscities.com/1920.
-Attendances. Source: baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/1927-misc.shtml.
Most logos. Source: SportsLogos.net, sportslogos.net/[MLB logos].

From 1903 to 1952 (50 seasons), there were no franchise-shifts in Major League Baseball. The 16 MLB teams from this 50-year period played in only 9 American cities…New York City (3 teams), Chicago (2 teams), Philadelphia (2 teams), Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis (2 teams), Boston (2 teams), Pittsburgh, Washington, and Cincinnati.

Below: a chart of 1920s USA city populations, with 1926 MLB teams noted…
1927_mlb_cities_populations_b_.gif.

    1927 MLB champions: the New York Yankees, perhaps the greatest team in MLB history

Many observers consider the 1927 New York Yankees to be the greatest team ever. The ’27 Yankees featured seven future Hall of Famers: pitchers Herb Pennock and Waite Hoyt, infielders Lou Gehrig (1B) and Tony Lazzeri (2B), outfielders Babe Ruth and Earle Combs, and manager Miller Huggins. After losing to the St. Louis Cardinals 4 games to 3 in the 1926 World Series, the 1927 Yankees went 110-44 (.714). Only 4 other teams have won more games than that…the 1906 Chicago Cubs and the 2001 Seattle Mariners won 116, the 1998 Yankees won 114 and the 1954 Cleveland Indians won 111. But the 1906 Cubs and the 1954 Indians and the 2001 Mariners did not win the World Series in those years. Also, the 1998 Yankees, though they did win the World Series that year, played in the era of the modern-day 162-game season [154-game season until 1960/162-game season in American League since 1961; 162-game season in National League since 1962].

The 1927 Yankees won the American League by 19 games, the most to that point in AL history. (Note: the Chicago Cubs won the National League in 1906 by 20 games.)

Let’s look at the numbers. The 1927 Yankees had a .307 BAvg, a .489 slugging percentage, and scored 975 runs, outscoring their opponents by a record 376 runs. That .489 Slugging Pct. the ’27 Yankees had – as a team – was surpassed by only 5 other individual players on all the other teams in the AL that season. Babe Ruth’s record-setting 60 homers, when added to Lou Gehrig’s 47 HR, accounted for over 25% of all HRs in the AL that season! Gehrig had a then-record 173 RBIs, while Ruth had 165 RBIs. Gehrig hit .373, Ruth hit .356. Plus Ruth drew 137 Walks, while Gehrig drew 109. Tony Lazzeri had 18 HR & 102 RBIs & and hit .309. Lead-off hitter Earle Combs hit .352. Standout pitchers were Waite Hoyt (22-7, 2.63 ERA), Herb Pennock (19-8, 3.00 ERA), and Wilcy Moore (19-7, 2.28 ERA, 19 Saves). But the thing is, once you get past the sublime accomplishments of Ruth and Gehrig that year, as well as the excellent seasons of Lazzeri, Combs, Hoyt, Pennock, and Moore, there were a lot a mediocre players on the 1927 Yankees. As Robert Creamer of Sports Illustrated pointed out, “it may cause raised eyebrows to realize that such journeymen as Gazella, Wera, Durst, Thomas, Paschal, Giard, Grabowski, Morehart and Collins made up almost 40% of that great team’s roster.” {-excerpt from the August 26, 1958 issue of Sports Illustrated, here.}

The 1927 Yankees swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in 4 games to win the ’27 World Series. It was the 24th World Series, and it was first time that an American League team swept a National League team in the competition. (Note: NL Teams had swept their AL opponents 3 times previously: the Chicago Cubs swept the Detroit Tigers in the 1907 WS; the Boston Braves swept the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1914 WS; and the New York Giants swept the Yankees in the 1923 WS.)

And then, the 1928 Yankees would go on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1928 World Series. That was the first time a team had ever swept back-to-back World Series contests. No other MLB team has accomplished that feat of back-to-back World Series sweeps…but the New York Yankees went on to do it two more times…in 1938 & ’39, and in 1998 & ’99.

And those two Yankee teams, along with, of course, the 1927-28 Yankees, show up on many, if not all, lists of greatest-ever MLB teams…such as:
{Bleacher Report’s Official Rankings of the 50 Greatest Teams in MLB History, by Joel Reuter at BleacherReport.com, from March 2014},
{Tom Verducci’s Top 10 Teams of All Time, by Tom Verducci at si.com},
{Determining the Best Major League Baseball Team Ever From 1902-2005, from Baseball-Almanac.com},
{The Best MLB Teams Of All-Time, According To Elo, by Reuben Fischer-Baum at FiveThirtyEight.com, from May 2016}…
(For the record, the first 3 of the 4 lists above rank the 1927 Yankees as the best MLB team ever; the list at the 538.com ranks the 1927 Yankees the second-best ever, giving the nod to the Joe DiMaggio-led Yankees of 1939.)

Below: the 1927 New York Yankees & Babe Ruth’s record-setting 60 Home Run season…
1927_ny-yankees_ruth_gehrig_combs_lazzeri_ruth-hits-60-hr_yankees-sweep-pirates-in-1927-world-series_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – 1927 NY Yankees road jersey script logo, from mitchellandness.com. “Murderers Row”, featuring Gehrig, Ruth, Combes, Lazzeri [colorized photo circa 1927], unattributed at ebay.com. Babe Ruth, photo unattributed at sabr.org. Ruth crosses the plate and is congratulated by teammate Bob Meusel, after hitting the historic 60th Home Run, photo by NY Daily News at nydailynews.com. New York Daily News front page from Oct. 1 1927 [Babe Ruth hits historic 60th HR), via Baseball by B Smile [twitter.com/@bsmile]. Game 4 of the 1927 World Series, Oct. 6 1927 – NY 4, Pittsburgh 3: photo from the stands at Yankee Stadium…action from the 1st-inning, as Babe Ruth (who later hit a HR in the 5th) has just singled; Earle Combs rounds 3rd to tie the game up 1-1. The Yankees swept the Pirates in 4 games, for their second WS title. This was the first sweep of a National League team by an American League team…photo unattributed at Old Time Baseball Photos twitter.com/[@OTBaseballPhoto].

1927 MLB stats leaders…
ERA, Wilcy Moore (NYY). Wins, Charlie Root (CHC). WAR for pitchers, Tommy Thomas (CHW). BAvg, Harry Heilmann (DET). HR, Babe Ruth (NYY). RBI, Lou Gehrig (NYY). OPS, Babe Ruth (NYY). WAR, Babe Ruth (1927).


Photo and Image credits on the map page…
1927 WS champions New York Yankees…
1927 NY Yankees road jersey script logo, from mitchellandness.com. Babe Ruth [photo from 1927], photo from Getty Images via biography.com. Lou Gehrig [photo circa 1927], unattributed at fineartamerica.com. Earle Combs [photo circa 1926], unattributed at ebay.com. Tony Lazzeri [photo circa 1927], from Baseball Hall of Fame via si.com/all-time-yankees-lineup. Waite Hoyt [photo circa 1927], photo from National Baseball Hall of Fame Library via Getty Images via gettyimages.com. Wilcy Moore [colorized photo circa 1929], colorized photo unattributed at pinterest.com. Bob Meusel [photo circa 1927], unattributed at espn.com. Manager, Miller Huggins [photo circa 1924], unattributed at pinterest.com.
1927 WS G4 ticket, from pixels.com.
1927 WS press pin, from may16.hugginsandscott.com.
Murderers Row, featuring Gehrig, Ruth, Combes, Lazzeri [colorized photo circa 1927], unattributed at ebay.com.
1927 MLB stats leaders…
Wilcy Moore (NYY) [photo circa 1928], unattributed at pinterest.com. Charlie Root (CHC) [photo circa 1927], unattributed at sabr.org. Harry Heilmann (DET) [photo from 1927], unattributed at quora.com. Tommy Thomas (CHW) [photo circa 1927], photo by Sporting News and Rogers Photo Archive via Getty Images via gettyimages.co.uk. Babe Ruth (NYY) [photo circa 1927], McMahon Archive at amazon.com. Lou Gehrig (NYY) [photo circa 1928], unattributed at mondoudinese.it. Babe Ruth (NYY) [photo circa 1927], from Bettman-Corbis/Getty Images via si.com.

Colorized photo of Philadelphia Athletics 1925-27 elephant-logo jersey, photo unattributed and colorized by Natalia Valiukevich/mediadrumworld.com via dailymail.co.uk/article.

___
Thanks to all at the following links…
Sources:
-Baseball-Reference.com, 1927 AL season; 1927 NL season.
-Baseball Hall of Fame’s Dressed to the Nines (uniforms illustrated by Marc Okkonen), exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/database.htm.
-US cities’ populations (1920 figures), biggestuscities.com/1920.
-Attendances. Source: baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/1927-misc.shtml.
Most logos. Source: SportsLogos.net, sportslogos.net/[MLB logos].

May 29, 2019

1926 Major League Baseball: map with crests & uniforms, final standings and stats leaders; champions: St. Louis Cardinals.

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball-1926 MLB season,Retro maps — admin @ 8:27 pm

mlb_al_nl_1926-map_w-uniforms_logos_standings_stats-leaders_1926-ws-champs_st-louis-cardinals_post_f_.gif
1926 Major League Baseball: map with crests & uniforms, final standings and stats leaders; champions: St. Louis Cardinals



By Bill Turianski on 29 May 2019; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Sources:
-Baseball-Reference.com, 1926 AL season; 1926 NL season.
-SportsLogos.net.
-Baseball Hall of Fame’s Dressed to the Nines (uniforms illustrated by Marc Okkonen), exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/[Dressed to The Nines database].
-US cities’ populations (1920 figures), biggestuscities.com/1920.
-Attendances. Source: baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/1926-misc.shtml.

Links…
-An article on the St. Louis Cardinals circa 1926 to 1934…1926-34: The St. Louis Cardinals Were as Dominant as the Great Yankees Teams (by Harold Friend at bleacherreport.com).
-An article on Rogers Hornsby, who has the 2nd-best all-time Batting Average in MLB history (at .358, which is second only to Ty Cobb’s .367 BAvg)…Rogers Hornsby (by C. Paul Rogers III at sabr.org). {Excerpts: ‘Any conversation about the greatest hitter in baseball history must include Rogers Hornsby…’ …‘Although the assessment seems rather harsh given the competition, Bill James has characterized Hornsby as perhaps the biggest “horse’s ass” in baseball history, ahead of even Ty Cobb’.}
-An article on Grover Cleveland Alexander…Alexander provides ultimate relief for Cardinals in 1926 World Series (by Craig Muder at baseballhall.org).

-Here is a link to my map-and-post of 1925 MLB: 1925 Major League Baseball: Map with logos & uniforms. Including final standings, top players, and attendance + 1925 World Series winners: Pittsburgh Pirates. That post (from April 2019) also contains descriptions of the map template used there (and here), as well as a city-by-city look at Major League attendance from the 1920s.

From 1903 to 1952 (50 seasons), there were no franchise-shifts in Major League Baseball. The 16 MLB teams from this 50-year period played in only 9 American cities…New York City (3 teams), Chicago (2 teams), Philadelphia (2 teams), Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis (2 teams), Boston (2 teams), Pittsburgh, Washington, and Cincinnati.

Below: a chart of 1920s USA city populations, with 1926 MLB teams noted…
1926_mlb_cities_populations_top-25-USA-city-populations-1920_h_.gif

In 1926, led by player/manager Rogers Hornsby, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the New York Yankees in 7 games, to win their first World Series title. The Cardinals have won the second-most World Series titles, 11 (their last being in 2011). Those eleven World Series titles won by St. Louis are second only to the 27 titles won by the New York Yankees.

1926 MLB stats leaders…
ERA: Lefty Grove (Philadelphia Athletics).
Wins: George Uhle (Cleveland Indians).
BAvg: Heinie Manush (Detroit Tigers).
HR: Babe Ruth (New York Yankees).
RBI: Babe Ruth (New York Yankees).
OPS: Babe Ruth (New York Yankees).
WAR: Babe Ruth.(New York Yankees)
WAR for pitchers: George Uhle (Cleveland Indians).
___
Photo and Image credits on the map page…
1926 WS champions St Louis Cardinals (banner)…
Shoulder-patch crest, from hofmwholesale.com. 1926 STL cap, from dugout-memories.com. 1926 STL WS ring, from pinterest.com. 1926 WS [Sportsman's Park] program, from baseball-almanac.com/ws/yr1926.
Rogers Hornsby [photo circa 1926], unattributed at rogershornsby.com. Rogers Hornsby [1961 Golden Press card] from amazon.com. Les Bell [photo from 1926], gettyimages.com. Bob O’Farrell [photo circa 1926], unattributed at sabr.org. Ray Blades [photo circa 1930], photo by Sporting News and Rogers Photo Archive via gettyimages.com. Jim Bottomley [photo circa 1925], unattributed at baseballhall.org/hall-of-famers/bottomley-jim. Bill Sherdel [photo from 1929], photo by Sporting News and Rogers Photo Archive via gettyimages.com.

1926 MLB stats leaders…
Lefty Grove (PHA) [photo from 1925], photo by Charles M Conlon via sports.mearsonlineauctions.com. George Uhle (CLE) [photo from 1926], photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via gettyimages.ca. George Uhle (CLE) [photo from 1927], photo by Sporting News and Rogers Photo Archive via gettyimages.co.uk. Heinie Manush (DET) [photo circa 1924], unattributed at findagrave.com. Babe Ruth (NYY) [photo circa 1925], unattributed at pinterest.com. Babe Ruth (NYY) [colorized photo circa 1926], unattributed/colorized by Jecinici via reddit.com/r/yankees.

-Colorized photo of Philadelphia Athletics 1925-27 elephant-logo jersey, photo unattributed and colorized by Natalia Valiukevich/mediadrumworld.com via dailymail.co.uk/article.

Thanks to all at the links below,
-University of Texas at Austin online archive (Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection), legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/united_states.html.
-Baseball-Reference.com, 1925 AL season; 1925 NL season.
-Major League Baseball (en.wikipedia.org).
-SportsLogos.net.
-Baseball Hall of Fame’s Dressed to the Nines (uniforms illustrated by Marc Okkonen), exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/database.htm.
-MLB.cm/shop.
-US cities’ populations (1920 figures), biggestuscities.com/1920.

April 12, 2019

1925 Major League Baseball: Map with logos & uniforms. Including final standings, top players, and attendance + 1925 World Series winners: Pittsburgh Pirates.

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball-1925 MLB season,Retro maps — admin @ 1:13 pm

mlb_al_nl_1925-map_w-uniforms_logos_standings_stats-leaders_1925-ws-champs_pittsburgh-pirates_post_u_.gif
1925 Major League Baseball: map with crests & uniforms, final standings and stats leaders; champions: Pittsburgh Pirates



By Bill Turianski on 12 April 2019; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Sources
-Baseball-Reference.com, 1925 AL season; 1925 NL season.
-Major League Baseball (en.wikipedia.org).
-SportsLogos.net.
-Baseball Hall of Fame’s Dressed to the Nines (uniforms illustrated by Marc Okkonen), exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/database.htm.
-MLB.cm/shop.
-US cities’ populations (1920 figures), biggestuscities.com/1920.

This is a new template and category: MLB retro maps. I plan on posting maps of MLB, from 1925, on into the 1930s.

Aspects of the map-and-chart:
A). 1925 location-map of the 16 MLB teams. Home cities listed, then franchises listed in smaller text below the home-city name. Each team (franchise) has at least one logo from that year (in this case, 1925); the logos are sized to reflect average attendance from that season: the higher-drawing teams have larger logos-and-or-multiple-logos. In this case, that applies to the top-drawing teams in the NL in 1925 (the Pirates, the NY Giants, the Brooklyn Robins [aka Dodgers], and the Cubs), and it applies to the top-drawing teams in the AL in 1925 (the Philadelphia Athletics, the White Sox, the Senators, the Tigers, and the Yankees). Similarly, the lower-drawing teams in MLB that season have much smaller logos on the map (in this case, such as the Red Sox and the Phillies).

B). Population of US cities (1920 figures). A small chart showing the 25-then-largest cities of the USA in 1920 is shown at the upper-left-hand side of the map. MLB representation-by-city is noted there. Populations of MLB cities in the 1920s, and drawing-power of the 16 MLB teams from this era, is discussed below.

C). Attendance {data from baseball-reference.com}.  1925 average attendances are shown at the upper-right of the map. They are also shown below. Further below is an article about MLB attendance team-by-team, circa the 1920s.

D). World Series champions (for 1925, the Pittsburgh Pirates). World Series champions are represented by a prominent section at the top of the map. Shown are uniforms and logos, and World Series winners’ rings (or jeweled stick-pin, in this case). Also shown is photo of a ticket from one of the WS games that year (or maybe a souvenir program from the WS that year, or a Press pin). A photo of the manager of the WS winner is shown, along with 5 or 6 or 7 photos of the top players on the WS-winning team that year. (Top players are determined by WAR [Wins After Replacement].) Players who have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame [HoF] are noted, by a bronze-colored square with year of HoF election listed.

E). Top players in MLB for that season are shown at the foot of the map. Photos of stats leaders in several categories are shown…for Pitchers: ERA, Wins, and WAR (Pitchers); for Position-Players: Batting Average (BAvg), HR, RBI, OPS, and WAR. Again, HoF players are noted.

F). MLB team sections: flanking sections, in alphabetized chart-form, show the 8 NL franchises (of 1925) on the far-left of the map, and the 8 AL franchises (of 1925) on the far-right of the map.

(Note: all 16 of the MLB franchises from this era still exist, although, of course, some franchises [9 franchises] have moved to different cities.) In each franchise’s rectangular box is shown their uniforms from that season, and at least one of their primary logos from that season, along with a narrow bar that is in the team’s colors that season. A photo of the present-day-franchise’s home ball cap is shown [2019 caps]. And franchise info is shown for each team, including: years of existence [seasons in NL or AL], location(s), league-titles [Pennants] and MLB titles [WS titles], plus any franchise movements. Standard abbreviations for each team are used. As far as former teams go, to avoid any confusion, I used baseball-reference.com’s abbreviations. {Here: baseball-reference.com/about/[team_IDs](aka abbreviations).}

G). NL and AL final standings and the World Series result, for that year, are shown in the lower-right-hand side of the map, in a rectangle which is the approximate color of a faded old newspaper. I used a Times Roman font in this section to further evoke the newsprint style of that era.

I tried to make the map look like it was printed in a newspaper from ninety years ago, but then inlaid with full-color logos.

I will post my 1926 MLB map (featuring 1926 WS champions the St. Louis Cardinals), in late May 2019.

    A look at MLB attendance, circa the mid-1920s, by city

(There were 10 cities with MLB teams back then)…

1925 MLB Average Attendance
PHA 11.2 K
CHW 10.8 K
WSH 10.7 K
DET 10.6 K
PIT 10.4 K
NYG 10.2 K
NYY 8.8 K
BRO 8.5 K
CHC 8.0 K
CIN 6.1 K
SLB 5.9 K
CLE 5.4 K
STL 5.3 K
BSN 4.1 K
PHI 3.9 K
BOS 3.5 K
Source:
baseball-reference.com/[1925/MLB/attendance+misc.].

Overall, MLB attendances from the 1920s are rather low by modern standards. But this was in an era before night games, and A-shift workers were at work when most MLB games were played back then (in other words, the working-class baseball fan in the 1920s would usually only be able to get to the ballpark on weekends). Circa 1925, a high-drawing MLB team would be defined as one who drew as little as 10-to-13 K. When the Yankees started dominating in the 1927-28 time period, they were still playing to a whole lot of empty seats at Yankee Stadium, drawing only 15.1 K per game in 1927, and 13.9 K in ’28. It wasn’t until after World War II that MLB teams began drawing in the 15-to-25-K range, and even into the 1950s, the attendances seem pretty low compared to modern figures. For example, 30 years after 1925, in 1955, the top-drawing MLB team was the Milwaukee Braves at 23.1 K per game, while the New York Yankees, then at the peak of their domination of Major League Baseball, were drawing 2nd-best at just 19.3 K.

Generally speaking, the three biggest influences on crowd-size were (and still are): the size of the city itself, the success of the ball club at that point in time, and the quality of the venue.

New York, NY (this city had 3 MLB teams in 1925): The 3 New York City-based teams generally had higher attendances than, say, teams from much smaller cities, like Cincinnati: that’s just logical [NYC had about a 5.6 million population in 1920].

Brooklyn Dodgers: In 1925, the Brooklyn National League ball club was then known as the Robins, although many Brooklynites did also call them the Dodgers. Brooklyn was pretty bad for long periods of time in both the 1920s and the ’30s, and in 1925 they finished in second-to-last (7th place), but Brooklyn still drew a decent 8.1 K per game at Ebbets Field.

New York Giants: The New York baseball Giants, at the Polo Grounds in northern Manhattan, were good enough for 2nd place in the NL in 1925, and the Giants drew a solid 10.2 K per game. The Giants were a dominant team of the early 1920s, coming off of 4 straight NL Pennants and 2 WS titles (in 1921 & ’22).

New York Yankees: A mile east of the NY Giants, across the narrow Harlem River, in the Bronx, were the then-upstart New York Yankees, at their new palace of baseball, Yankee Stadium. The Yankees had been renters of the Giants at the nearby Polo Grounds from 1913 to 1922, but the Giants kicked the Yankees out when they started stealing their media-attention and drawing better than them. (The original Yankee Stadium had opened in April 1923.) The Yankees had won their first AL pennants in 1921 and ’22, and were first-time World Series champions in 1923. The Yankees drew 13-to-15-K per game through these 3 years (1921-23). The Yankees had an off-season in 1925, and finished in 7th in the AL, and their gates reflected that, with an average crowd of 8.8 K (down about 7 K per game, from four years earlier).

Chicago, IL (this city had 2 MLB teams in 1925): America’s second-city back then was Chicago, IL [Chicago had a population of 2.7 million in 1920]. Chicago’s 2 MLB teams – the White Sox and the Cubs – drew well, especially when they fielded competitive teams, but even when losers, both still drew better than most (similar to the 3 NYC teams). Both teams had been successful earlier on, but by the mid-1920s had fallen into mediocrity.

White Sox: At the old Comiskey Park on the South Side of Chicago, the AL’s White Sox drew 10.1 K per game as a 5th place team in 1925.

Cubs: The Chicago Cubs finished in last in the National League in 1925, yet still drew 8.0 K per game at Cubs Park [which was re-named Wrigley Field in 1926].

Philadelphia, PA (this city had 2 MLB teams in 1925): Third-largest city in America in 1920 was Philadelphia, PA [1.8 million population back then]. And there, it was a case of one Philly ball club with very strong drawing power (the Philadelphia Athletics), and one Philly ball club which was a perennially poor-drawing basement-dweller (the Philadelphia Phillies).

Philadelphia Athletics: The Athletics were successful (6 AL pennants and 3 WS titles up to that point), and they had an excellent venue back then (Shibe Park). In 1925, as a 2nd-place team, the Athletics drew best in MLB, at 11.2 K per game.

Philadelphia Phillies: The Philadelphia Phillies played at the bandbox that was the Baker Bowl; in 1925 they drew 2nd-lowest in 1925, at 3.9 K per game, and finished in 6th.

St. Louis, MO and Boston, MA (both these cities had 2 MLB teams each in 1925): Of the 5 cities with multiple MLB teams in this era (New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Boston), the two smallest of those cities, St. Louis and Boston, had teams that very often struggled at the gate, especially when they were lousy. (Both St. Louis and Boston only had about .75 million people back in 1920.)

Boston, MA: The Boston Red Sox were bad in the 1920s, and averaged sparse crowds at Fenway Park, in the abysmal 3-to-4 K-per-game range; ditto the Boston Braves, at Braves Field.

St. Louis, MO: St. Louis had a big-team/small-team-dynamic like the one in Philadelphia: one very-often-competitive team (the St. Louis Cardinals) that drew generally much better than the local basement-dwellers (the St. Louis Browns). Ironically, the better-drawing and more successful team in St. Louis – the Cardinals – were renters to the sad sack Browns, at the old Sportsman’s Park there.

Detroit, MI and Cleveland, OH: In the 1920s, there were two cities that only had one Major League team (an American League team), yet were slightly larger than the two-team cities of St. Louis and Boston. Those two cities were Detroit, MI [the 4th-largest city in the USA in 1920 with a .99 million pop], and Cleveland, OH [at .79 million, the 5th-largest in 1920].

Detroit Tigers: At Navin Field [Tiger Stadium], Detroit could draw strong crowds: they drew 10.6 K per game as a mediocre .513 Pct/4th place team in 1925. The Tigers remained a top-5-drawing team through most of the 1920s.

Cleveland Indians: Cleveland had less drawing power; they drew 5.4 K in 1925 at League Park, as a 6th place team. The following season of 1926 saw the Indians in a pennant-race, yet they drew an underwhelming 7.8 K.

(Note: the 8th-largest city circa the 1920s was Baltimore, MD [.73 million], but Baltimore, which had a very successful NL franchise in the late 1800s [Baltimore Orioles (I) (1882-99)], was shut out of the Majors from 1903 to 1953. Baltimore had had an AL team in the American League’s first two seasons [Baltimore Orioles (II) (1901-02)], but that franchise moved to New York in 1903, to become the NY Highlanders [then changed their name to the NY Yankees in 1913].) Baltimore would have to be content with a minor league ball club for five decades, before the city lured the struggling St. Louis Browns AL franchise to move to Baltimore and become the Baltimore Orioles (III) in 1954.)

Pittsburgh Pirates: Ninth-largest city in America in the 1920s was Pittsburgh, PA [.58 million]. The Pirates played at Forbes Field from 1909 to 1970. Pittsburgh drew well when they were winning (like in the 1925-29 time period). And the Pirates had the highest NL attendance, and the 5th-highest attendance in all of MLB in 1925, at 10.4 K per game. Under manager Bill McKechnie, the 1925 Pirates were the Major League champions, defeating the reigning champs, the Washington Senators, 4 games to 3, in the 1925 World Series.

Washington, DC and Cincinnati, OH: That covers 14 of the 16 MLB teams circa 1925. The other two MLB teams back then came from considerably smaller cities: Washington, DC [14th-largest US city in 1920 at .43 million], and Cincinnati, OH [16th-largest US city in 1920 at .40 million]. Back then, Washington, DC and Cincinnati, OH, both with populations of around 400,000, were almost half the size of cities like St. Louis or Boston. So it’s not surprising that both MLB teams from these two smaller cities generally drew low crowds.

Washington Senators: But in 1925, the Washington Senators were reigning World Series champs (the Senators won their only WS title in 1924). And in 1925, the Washington Senators were en route to a second-straight AL pennant title, and consequently had some of the largest crowds that year (the Senators drew 3rd-best in all of MLB in 1925, at 10.7 K per game at Griffith Stadium). But to give you an idea of how unusual that was for the often hapless Senators, that 10.7 K per game that Washington drew in 1925 would not be surpassed by the team until 21 years later, in 1946.

Cincinnati Reds: As for Cincinnati, they could maintain somewhat decent crowds when marginally competitive. In 1925, the Reds finished in 3rd in the NL, 7 games above .500, and drew 6.1 K. Which is not bad at all for the team from the smallest MLB city of the 1920s. The Reds played at Crosley Field (1912-1970).

1925 MLB stats Leaders.
ERA: Dolph Luque, Cincinnati Reds.
Wins: Dazzy Vance, Brooklyn Robins.
Batting Avg: Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals.
HR: Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals.
RBI: Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals.
On Base+Slugging Pct (OPS): Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals.
Wins Above Replacement (WAR):
(Position Players): Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals.
(WAR for Pitchers): Herb Pennock, New York Yankees.

___
Photo and Image credits on the map page…
Base map: Outline map of USA from University of Texas at Austin online archive (Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection), legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/united_states.html; legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/united_states/usa_blank2.jpg.

Banner: 1925 WS champs, Pittsburgh Pirates…
1925 WS ticket, from hugginsandscott.com. Ticket-stub segment, from sports.ha.com/1925-world-series-game-seven-full-tickets-sheet.1925 Pirates uniforms, illustrations by Marc Okkonen at exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/[1925-PIT]. 1925 Pirates jersey [original], from sports.mearsonlineauctions.com. 1925 Pirates jeweled pin (1925 WS champions pin), from tjscollectiblesinc.com. Bill McKechnie [photo from 1925 WS], unattributed at wilkinsburghistory.wordpress.com. Kiki Cuyler [photo from 1925], unattributed at sabr.org. Max Carey [photo circa 1922], unattributed at sportsecyclopedia.com. Glenn Wright [colorized photo from 1925], photo unattributed/colorized by Baseball In Color at twitter.com/@BaseballInColor; unattributed at pinterest.com. Vic Aldridge [photo from 1925], unattributed at amazon.com. Pie Traynor [colorized photo from 1925], photo unattributed/colorized by Baseball In Color at twitter.com/@BaseballInColor. Lee Meadows [photo from 1927], from Detroit Public Library digitalcollections.detroitpubliclibrary.org.

1925 MLB Stats leaders…
Dolph Luque [photo circa 1923], photo from twitter.com/[@Reds]. Dazzy Vance [photo from 1925], photo unattributed at ebay.com. Rogers Hornsby [photo from 1925], photo by Sporting News and Rogers Photo Archive via Getty Images at gettyimages.com. Rogers Hornsby [US Postal Service stamp from 2000], from mysticstamp.com. Herb Pennock [photo circa 1926], photo unattributed at 1927-the-diary-of-myles-thomas.espn.com/herb-pennock.

Colorized photo of Philadelphia Athletics 1925-27 elephant-logo jersey, photo unattributed and colorized by Natalia Valiukevich/mediadrumworld.com via dailymail.co.uk/article.

Thanks to all at the links below,
-University of Texas at Austin online archive (Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection), legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/united_states.html.
-Baseball-Reference.com, 1925 AL season; 1925 NL season.
-Major League Baseball (en.wikipedia.org).
-SportsLogos.net.
-Baseball Hall of Fame’s Dressed to the Nines (uniforms illustrated by Marc Okkonen), exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/database.htm.
-MLB.cm/shop.
-US cities’ populations (1920 figures), biggestuscities.com/1920.

June 9, 2018

Baseball: MLB representation in the largest metropolitan statistical areas (USA & Canada).

Filed under: Baseball — admin @ 1:19 pm

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Baseball: MLB representation in the largest metropolitan statistical areas (USA & Canada).


By Bill Turianski on 9 June 2018; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Sources…[note: data was retrieved on 2 March 2018; some population data may have changed depending upon when the links below are later accessed]…
-List of metropolitan statistical area [in the USA];
-List of census metropolitan areas and agglomerations in Canada;
-San Juan, Puerto Rico (en.wikipedia.org).

The chart shows all cities in USA and Canada which have a metropolitan statistical area population of over 1 million. The MLB teams from each city are shown at the far right (via current [2018] home ball-cap logos).

I made this chart because I am trying to understand why MLB is so reticent to pull the plug on the dismally-drawing Tampa Bay Rays (and perhaps the similarly-dismally-drawing Oakland A’s).

And if you think I am exaggerating the problem, that would mean you have not been looking at attendance figures recently, because it really is that bad…currently [June 9 2018], the Rays are drawing 13.8 K and the A’s are drawing 15.4 K (plus the Marlins are drawing 10.5 K, but they’ll never move the Marlins out of Miami, which has to be the worst sports-supporting town in America). Here are the current MLB attendance figures {espn.com/mlb/attendance}.

I think, and a whole lot of other people also think, that MLB should be sending the Rays (and perhaps the A’s) to somewhere else…somewhere else where attendance would be much, much higher than the 14-or-15-K-per-game that the Rays (and the A’s) have been drawing. Like Montreal [the 16th-largest city in USA-and-Canada]. Or maybe Portland, Oregon [the 28th-largest city in the USA/Canada]. Or maybe Charlotte, North Carolina [the 25th-largest city in USA/Canada]. Or maybe San Antonio, Texas [the 27th-largest city in the USA/Canada].

-Montreal Expos ownership group positioned for MLB relocation (by Mat Germain on April 12 2018 at draysbay.com).
-How Portland lands a Major League Baseball team… (by John Canzano on June 5 2018 at oregonlive.com/sports).

Anywhere else? I doubt it. I don’t really think there are any other cities that could support an MLB team. Because that entails 81 home games a year. And that entails having the wherewithal to fund and build a modern venue. And that entails having the possibility of creating a fan-base capable of supporting the team. And that also entails a situation where the other major league teams there (or the big-time D-1 college teams, there) wouldn’t siphon off a big chunk of support from a theoretical MLB team there.

What I am saying is this…It is a lot harder to successfully maintain an MLB team, than it is to maintain an NFL or an NHL or an NBA team. And I don’t think Vancouver or San Juan or Sacramento or Las Vegas or Austin or Columbus or Indianapolis or Nashville or Virginia Beach/Norfolk or Providence are capable of supporting an MLB team.

But San Jose sure as heck could support an MLB team. However, moving the A’s slightly south to San Jose is impossible, in the current climate, thanks to the restraint of trade that the San Francisco Giants and the MLB front office is engaging in. Restraint of trade that is screwing the Athletics’ franchise {see this, U.S. Supreme Court rejects San Jose’s bid to lure Oakland A’s (sfgate.com from 2015)}. Lawyers representing the city of San Jose: “More baseball fans [would] watch the A’s in San Jose than in Oakland, and they [would] enjoy the games in more pleasant surroundings,” the city’s lawyers said. “To bar the A’s from moving is to reduce consumer welfare, for the sole benefit of a competing producer, the [San Francisco] Giants. This is precisely the harm that antitrust law is designed to prevent.” (See 2 paragraphs further below, in the B. section, for more on that).

The subtitle of this chart could very well be “one reason why the Cleveland Indians draw so poorly”. I say that, because look how small metro-area Cleveland, Ohio is now…it is only the 36th-largest city in the USA-and-Canada these days. Cleveland’s population hasn’t shrunk as much as that of the uber-Rust-Belt city, Detroit, but it is close. Once upon a time, in 2000, the Cleveland Indians actually had the highest attendance in MLB. But that was because, back then (18 years ago), the Indians were a very good ball club PLUS the fact that: the Indians had a shiny new stadium, the Cavaliers sucked back then, the Browns were bad and were just out of “hibernation” (from 1996-98), the local economy wasn’t so ravaged, and the metro-area of Cleveland was about 20% larger. The population decline in Cleveland is even worse if you look at from a long-term perspective…since 1950, the city of Cleveland has lost 58% of its population {see this, Philadelphia Is Bouncing Back From Problems Still Plaguing Cleveland (by Carl Bialik from July 2016 at fivethirtyeight.com)}.

As to the smallest city to currently host an MLB team, that is Milwaukee, Wisconsin [the 43rd-largest city in the USA-and-Canada]. Home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Well, hats off to Wisconsinites. I say that because the folks of Greater Milwaukee have been giving the decidedly small-market Brewers some pretty darn good attendance figures. {Which you can see, here, in my latest MLB paid-attendance map [2017 figures].} And think about it…the Brewers, from just the the 40th-biggest city in America, have to compete for fans with the nearby and vastly popular Chicago Cubs (as well as the White Sox), plus they also have to compete for fans with the somewhat nearby Minnesota Twins. But the Brew Crew still drew over 31 K per game last year, which was 10th-best in MLB. (By the way, the Brewers are doing very well at the moment, with the best record in the National League (at 38-25 [June 9 2018].)

Some things you should know about the population figures on the list
A). The definition of these metropolitan statistical areas are pretty broad. (If you are curious, click here; then click on links there, to see each city’s defined metropolitan statistical area [as defined by the US Census Bureau]).
B). And there are some overlaps…For example, Baltimore is part of Washington DC’s metropolitan statistical area, yet Baltimore, Maryland is also part of its own metropolitan statistical area. Which makes sense, when you think about it, because if you are in downtown DC, it is not that much of a schlep to get to the Orioles’ ballpark. Ditto the case with San Jose, California. Not that San Jose has an MLB team. (Though the Oakland A’s sure have tried to move there. But MLB has blocked that, and, supported by court rulings, MLB continues to unfairly allow the San Francisco Giants to own the territory of San Jose, thus effectively utilizing a government-sanctioned form of restraint-of-trade to undermine the Oakland A’s viability as a northern-California-based MLB franchise.) And speaking of San Jose, that city is actually larger (by population) than the city of San Francisco is, these days (true story).
C). I included San Juan, Puerto Rico because Puerto Rico is part of the USA (Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States); plus, the late and lamented Montreal Expos played a bunch of games there, back in the day, right before they moved to DC, to become the Washington Nationals (in 2005). Plus the Twins and Indians played two games there in 2018.
D). I kept the list going well after the smallest MLB city (again, Milwaukee), because I was curious. Plus, I couldn’t resist including my humble town…Rochester, NY…the largest city in the USA without any major league team nor even a D-1 college basketball team (sigh). In case you’re wondering, the second biggest city in that category is Grand Rapids, Michigan, but they got Western Michigan Broncos D-1 football/basketball/hockey just down the road in Kalamazoo. But I digress.
E). If I continued the list, below cities which have a metro-area-population of 1 million, the next cities on the list would be: Honolulu, HI; Tulsa, OK, Fresno, CA; Bridgeport/Stamford, CT; Worcester, MA; Omaha, NB; and Albuquerque, NM. That would take it to all cities in USA and Canada with a metropolitan statistical area population above 900 K.
F). I know this chart is about major league cities in baseball, but it is ultimately also about major league cities in general (and I will be posting a similar chart for the NFL on the 16th of June 2018). So, in that vein…Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is the second-smallest market in the USA-and-Canada to have a major-league team (in NFL, MLB, NBA, or NHL), and has a metropolitan statistical area population of just 778,000.
G). Green Bay, Wisconsin, the smallest city…by far…to have a major league team in the USA-and-Canada, is only the 157th-largest city in the USA, with a metropolitan statistical area population of only 318,000. Go Packers.
___
Thanks to Wikipedia for data.

April 25, 2018

Japan: NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball), 2018 – location map, with profile-boxes of the 12 teams, and NPB titles list (1950-2017).

Filed under: Baseball,Japan,Japan: Baseball — admin @ 12:07 pm

japan_npb-baseball_2018-location-map_with-titles-list_post_b_.gif"
Japan: NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball), 2018 – location map, with profile-boxes of the 12 teams, and NPB titles list (1950-2017)


By Bill Turianski on 25 April 2018; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-Nippon Professional Baseball (en.wikipedia.org).
-reddit.com/r/NPB.
-Official website…npb.jp/eng/teams.
公式サイト…npb.jp.

The map-page…
The map-page features a location-map of the 12 NPB teams in Japan, with team profile-boxes overlaid. The main map is augmented by an inset-map of Greater Tokyo (at the lower-left of the map-page). At the upper-left of the map-page is a globe-map showing Japan’s location in East Asia. Below that, at the far left, is a small multi-color map of Japan, showing the country’s regions within the four primary islands (plus Okinawa) which comprise Japan, as well as NPB representation within those regions. At the upper-right of the map-page is a chart showing NPB titles by team (1950-2017), as well as Central League-/-Pacific League titles won by each team (see: Rules in NPB and league format section 4 paragraphs below for more on that). Below that is a small chart showing NPB representation in Japanese cities (the 8 cities in Japan with a population of more than 2 million in their metro-areas).

The team-profile-boxes feature basic info on the teams, including primary-cap-logo, location and venue, ownership, and titles, plus team mascots. Secondary logos are next to each team’s profile-box.

Demographics of Japan
The population of Japan is around 126.6 million {source: 2017 estimate, here at Japan en.wikipedia page}. This puts Japan as the 10th-most-populous nation on Earth. Japan is not very large in terms of land area, though: it is the 61st-largest country, at 377,972 km-squared (145,936 sq mi). That makes Japan slightly smaller than the US state of Montana, and slightly larger than the nation of Germany. The largest city in Japan (by far) is, of course, Tokyo…which is absolutely gigantic, and has a metro-area population that is the largest on the planet (at ~37.8 million). {Source.} Basically, 30% of the population of Japan resides in Tokyo’s metropolitan area. [Note: again, on the map-page, there is a list of the largest cities in Japan.] Japan has about the 28th-highest adjusted-GDP in the world {see this, List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita).

Nippon Professional Baseball was formed in 1950.
The set-up consisted of 12 teams, with 6 teams in the Central League, and 6 teams in the Pacific League. Like Major League Baseball back then, the teams in one league did not play teams in the other league during the regular season. This 12 team / 2 league format remains to this day. The Japanese mimicry of Major League Baseball’s format continued, when, in 1975, one league – the Pacific League – adopted the Designated Hitter rule (this was 2 years after MLB’s American League instituted the DH rule, while the National League did not). Nippon Professional Baseball continued to take its cues from Major League Baseball when inter-league play between the Central League and the Pacific League was introduced in 2005 (8 years after inter-league play was intstituted in Major League Baseball).

Rules in NPB and league format:
The rules in NPB are the same as in MLB, except with tie games going into extra innings…after 12 innings, the game is declared a tie (a draw) in the standings, except in the post-season, when tied games after 15th innings are abandoned, and then later re-played.

The 2 leagues both play 144-game regular seasons. Unlike in MLB, in Japan, the pennant-winner is crowned before the playoffs begin… the teams with the best regular season records in the two leagues are the Central League Pennant winner and the Pacific League Pennant winner. (In other words, unlike in MLB’s World Series, in Japan, the teams that meet to decide the NPB title in the Japan Series are not necessarily pennant winners.) The top 3 teams in each league make the playoffs. The pennant-winners (again, first place team from the regular season), gets a bye to the second round; while the 2nd-place and 3rd-place finishers play in the First Stage (a 3-game-series). Then the First Stage winners play the Pennant winners in the Second Stage (a 5-game-series). Those two playoff-winners then play for the title, in the Japan Series (a 7-game-series).

Distribution of NPB teams throughout Japan…
While it is true that Japanese baseball franchises do sometimes move, that is part of a broader trend of teams simply going to areas that had been historically ignored by Nippon Professional Baseball. Because as recently as 1988, 30 years ago, 9 of the 12 NPB teams used to be located in just two regions – the Greater Tokyo Bay area [the Kanto region], which previously had 6 teams (5 teams are located there now), and the central Japan/Osaka/Kobe area, which previously had 3 teams (2 teams are located there now). Since then, franchises have moved to Kysuhu Island (where the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks [est. 1989] are located), and Hokkaido Island (where the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters [est. 2004] are located. The Osaka region lost its 3rd team when the Orix BlueWave merged with the Kintetsu Buffaloes. And then when the only-ever players’ strike in NPB (in the late summer of 2004) forced the league to reverse their decision to contract to 11 teams in 2005, the new franchise (the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles) was not re-placed in the Osaka region, but instead put in the Sendai region north of Tokyo. There is one area that has never had an NPB team, and that would probably support one pretty well – the NW Honshu Island (main island) city of Niigata, which is on the west coast on the Sea of Japan. Niigata (population of around .8 million) is home to one of the highest-drawing J-League soccer teams in Japan – Albirex Niigata, who became the first-ever J-League team to average over 40,000 per game, in 2005.

Foreign player restrictions:
4 foreign players on the 25-man active roster allowed, with no organizational limit.

Minor leagues in Japan:
Each NPB team has 1 minor league team in its organization, and most of the minor league teams use the name and uniforms of their parent-club, and the minor league team also plays in the same area as their parent-club (exception – in location: Hokkaido’s minor league team is still located in the Tokyo Bay area).

Japanese-born players in Major League Baseball
Up to the 2018 season, a total of 55 Japanese-born players have played at least 1 game in Major League Baseball. {Source: List of Major League Baseball players from Japan.} The biggest restriction is the 9-year rule, disallowing any NPB player without 9 years’ tenure with a NPB team’s organization, and along with that, another impediment is the ‘Posting’ system {see this: en.wikipedia.org/[Posting system]}.

Current [2018] Japanese-born players in MLB…

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Photo credits above – 1996 BBM Ichiro card, from ebay.com. 2001 [Mariners/Keebler stadium-giveaway-item] Ichiro card, from ebay.com. 2001 Topps Ichiro card, from topps.com.

Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners OF (age 44). Once he finally retires, Ichiro will become the first Japanese-born player to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and he will probably be elected on the first ballot. After all, he is one of the 31 players in all of Major League Baseball history that is in The 3,000 hits club [and there has never been any allegations of doping/steroid abuse wrt Ichiro]. Ichiro, who prefers to be referred to by his first name, played in NPB for 9 seasons with the Orix Blue Wave (1992-2000), where he was a 7-time All-Star (1994–2000), a 3-time Pacific League MVP (1994–1996), and was part of the 1996 Orix Blue Wave team that were NPB champions (see 1996 trading card above). Ichiro was signed by the Seattle Mariners in Nov. 2000, becoming the first Japanese-born position player to sign for an MLB team. In the following year of 2001, amid heavy coverage by both Japanese and North American media, Ichiro was the first player to lead in Batting Average and Stolen Bases (.350/56), since Jackie Robinson did it in 1949. And he became only the second player to win the AL Rookie of the Year award and the AL MVP award (the first was Boston’s Fred Lynn in 1975). Ichiro played 11-and-a-half seasons for Seattle (2001-12), then played 2-and-a-half seasons for the New York Yankees (2012-14), then played 3 seasons for the Miami Marlins (2015-17). He returned to the Seattle Mariners in 2018, as a 44-year-old. Excerpts from the Ichiro Suzuki page at en.wikipedia.org…”Ichiro has established a number of batting records, including MLB’s single-season record for hits with 262. He achieved 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons, the longest streak by any player in history. Between his major league career in both Japan and the United States, Ichiro has the most hits by any player in top-tier professional leagues…In his combined playing time in NPB and MLB, Ichiro has received 17 consecutive selections both as an All-Star and Gold Glove winner, won nine league batting titles and been named MVP four times…He is also noted for his longevity, continuing to produce at a high level while approaching 43 years of age…In total he has over [4,450] hits in his career.”…{Excerpts from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichiro_Suzuki.}

Junichi Tazawa, Miami Marlins Relief Pitcher (RHP) (age 31). Tazawa never played in NPB. He was un-drafted out of high school, and so he played for the company team of Nippon Oil in the corporate league [unaffiliated with NPB], and was MVP in that company-league’s post-season in 2008. It was then, circa late-2008/early-2009 that Tazawa became the first amateur Japanese ballplayer to shun the NPB, and sign with an MLB team (the Boston Red Sox) {see this article from 2008 from ESPN.com, Amateur Tazawa bypassing Japan leagues for MLB}. Tazawa worked middle relief for the Red Sox for 7 seasons (2009; 2011-16), and was part of the Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series championship team, making 13 appearances in the 2013 post-season including 5 appearances in the World Series that year, with these post-season stats: 13 app/1-0/1.38 ERA/7.1 IP. Tazawa has been a middle reliever for the Marlins since 2017.

Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs Starting Pitcher (RHP) (age 31). Played in NPB for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (2005–2011); posted by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters and signed with the Texas Rangers in Jan. 2012. Yu Darvish is the son of an Iranian-born father and a Japanese mother. In NPB, Darvish was a two-time Pacific League MVP (2009, 2011), a 5-time NPB All-Star (2007–2011), and led the Pacific League in Strikeouts 3 times and in ERA twice. Darvish was a member of the 2006 NPB champions the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. In MLB, playing for the Texas Rangers, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and now the Chicago Cubs, Darvish has an overall 18.3 WAR, going 56-44 (3.50 ERA) [as of 24 April 2018]. Darvish’s best season in MLB was in 2013, when he went 13-9 (2.84 ERA) and led the majors in Strikeouts (277, with 80 Walks). Darvish has been a 4-time All-Star (2012–2014, 2017). But Darvish had a bad World Series with the LA Dodgers in 2017, getting bombed in both appearances, going 0-2 with a 21.60 ERA (when the Dodgers lost to the Houston Astros in 7 games). Darvish’s problems continued on into 2018, where he is [as of 24 April 2018] 0-2 (6.86 ERA) for the Cubs.

Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees Starting Pitcher (RHP) (age 29). Played in NPB for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (2007–2013); posted by the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and signed with the New York Yankees in Jan. 2014. Was 6-time NPB All-Star (2007–2009, 2011–2013), and led NPB in ERA twice (2011, 2013); plus Tanaka was a member of the 2013 NPB champions (the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles). Tanaka has been a vital part of the Yankees’ rotation since 2014, with an overall 12.6 WAR, going 55-30 (3.63 ERA) [as of 24 April 2018]. In 2014, Tanaka went 13-5 (2.77 ERA) for the Yankees and was a 2014 All-Star, but injuries kept him from playing most of the second-half of 2014. In 2016, Tanaka went 14-4 (3.04 ERA), with the best WAR for the Yankees that year, at 5.2.

Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers. Starting Pitcher (RHP) (age 30). Played in NPB for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp (2008–2015); posted by Hiroshima Toyo Carp and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in Jan. 2016. Was a 5-time NPB All-Star (2010, 2012–2015). For the Dodgers, Maeda has been a solid starter, going 16-11 (3.48 ERA) in 2016, and 13-6 (4.22 ERA) in 2017.

Yoshahisa Hirano, Arizona Diamondbacks. Relief Pitcher (RHP) (age 34). Played in NPB for 11 seasons with the Orix Buffaloes (2006-07; 2009-17). Hirano had more than the requisite 9 years tenure in NPB, so he didn’t have to be posted. Hirano signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks in Dec. 2017. Was the NPB Middle Reliever of the Year in 2011, and Saves leader in the 2014 Pacific League. So far, Hirano has fit in very well in MLB with Arizona, and [as of 24 April 2018] he has made 11 appearances in middle relief, with a 1-0 record and a 1.74 ERA for the division-leading D-backs.

Kazihisa Makita, San Diego Padres. Relief Pitcher (RHP) (age 33). Played in NPB for the Seibu Lions (2011-17); posted by Seibu Lions and signed by the San Diego Padres in Dec. 2017. Makita has a sidewinder (or submarine) delivery. Was Pacific League Rookie of the Year in 2011, and an NPB All-Star in 2011 and 2013. For the Padres, [as of 24 April 2018] he has 11 appearances in middle relief, with a 4.50 ERA.

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels. Starting Pitcher (RHP) and DH/OF (Bats Left) (age 23). Played in NPB for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (2013–17). Was posted by Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, and was signed by the Los Angeles Angels in Dec. 2017. Ohtani is a dual-threat player who can pitch with speed and finesse AND who can hit for power and for average. Ohtani proved it in Japan, and right now, so far, he is proving he can do it in Major League Baseball. Ohtani was part of the 2016 NPB champions (the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters). As a starting pitcher in NPB, Ohtani had the Pacific League’s best ERA in 2015, and he was voted to the NPB Best Nine as a Pitcher in 2015 and 2016, as well as being voted to the NPB Best Nine as DH in 2016. Which is absolutely unprecedented. Ohtani recalls the pitching-and-slugging skills once displayed by no less than Babe Ruth himself, back in the 1910s and 1920s (Babe Ruth, for the Boston Red Sox in 1919, hit 20 HRs and pitched for a 9-5 record with an ERA of 2.97 in 133 IP). Ohtani’s current MLB numbers: [as of 24 April 2018] 3 HR, 1 Triple, 1 Double and 11 RBIs in 42 AB (a .333 BAvg and a .619 SPct) plus a 2-1 pitching record (4.46 ERA) in 4 GS and 20.1 IP. Ohtani appears to be the real deal, and along with Mike Trout, could very well lead the division-leading Angels to post-season glory soon. {From Deadspin, from the 25th of April, Shohei Ohtani Threw The Ball Hard As F*ck (by Tom Ley at deadspin.com).}
shohei-otani_hokkaido-nippon-ham-fighers_los-angeles-angels_e_.gif
Photo credits above – Ohtani as pitcher and as batter for Hokkaido, 2 photos by Kyodo News/Getty Images via si.com. Ohtani batting for LA Angels, and Ohtani pitching for LA Angels, 2 photos by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.

    2017 Japan Series: Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks beat Yokohoma DeNa BayStars, 4 games to 2. (Fourth NPB title in 7 seasons for Fukuoka.)

2017-japan-series_npb_fukuoka-softbank-hawks_2017-champions_fukuoka-dome_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Dennis Sarfate, photo by Kyodo News via gettyimages.com. Keizo Kawashima, photo by Kyodo News via japantimes.co.jp. Nao Higashihama, photo by Kyodo News via gettyimages.com. Yuki Yanagita, photo by Kyodo News via gettyimages.com.
Alfredo Despaigne, photo by Gaffkey at File:Hawks54-Despaigne.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Fukuoka at twilight, photo by Alamy via theguardian.com/travel/flourishing-fukuoka…. Fukuoka Dome, photo unattributed at blog.gaijinpot.com/fukuokas-seaside-momochi. The Fukuoka Hawks’ balloon-release (a 7th inning tradition at Fukuoka Dome), photo by Brad Merrett at bradmerrett.com/blog/go-hawks. Mascots: photos from softbankhawks.co.jp.

___
Thanks to all at the following links…
-Blank map of Japan, by Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) at File:Japan location map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Globe-map of Japan, by Connormah at File:Japan (orthographic projection).svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Map of Japan’s regions, by Ken Nashi at start-point.net/maps.
-Map of Tokyo (Kantō MMA) metro-area, by Kzaral at File:Tokyo-Kanto definitions, Kanto MMA.png.
-worldatlas.com/articles/10-biggest-cities-in-japan.
-Seibu Lions mascot/photo from store.seibulions.jp.
-Chiba Lotte Marines new mascot (Mystery Fish), image from palusuke.com.
-Hiroshima Toyo Carp mascot (Slyly), illustration from seiga.nicovideo.jp.

-Thanks to MeGaNiNjA (スピードさん) @MegaNiNj4, for requesting this map (via twitter), and for helping me find mascot illustrations.
-Thanks to the guy who runs the twitter feed for the Reddit/NPB page, for finding mistakes, on my map here (twitter.com/NPB_Reddit).

April 14, 2018

Baseball in South Korea: KBO League, 2018 location-map with 2017 attendances and KBO titles list./+ Illustration: 2017 Korean Series champions, the KIA Tigers.

Filed under: Baseball,Korea: baseball — admin @ 4:36 pm

/korea_baseball_kbo-league2018_attendance-map-2017_kbo-titles-list_mascots_post_c_.gif
Baseball in South Korea: KBO League, 2018 location-map with 2017 attendances and KBO titles list


By Bill Turianski on 14 April 2018; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) (en.wikipedia.org).
-KBO teams…KBO League/ Teams (en.wikipedia.org).
-KBO official site/schedule, scores, standings; About KBO, etc. (in English, with Korean option)…http://eng.koreabaseball.com/.
-KBO 리그의 공식 사이트http://www.koreabaseball.com/Default.aspx.

-KBO League bunt contest, http://m.mlb.com/cutfour/2016/07/18/190349428/korean-baseball-organization-holds-bunt-derby-at-all-star-game.
-Bat flips ! (Bat flips rule. ) Best Bat Flips in KBO (3:16 video uploaded in Nov 2016 by Yoriel Lalane at youtube.com).

-My first post on KBO League (from Feb. 2010) has lots of info on the culture of Korean baseball,
Korea Baseball Organization: the 8 teams, with teams’ parent corporations listed, and baseball stadium photos (billsportsmaps.com/February 2010).

-From Deadspin.com…[warning: unfortunately, link is wonky] How To Get Into The KBO, The Wildest, Most Outlandish Baseball League In The World (by Sung Min Kim on March 28 2017 at deadspin.com).

KBO League map-page…
The map-page features a location-map of the 10 KBO League teams, including an inset-map of Greater Seoul. Circular-cap-logos are sized to reflect 2017 average attendance…the larger the circular-cap-logo, the higher the team’s attendance. There are 3 charts to the right of the map/inset-map…one chart for 2017 KBO League Attendance Data, one chart for KBO League Titles List (1982-2017), and one chart that shows all the cities in South Korea with a population above 1 million and the KBO-League-representation there. Plus there is a section that shows KBO League teams’ mascots (via 2016 stamps that were issued by Korea Post). Mascots are big time in Korean baseball (as well as in Japanese baseball). And speaking of Japan, my next post [on the 25th of April] will be of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (2018 NPB location-map with NPB teams’ profile boxes, including mascots, etc./+ Illustration for: 2017 NPB champions, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks).


(Old-content-disclaimer: the next couple of paragraphs are almost verbatim from my last post on the KBO League {from 2015}.)

Demographics of South Korea
The population of South Korea is around 51.4 million {source: 2017 estimate, here at South Korea en.wikipedia page}. This puts South Korea as the 27th-most-populous nation on Earth. South Korea is very small, though: it is the 109th-largest country (at 100,210 km-sq or 66,690 mi-sq). That makes South Korea slightly smaller than Iceland, and slightly larger than Hungary. The largest city in South Korea (by far) is, of course, Seoul…which is absolutely gigantic, and has a metro-area population that is fifth-largest on the planet. Seoul has a special-city population of around 10.1 million, and metro-area population of around 25.6 million ! {2017 figures). Only Tokyo, Japan (at ~37.8 million), Shanghai, Jakarta, and Delhi have larger metro-area populations than does Seoul. {Source.} Basically, half of the population of South Korea resides in Seoul’s metropolitan area. South Korea has about the 30th-highest adjusted-GDP in the world {see this, List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita).

KBO League est. 1982; 10 teams. Season: 144 games/5-team playoffs w/reg-season-winner getting bye to the 5-game Korean Series
Pro major-league baseball in South Korea began in 1982, with the institution of the KBO League as a 6-team league. A minor league was established eight years later in 1990 – the KBO Futures League. In 1986, the KBO League expanded to include a seventh team. In the first decade of its existence, the KBO League as a whole was only drawing in the 5 to 7 K range. By 1991, the KBO League had 8 teams. In 1995, cumulative attendance for the season finally topped 10 K per game, boosted by the exciting 1995 KBO season which saw three teams, the OB Bears, the LG Twins, and the Lotte Giants, go neck-to-neck for the pennant (the title in ’95 was won by the OB, now Doosan, Bears). However, this league attendance figure wasn’t surpassed for 14 years. After 1995, the KBO began to see dwindling fan interest that lasted for about a decade. What first helped reverse the gradual slide in attendances from 1996 to 2004 was the good showing that the South Korean national baseball team had in the first World Baseball Classic, in 2005, when they finished in third. Another boost to the game there came three years later, when South Korea narrowly lost to Japan in extra innings in the second World Baseball Classic, and then six months later, the South Korean baseball team won the gold medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. These results convinced many South Korean sports fans that KBO baseball was a product worth supporting. In 2008, league-wide attendance shot up 2.3 K per game to 10.4 K; the next year [2009] it was 11.1 K, and the KBO League has drawn above 11 K ever since. The health of Korean pro baseball these days can be seen in the fact that there has been recent expansion. The KBO League finally got to 10 teams with creation of a 9th team (the NC Dinos) in 2013, and a 10th team (the KT Wiz) in 2015.

And there is no doubt that the caliber of Korean baseball players has improved in the last 25 years or so. There is a large number of South Koreans playing in Japan, in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). And in the United States (and Canada), in Major League Baseball, there are currently 5 Korean-born players, of which I have brief profiles below.

List of Major League Baseball players from South Korea (en.wikipedia.org).
[Note on Korean nomenclature: first syllables are last-names in Korean (ie, Shin-soo Choo is Mr. Shin).]
Shin-soo Choo: (age 35) Texas Rangers OF, who also played for Mariners, Indians, and Reds (in MLB since 2005). Shin was born and raised in Busan, in southern South Korea. Shin-soo never played in the KBO League, because he was such a good prospect that he was signed out of high school by the Seattle Mariners, and went up through the MiLB farm system. He has hit over 20 HR five times (including 22 HR for the Rangers in 2017), and, as of 14 Apr 2018, has hit 177 HR and has a lifetime .277 BAvg.
Hyun-jin Ry: (age 31) Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Pitcher (LHP), since 2013. Hyun played for Hanwha Eagles in the KBO League (2006-12). He had two 14-win seasons for the LA Dodgers (in 2013 and ’14). Injuries held him back in 2015 and ’16, but this season, as of 14 Apr 2018, he is 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA.
Jung-ho Kang: (age 30) Pittsburgh Pirates 3B/SS. Jung played for the Hyundai Unicorns and the Nexen Heroes in the KBO League. He signed with Pittsburgh in 2015. (The Pirates have long had a vast overseas scouting network, and have a long history, goibng all the way back to the early 1960s, of unearthing and then utilizing talent from abroad.) As of 14 Apr 2018, Jung has amassed a 6.5 WAR, with a .273 BAvg.
Seung-hwan Oh: (age 35) Toronto Blue Jays Relief Pitcher (RHP) (in MLB since 2016). Seung played for the Samsung Lions in the KBO League (2005-13, with two KBO-title-wins in ’12 and ’13). Then he had a 2-year stint in Japan with the NPB team the Hanshin Tigers. Then after signing with St. Louis in 2015, Seung had 39 Saves in 2 seasons with the Cardinals, including a 2.26 ERA in 2016. He now works middle-relief for the Blue Jays.
Ji-man Choi: (age 26) Los Angeles Angels 1B/OF (in MLB since 2016), previously played for the NY Yankees and the Brewers. Ji-man Choi was born and raised in Incheon. Like Shin-soo Choo, Ji never played in the KBO League, because he was signed by an MLB club as a teenager. And also like Shin-soo Choo, Ji-man Choi signed with Seattle [in 2009]. (The Mariners have a pretty extensive scouting network in East Asia.)

Last season [2017], the KBO League averaged 11,668 per game (up 0.7% from 2016). Half the league (5 teams) averaged above 12-K-per-game last season.
Those five higher-drawing teams are listed below (all of whom were charter-members of the KBO League in 1982, except for the SK Wyverns)…
–The two big Seoul-base teams: the LG Twins (colors: Black-and-Magenta), and the Doosan Bears (Midnight-Blue-and-Red). The two have a stadium-share at the 25.5-K-capacity Jamsil Baseball Stadium. The LG Twins are classic under-achievers (with just 2 KBO titles, last in 1994), while the Doosan, and formerly OB, Bears are the third-most titled KBO club, with 5 titles (last in 2016).
-The southern-South-Korea-based Lotte Giants (of second-city Busan), who play in Korea’s largest ballpark, the 26.8-K-capacity Busan Sajik Baseball Stadium. The Lotte Giants are the oldest Korean ball club, formed as an amateur team in 1975. But, just like the LG Twins, they are a high-drawing club that can’t seem to win many titles…they also have only 2 KBO titles (last in 1992). The Lotte Giants used to wear black-and-orange like their namesakes from San Francisco, but switched this season to Navy-Blue-and-Red {see new logos on the map-page}.
-The reigning champs and all-time most-titled team, the Kia Tigers (of 6th-largest city Gwanju). The Bright-Red-and-Navy-clad Tigers have a relatively new ballpark, Gwangju-Kia Champions Field.
-And the SK Wyverns (est. 2000), of Incheon (which is on the north-west coast, about 18 miles west of Seoul, and is part of Greater Seoul, and is also the 3rd-largest city in the country). The Red-and-Orange-clad SK Wyverns have a pretty nice-looking ballpark, the 16-year-old/26-K-capacity Munhak Baseball Stadium. (Note: a wyvern is a half-dragon/-half-snake, as featured on Leyton Orient FC’s crest.) The SK Wyverns have won 3 KBO titles (last in 2010); 3 titles in 18 seasons is a decent trophy-haul.

The most successful ball club in Korea is the aforementioned Kia Tigers, who have won 10 of the 36 KBO titles, including the 2017 title (see illustration further below). Second-most successful club in the KBO is the Samsung Lions, another small-market team that over-achieves: the Lions, of fourth-city Daegu, have won 8 KBO titles (including 4 straight Korean Series titles from 2011-15). Like their Detroit-Michigan-based namesakes, the Samsung Lions wear Cornflower-Blue. Samsung Lions drew 9.7-K in 2017; they have a new ballpark, the 24-K-capacity Daegu Samsung Lions Park, which opened in 2016.

I will round out the rest of the KBO League teams not mentioned above [ie, the 4 lowest-drawing teams], via the bracketed parts within the full list of KBO League teams below…
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KBO_League#Teams
The KBO League is, in 2018, comprised of the following…
5 teams from Greater Seoul/Incheon/Suwon (metropolitan-area Greater Seoul)
3 teams from Seoul’s core-city-region: the Doosan Bears, the LG Twins, and the Nexen Heroes.
[Nexen Heroes, est. 2008, wear Maroon; they have won no titles (see note on map-page titles list for franchise-change-history of Unicorns/Heroes).]
2 teams from Greater Seoul, with one team in South Korea’s third-largest city of Incheon, the SK Wyverns, and
1 team located about 19 miles south of Seoul-city-center in Suwon [the Black-clad KT Wiz, est. 2015].
5 KBO teams from the rest of South Korea
The other 5 teams in the KBO League are comprised as follows [clockwise on the map]…
1 team from the fifth-largest city, Daejon [the Black-and-Orange-clad Hanwah Eagles, est. 1985, who won the 1999 title];
1 team from the the fourth-largest city, Daegu, the Samsung Lions;
1 team from the second-largest city, Busan, the Lotte Giants;
1 team from the 8th-largest city, Changwon [the Dark-Blue/Light-Blue-and-Gold-clad NC Dinos, est. 2013]; and
1 team from the sixth-largest city, Gwanju, the KIA Tigers [see illustration below]).

Kia Tigers, 2017 Korean Series champions (their 11th KBO League title; most in league)
2017-korea-series_kbo-league_kia-tigers_2017-champions_gwangju-kia-champions-field_b_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Yang Hyeon-jong (LHP), photo by Yonhap at english.yonhapnews.co.kr. Roger Bernadina (OF), photo by Yonhap at english.yonhapnews.co.kr. Choi Hyoung-woo (OF), photo by Yonhap at english.yonhapnews.co.kr. Kia Tigers players celebrate, photo by Yonhap via koreatimes.co.kr. Kia Tigers cap, photo from vjkorea.com. Gwangju-Kia Champions Field, aerial photo unattributed at dutchbaseballhangout.wordpress.com. Screenshot of Kia Tigers cheerleaders & mascot on dugout roof, image from video uploaded by K.L. Jin at youtube.com. Kia Tigers fans with flags and banners, photo by Yonhap via shinailbo.co.kr. Kia Tigers players [and mascot] bow to their fans, photo by hgryu77@newsis.com at isplus.live.joins.com.
___
Thanks to all at the following links…
-Globe-map of South Korea, by Ksiom at File:South Korea (orthographic projection).svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Blank map of South Korea, by NordNordWest at :FileSouth Korea location map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Attendance…koreabaseball.com/Record/Crowd/History (koreabaseball.com).
-Lotte Giants’ official shop, lottegiantsshop.com/[new 2018 cap], thanks for photo of the brand-new Lotte Giants’ deep-navy-blue-and-wine-red ball cap logo.
-KBO teams’ K-stamps (2016) [KBO-team-cap-with-mascot], by Shin Jaeyong/Korea Post stampworld.com/stamps/South-Korea/Postage-stamps/g3144/.
-Thanks to Dan @MyKBO, for the re-tweet.

March 31, 2018

MLB: Paid-Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2017 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2016 and percent-capacity figures./+ Illustration: The Houston Astros – 2017 World Series champions.

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball >paid-attendance — admin @ 7:01 pm

mlb_2017-attendance_tickets-sold_map_w-percent-cap_change-from-2016_post_b_.gif
MLB: Paid-Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2017 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2016 and percent-capacity figures


By Bill Turianski on 31 March 2018; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-Official site…mlb.com.
-Teams, etc…Major League Baseball (en.wikipedia.org).
-[Current] MLB attendance at ESPN…MLB Attendance Report [also with team attendance figures for past 17 seasons] (espn.go.com).

-2018 Team-by-Team MLB Logo and Uniform Preview (by Chris Creamer at news.sportslogos.net).

-MLB attendance dropped off slightly in 2017, going below 73 million for the first time in 14 seasons. A lack of pennant-races in September 2017 was one of the reasons cited for the 0.67% drop-off in tickets sold…{Another fall puts MLB attendance below 73M (by Eric Fisher on Oct 9 2017 at sportsbusinessdaily.com).}

-In April 2017, at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, the Oakland Athletics reduced their tarp-covered upper-deck seats by 12,000; there are now about 8,000 seats at the stadium which are still covered by tarps, primarily in the egregious and looming “Mount Davis” stand behind centerfield (which was built to accommodate the NFL’s Raiders…who will soon be leaving Oakland [again])…{A’s take tarps off; upper-deck tickets $15 (by Susan Slusser on April 11 2017 at sfchronicle.com).}

-Thanks to their new suburban-Atlanta-based ballpark (the 41.5-K-capacity SunTrust Park, which is located 10 miles NW of central Atlanta), the Atlanta Braves increased their average paid-attendance in 2017 by an MLB-best 5,980 per game. (The Braves’ crowd-size improved from 24.9 K in 2016, to 30.9 K in 2017.)…{Braves attendance jumps 28% in 2017 (Video) (bizjournals.com/atlanta).}

-The Cleveland Indians had the second-best paid-attendance increase in 2017, up 5.3 K per game (to a league-22nd-best 25.2 K-per-game). Located in an economically wracked and shrinking city, and one year after winning the 2016 AL pennant and taking the Cubs to the 7th game of the World Series, the Cleveland Indians have finally seen an attendance increase…{Cleveland Indians reach 2 million in tickets sold for first time since 2008 (from Sep. 20 2017 at cleveland.com).}

The map…
The circular-cap-logos on the map page are all each MLB teams’ 2017 home cap logo. That is, except with respect to Baltimore’s circular-cap-logo, which is of their all-black road cap, because the Orioles wear their white-paneled cap at home, and I wanted to maintain a uniformity to all 30 of the circular-cap-logos on the map. The circular-cap-logos were then sized to reflect crowd size, utilizing a constant gradient (the larger the team’s average paid-attendance, the larger their circular-cap-logo is on the map). If you are unsure about the term “paid-attendance”, my post on MLB paid-attendance from 2015 can clear that up for you {here, 2014 MLB paid-attendance map}. The chart at the right-hand-side of the map page shows 5 things: Attendance-Rank, Average Paid-Attendance, Venue Capacity, Percent-Capacity, and Numerical Change in Average Paid-Attendance from Previous Season [2016].

(Note: in late-May 2018, I will post a chart showing MLB teams within the context of the largest metro-areas in the USA and Canada, entitled Baseball: MLB representation in the largest metropolitan statistical areas (USA & Canada). As a teaser of sorts, here are the primary lists I used for that, List of metropolitan statistical area [in the USA]; List of census metropolitan areas and agglomerations in Canada.

I will just leave you with this…the seven largest major cities (in USA and Canada) without MLB teams are:
Montreal, QC, Canada (16th-largest city in USA/Canada);
Charlotte, NC (24th-largest city in USA/Canada);
Vancouver, BC, Canada (25th-largest city in USA/Canada);
Orlando, FL (26th-largest city in USA/Canada);
San Antonio, TX (27th-largest city in USA/Canada);
Portland, OR (28th-largest city in USA/Canada);
San Juan, Puerto Rico, [unincorporated territory of the USA] (29th-largest city in USA/Canada).

…And there are 5 MLB teams that are located in cities smaller than those listed above…Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Milwaukee.)

    The Houston Astros: 2017 World Series champions – the Astros’ first MLB title (which took 56 years) (and which occurred just 5 weeks after Hurricane Harvey)…

-The Unprecedented Flooding in Houston, in Photos (by Alan Taylor on 28 Aug. 2017 at theatlantic.com).
-How the Houston Astros Finally Hit on a Formula That Worked for Them (by Tyler Kepner on 3 Nov. 2017 at nytimes.com/baseball).
houston-astros_2017-w-s-champions_harvey_a-j-hinch_jose-altuve_carlos-correa_george-springer_dallas-keuchel_justin-verlander_charlie-morton_brian-mccann_f.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Is Hurricane Harvey a harbinger for Houston’s future?“, photo by Richard Carson/Reuters via theconversation.com. Rte. #45 road-sign, illustration from redbubble.com. Houston skyline with Minute Maid Park in foreground, photo by Jackson Myers at flickr.com/j-a-x. Aerial shot of Minute Maid park at dusk, photo by Jim Olive via cdn.c.photoshelter.com; photoshelter.com. View from upper-deck stands, game 3 of 2017 WS at Minute Maid Park, photo by Tim Donnelly/AP via [Orange County Register] ocregister.com. Dallas Keuchel, photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via fanragsports.com. Justin Verlander, photo by Tony Gutierrez/AP via al.com. Houston manager AJ Hinch at the mound with Justin Verlander and the Astros’ infield [2017 ALDS v Red Sox], photo unattributed at mlb.com. Correa and Altuve with celebratory handshake (ALCS game 7 following Altuve’s solo HR), photo by Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle at houstonchronicle.com/sports. 2017 WS MVP George Springer rounds the bases (after hitting his 5th HR of the series), as LA’s YU Darvish looks away (2017 WS, game 7), photo by David J. Phillip/AP via businessinsider.com. 2017 WS, game 7, journeyman Pitcher Charlie Morton, who pitched 4 scoreless innings in relief, is hugged by Catcher Brian McCann, after making the final out; Astros beat the LA Dodgers 5-1, and 4 games-to-3, to win their first World Series title; photo by Getty Images via sportsonearth.com. Celebrating fans at watch-party in Minute Maid Park in Houston later that evening, photo by Reuters via dailymail.co.uk. Astros fans watch as players roll by during the World Series Victory parade (Friday, Nov. 3, 2017), in downtown Houston, photo by Godofredo A. Vasquez/Houston Chronicle at “Editor’s choice: Photos from the Astros championship parade” (houstonchronicle.com/[Gallery]). 1975 Houston Astros jersey logo via sportslogos.net/Houston Astros].

___
Thanks to NuclearVacuum for the blank map, File:BlankMap-North America-Subdivisions.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to ESPN for attendances, espn.go.com/mlb/attendance.
Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos.net, for several (~17) of the cap logos, sportslogos.net.
Thanks to Baseball-reference.com, for stats.
Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball#Current_teams.

June 3, 2017

Independent leagues (unaffiliated minor league baseball): map and chart of the 38 Independent leagues teams in USA & Canada from the top 4 Independent leagues which reported attendance figures (American Association, Atlantic League, Frontier League, Can-Am League)./ +CHS Field, the home of the St. Paul Saints, the best-drawing Independent baseball club in North America.

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball: Independent Leagues — admin @ 2:00 pm

/baseball_independent-leagues_2016-attendance-map_american-association_atlantic-league_can-am-league_frontier-league_post_f_.gif
Independent leagues: 2016 attendance-map, 38 Independent leagues teams in USA & Canada (American Association, Atlantic League, Can-Am League, Frontier League)



By Bill Turianski on 23 April 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-2016 Independent Attendance by Average (by Kevin Reichard on September 19, 2016 at ballparkdigest.com).
-Independent baseball league/Current_leagues (en.wikipedia.org).
-independentbaseball.net.
-twitter.com/independentball.

    Major League Baseball, and by extension, Organized Baseball, has an antitrust exemption…

Organized Baseball is: the 30 Major League Baseball teams {2016 MLB paid-atttendance map}, plus all the 234 affiliated minor league baseball teams [aka MiLB teams], which the MLB teams co-fund and use as developmental teams for their rosters; plus the 16 unaffiliated Mexican League teams / {my latest map of the Mexican League}.

Independent leagues are, by definition, completely comprised of pro baseball teams which operate outside of Organized Baseball.
The Independent leagues are technically not even really minor leagues…but everybody considers them as such, and most observers within the world of pro baseball consider them to be equivalent to a caliber of play between Double-A and Advanced-A level minor league ball [ie, a caliber of skill between two and three levels below the Major Leagues]).

Major League Baseball (MLB) has antitrust exemption, dating back to a 1922 ruling that centered on the suit brought about by the owners of the defunct 1914 Federal League team the Baltimore Terrapins {see this article, Baseball’s Con Game – How did America’s pastime get an antitrust exemption?, from 2002 by David Greenberg at slate.com}. Basically, in 1922, the Supreme Court justices maintained – naively – that Major League Baseball is a game, not a business. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that “personal effort, not related to production, is not a subject of commerce”. What? Personal effort (ie, major league baseball players competing against each other) sure is related to production…just look at all that ticket revenue that MLB produces. Just look at those lucrative television contracts that MLB gets. Where did all that revenue come from? It came from personal effort (major league baseball players competing against each other). As Kavitha Dividson remarked at Bloomberg.com, “Nine decades later, the notion that professional baseball wouldn’t be considered commerce seems rather quaint. Not only is the “personal effort” of Major Leaguers an $8 billion product in and of itself, the lucrative national broadcast deals and growing audience for online streaming clearly place a significant chunk of business operations across state lines. Professional baseball can no longer be considered a local business, if it really ever could have been.” {Quote from, Antitrust Exemption Holds Baseball Back a Century (by Kavitha Davidson on April 8 2014 at bloomberg.com).}

There are many ways that this antitrust exemption affects things in the world of pro baseball. One is how the Oakland A’s franchise continues to get screwed by MLB and the San Francisco Giants…because the SF franchise owns the territory of San Jose, and MLB and the Giants have succeeded – in courts – from preventing the A’s from moving to San Jose. {See this: U.S. Supreme Court rejects San Jose’s bid to lure Oakland A’s (by Bob Egelko from Oct. 2015 at sfgate.com).} One of the latest ways the MLB antitrust exemption affects people within Organized Baseball is this: MLB scouts maintaining that they are being exploited {see this, Scouts Tell 2nd Circ. MLB Antitrust Exemption Doesn’t Apply (by Zachary Zagger on Jan. 23 2017 at law360.com)}. But here, I am only going to talk about how MLB’s antitrust exemption has inadvertently led to the success of most of the highest-drawing Independent leagues teams.

    Independent leagues (unaffiliated minor league baseball)…

Independent leagues have no affiliation with Major League Baseball – no player development contracts means the Independent leagues teams must pay for personnel and equipment. On the other hand, affiliated minor league teams have their WHOLE PAYROLL paid for them, by the Major League team…as it says in Wikipedia’s page on affiliated minor league baseball…“Generally, the parent major league club pays the salaries and benefits of uniformed personnel (players and coaches) and bats and balls, while the minor league club pays for in-season travel and other operational expenses…” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minor League Baseball/Current system).

Independent leagues exist because MLB/Organized Baseball can actually ignore market forces…
There is essentially one reason why an Independent leagues team springs up in any given place. That is because the the ownership group in the municipality in question was unable to to secure an affiliated minor league team within Organized Baseball. With a few exceptions (the most prominent exception being the Sugar Land Skeeters of Greater Houston, TX), the highest-drawing of these Independent teams are located in the Upper Midwest and in the Northeast (and to a lesser extent, in Canada). Generally, here and there, in Organized Baseball, there are poorly-drawing teams within the affiliated leagues above the Short-Season-A and the Rookie levels (like two A-level teams in the Midwest League, in Burlington, Iowa and in Beloit, Wisconsin, both of whom draw below 1.2 K in a league which drew 3.8 overall in 2016). But the real dead weight with respect to bad drawing mid-and-upper-level-MiLB teams can be found in two warm-weather locales. You see, MLB/MiLB/Organized Baseball has two leagues that are, attendance-wise, real under-performers. Two leagues that are, to put it bluntly, a waste of space. I am speaking of two of the three Advanced-A-level leagues: the California League and the Florida State League. Year in, year out, these two leagues are chock full of teams that draw abysmally, especially since both regions have considerable populations. Last season [2016], 7 of the 10 California League teams drew below 2.5 K. And last season, 11 of the 12 Florida State League teams drew below the even lower bar of just 2.0 K. That is really bad attendance for a product that is just 3 levels below the Major Leagues. And this is happening in regions where hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people live nearby. Actually, most of those bad drawing teams in the California and Florida Advance-A-level leagues have over a million people within an hours’ drive. And they still draw poorly.

How pathetic is the attendance in the California League and Florida State League?
Look at it this way…
-California League overall average attendance in 2016 was 2.1 K…worse than 23 Independent leagues teams.
-Florida State League overall average attendance in 2016 was 1.3 K…worse than 34 Independent leagues teams.
{Source of figures in last two paragraphs: 2016 Affiliated Attendance by League (ballparkdigest.com).}

Meanwhile, there are municipalities all over the Upper Midwest and the Northeast that could EASILY maintain successful affiliated minor league teams. But for one legitimate reason (Spring training ballparks/facilities in Florida that are already there anyways), and one bogus reason (the hidebound notion that California deserves an affiliated minor league of its own), MLB/Organized Baseball – thanks to its antitrust exemption – can afford to ignore market forces. And ignore the fact that there are scores of minor league franchises which would have far better support…if they relocated out of Florida and California. And into Midwestern and Northeastern towns which are dying for affiliated minor league ball.

So, though ignored by Organized Baseball, Independent leagues teams, located in places off-the-beaten-track, thrive. Like in Winnipeg, Manitoba; and in Fargo, North Dakota; and in Lincoln, Nebraska; and in Marion, southern Illinois. And Independent leagues teams located very near to MLB franchises? They really thrive (see next 3 paragraphs). If the vast majority of the fine folks of Florida and California could not give a rat’s ass about a great and affordable product (affiliated minor league baseball), then why the heck don’t these dead-weight teams move to where people would appreciate such a great product? Successful Independent leagues teams prove that there are an abundance of locales which Organized Baseball has ignored, thanks to its de-facto-monopoly status. And don’t forget, these are Independent teams with basically no brand-name drawing-power. Yet they are outdrawing teams – affiliated minor league ball clubs – that are part of world-renowned brand-names (the Major League teams).

The positive side of no MLB affiliation…
The positive side of no MLB affiliation means Independent leagues franchises are not bound to abide by MLB’s onerous territorial mandates. Mandates which MLB/Organized Baseball can only enforce because of their antitrust exemption. For example, MLB allows no affiliated minor league baseball teams to be located in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, NY (ie, Long Island) [to protect the NY Mets]; as well as no other affiliated teams in southeast-central-Pennsylvania [to protect the Philadelphia Phillies as well as the affiliated minor league baseball teams the Reading Fightin Phils and the Harrisburg Senators]. So Independent leagues teams have sprung up in those 2 areas and have done very well drawing customers [the Long Island Ducks in Nassau County, New York; the York Revolution and the Lancaster Barnstormers in south-eastern Pennsylvania].

Basically, Organized Baseball usually does not put its affiliated minor league teams within the 75-mile-radius territory of the 30 MLB teams – with a few exceptions such as in: Tacoma, WA; Reading, PA; Toledo, OH; San Jose, CA; Tampa and Clearwater, FL; and, recently (in the last 20 years), in Dayton, OH; and in Bridgewater Township, NJ; and in Brooklyn, NY and in Staten Island, NY. But Independent leagues teams, again, can ignore MLB’s territorial edicts. Hence the (successful) Independent leagues teams such as…the St. Paul Saints of St. Paul, MN (right next to MLB’s Minnesota Twins); and the Kansas City T-Bones of Kansas City, KS (right next to MLB’s Kansas City Royals); and the Sugar Land Skeeters of Greater Houston, TX (right next to MLB’s Houston Astros); and the Somerset Patriots of Somerset County, NJ (relatively close by to MLB’s New York Yankees and New York Mets).

It is no coincidence that 5 of the 6 the top-drawing Independent teams would not be allowed to exist within Organized Baseball…
Five of the six highest-drawing Independent leagues teams (which all draw above 4-K-per-game) are located in places very near to MLB teams (ie, well within the 75-mile-radius protected areas [thanks to their antitrust exemption], which MLB/Organized Baseball can only enforce with respect to affiliated minor league teams):
1). St. Paul Saints: drawing 8.4 K/ St. Paul, MN [Minnesota Twins' territory].
2). Long Island Ducks: 5.2 K/ Nassau County, Long Island, NY [NY Mets' territory].
3). Somerset Patriots: 5.2 K/ Somerset County, NJ. [NY Yankees'/NY Mets' territory].
4). Winnipeg Goldeyes: 4.8 K/ Winnipeg, MB, Canada [no MLB team nearby].
5). Sugar Land Skeeters: 4.4 K/ Sugar Land, TX [Houston Astros' territory].
6). Kansas City T-Bones: 4.2 K/ Kansas City, KS [Kansas City Royals' territory].

The biggest problem Independent leagues teams face is overhead…
Again, Independent leagues teams get zero support from MLB/Organized Baseball, whereas affiliated minor league teams (being part of MLB/Organized Baseball) basically get their whole teams’ salaries (and some of their gear) paid for. So Independent leagues teams live a precarious financial existence, and are very prone to becoming defunct, and are almost completely reliant on ticket revenue and concessions to remain in business. In fact, last season [2016], the two lowest-drawing teams, of the four Independent leagues featured on the map here, both went out of business (Joplin and Laredo/see next section below). The following article from the Wall Street Journal explores just how precarious Independent baseball teams’ finances are…
-{How Independent Baseball Teams Make Money. Or Don’t. For unaffiliated teams, it takes gimmicks, cost cutting and a lot of luck (by Andrew Beaton on Aug. 24 2105 from wsj.com)}.

    What the map-and-chart of Independent ball clubs shows…

The main map is of USA and Canada; the inset-map is of the Northeast of the US. The two maps show the 38 Independent leagues teams in the USA & Canada which reported attendances figures (from home regular season games) in 2016, and which drew over 500-per-game…plus 2 new teams (see next paragraph). The 500-per-game cut-off is why I did not include the 4 teams from the Pacific Association, whose 4 teams only drew between 437 and 69 per game. The fact that some Independent league do not report attendance figures is why the map-and-chart does not feature teams from 3 other Independent leagues…the Empire League, the Pecos League, and the United Shore League {for info on those leagues, see this, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_baseball_league#Current_leagues}. If you are wondering why those three Independent leagues don’t report attendance figures, well, it is almost certainly because those teams in those leagues do not draw very well.

On the map, two of the teams [from the American Association] are now defunct: the Joplin Blasters, and the Laredo Lemurs. It is no coincidence that those two teams happened to be the two worst-drawing teams in the 4 leagues that the map depicts. Because, as mentioned earlier, Independent leagues teams basically live or die by their attendance figures, that being their only real source of revenue. Those two teams have been replaced in the American Association by one expansion team and one team that has moved over from the aforementioned Pecos League. The brand-new franchise for 2017 is the Cleburne Railroaders of Greater Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX. The franchise that has jumped over from the Pecos League to the American Association is the Salina Stockade (of Salina, Kansas). And finally, there is one franchise, in the Atlantic League, that has been recently relocated – the New Britain Bees (est. 2016) [of Greater Hartford, CT], who were the Camden Riversharks previously, but moved from Camden, NJ [Greater Philadelphia, PA] to Connecticut after the 2015 season. Here is an example of an Independent team filling the gap left by the lack of an affiliated MiLB team, because New Britain, CT had a Double-A MiLB team (the New Britain Rock Cats), until that franchise moved 12 miles up the road to Hartford, as the Hartford YardGoats, in 2016 {here’s a Double-A [affiliated MiLB] map I made in 2016, which mentions the new Hartford ball club}. That Camden-NJ-to-New-Britain-CT-franchise-move is shown on the map-page in the inset-map of the Northeast US.

The teams on the map have their primary cap-logo shown, as well as a circle in their team-colors.
The team-color-circles are sized to depict each team’s drawing-power (the higher their average attendance is, the larger their team-colors-circle is).

At the right-hand side of the map page is a chart that lists 5 things:
A). Teams’ attendance-rank within Independent leagues baseball.
B). The Independent league which each team is in.
C). The teams’ 2016 average attendance…regular season home games/ source: 2016 Independent Attendance by Average (ballparkdigest.com).
D). Teams’ year-of-establishment [first season they played].
E). Teams’ City-and-State-location (plus County-location, if that is part of any given team’s name).

The teams on the map are from the following 4 Independent leagues…
-American Association [American Association of Independent Professional Baseball], all 12 teams, including 2 defunct teams (see 3 paragraphs above), and including 2 new teams: the Cleburne Railroaders (est. 2017) [of Greater Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX], and the Salina Stockade (est. 2016/former Pecos League team) [of Salina, KS]). (American Association est. 2006/ 12 teams in 2017/ range: Plains States (Dakotas to Texas); one team from Indiana; one team from Manitoba, Canada.) 2016 overall average attendance: 3,156.
-Atlantic League [Atlantic League Professional Baseball], all 8 teams (including the 2016-relocated-team the New Britain Bees [of Greater Hartford, CT]). (Atlantic League est. 1998/ 8 teams in 2017/ range: Northeast; and Greater Houston, Texas.) 2016 overall average attendance: 3,939 [best-drawing Independent league].
-Frontier League, all 12 teams. (Frontier League est. 1993/ 12 teams in 2017/ range: half the teams [6 teams] from Illinois; one team each from: Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, western Pennsylvania.) 2016 overall average attendance: 2,390.
-Can-Am League [Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball], all 6 teams. (Can-Am League est. 2005, but from 2012-15 it played an interlocking schedule with the American Association/ 6 teams in 2017/ range: 2 teams in New Jersey, one team in New York; 2 teams in Quebec, Canada, one team in Ontario, Canada. 2016 overall average attendance: 2,241.

[Note: to see other high-drawing Independent leagues teams (illustrations for 5 other teams), see my earlier post on Independent leagues baseball (from 2014).]

    The St. Paul Saints – the highest-drawing Independent baseball team (in 2015 and in 2016)…

In 2015, after 22 years at the inadequate Midway Stadium, the St. Paul Saints moved into CHS Field in the Lowerton district of downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, in area once full of industrial warehouses. The ballpark was opened on May 21, 2015. It was built with state funding of $25 million, combined with a $47.5 million outlay shared by the city of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Saints. The venue is owned by the city of Saint Paul, and is operated by the St. Paul Saints. It has a fixed-seating-capacity of 7,210. Plus, there is around another 1,000-or-so extra-capacity seating: on both a grass berm behind the left-field fence (see second-to-last photo below), and in bar-style seats all along the sprawling street-level concourse which makes up the main part of the stadium-structure (see 4th, 5th, and 6th photos, below). The stadium is breathtaking in a very understated way, with its light-steel-frame pavilion, its open-air layout, and its stunning full-length red-cedar-ceiling-canopy. The architect, Julie Snow, intended for the ballpark’s design to take a warehouse and “turn it inside-out” (see article linked to at the end of this paragraph, for more on that). The new venue is a remarkable step up from the ramshackle Midway Stadium, which co-owner Mike Veeck used to “boast” was “the ugliest ballpark in America!” {quote from the Wikipedia page, here}. Mike Veeck, son of legendary baseball-owner-and-maverick Bill Veeck, Jr., is co-owner of the St. Paul Saints, along with actor/comedian Bill Murray, and others who make up the The Goldklang Group, a consortium who have a controlling interest in 4 minor league teams. Mike Veeck’s motto is “Fun is Good”, which is a sentiment I think very few could argue with. Here is an article from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, on the opening day in May 2015 at the CHS Field in St. Paul, If ‘Fun is good,’ opening a new ballpark’s way better (by Jim Souhan at startribune.com).

The St. Paul Saints had long been a top-draw in Independent leagues baseball, and in their last season at Midway Stadium (in 2014), the Saints had the third-best average attendance in the Independent leagues, at 5.2 K, behind fellow-American-Association team the Winnipeg Goldeyes (at 5.6 K), and the Atlantic League team the Sugar Land Skeeters (at 5.5 K). {2014 Independent attendances, baseballpilgrimages.com/ [2014 Independent leagues].} But since their new ballpark opened, the St. Paul Saints have now become the best-drawing Independent ball club, by a considerable margin, of over 3 thousand per game. The Saints drew 8.0 K in the ballpark’s first year (in 2015). That meant they played to over eight-hundred-standing-room-only each game (8.0 K in a 7.2-K-seated-capacity stadium). {2015 Independent leagues attendance, ballparkdigest.com [2015 Independent leagues].} Then last year, word-of-mouth must have spread through the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, about the sweet new venue in town…because the Saints drew even better in 2016, at 8.4 K (which is an astounding 1.2-K-above-seated-capacity).

The second-best and third-best-drawing Independent leagues teams in 2016 were two Atlantic League teams from Greater New York City…the Long Island Ducks (est. 2000), of Central Islip, NY, at 5.2 K, and the Somerset Patriots (est. 1998), of Bridgewater Township, Somerset County, NJ, who also drew 5.2 K. {2016 Independent leagues attendance, ballparkdigest.com/ [2015 Independent leagues].} {Again, if you would like to see illustrations for the Long Island Ducks and the Somerset Patriots (and 3 of the other best-drawing Independent leagues teams, click here.}

Below: CHS Field, home of the St. Paul Saints, the best-drawing Independent baseball club in North America…
independent-leagues_highest-drawing-team-2016_st-paul-saints_chs-field_st-paul_mn_r_.gif"
Photo and Image credits above –
Saints ball cap, photo from St. Paul Saints team store, saints-crossing.com. Aerial shot of ballpark, photo by John Autey/Pioneer Prees via twincities.com/2016/05/07/photos-the-twin-cities-from-the-air. Exterior shot of main entrance, photo by snowkreilich.com/work/chs-field. Photo of main entrance on opening day, photo by St Paul Saints at saintsbaseball.com/the-saints-experience/2017-schedule. Interior shot of concourse (empty), photo by Paul Crosby via aia-mn.org/chs-field. Interior shots of concourse during a game-day, photos by hsnowkreilich.com/work/chs-field. Shot of Saints players warming up with main stand in background, photo by snowkreilich.com/work/chs-field. Photo of outfield lawn seating, photo by CHS Field via postbulletin.com/chs-field-combines-art-baseball-in-st-paul. Shot of full-capacity-crowd at sunset, photo by Paul Crosby at archdaily.com/chs-field-snow-kreilich-architects.
___
Thanks to all at the following links…
Some logos on the map page are from photos…
-Schaumburg Boomers cap logo, from photo at: boomersbaseball.com/fanzone/news/2013/288/boomers-end-of-season-clearance-sale/.
-Sugar Land Skeeters cap logo, from photo at: cdn3.volusion.com/zvscs.sfcdt/v/vspfiles/photos/OC100-1.jpg.
-Winnipeg Goldeyes cap logo, from photo at: pinterest.com/pin/384987468116306796/.

-Thanks to NuclearVacuum, at Wikimedia Commons, for the base map (blank map) of North America, at ‘File:BlankMap-North America-Subdivisions.svg‘ (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Thanks to the contributors at Independent baseball/Current leagues (en.wikipedia.org).

April 23, 2017

Mexico: 2017 Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (LMB) (Mexican League), location-map/attendance-map (2016 figures), with active-clubs titles list./ + Top three drawing teams (Monterrey, Tijuana, Yucatán).

Filed under: Baseball,Mexico: Béisbol — admin @ 9:33 pm

mexico_baseball_2017-liga-mexicana-de-beisbol_mexican-league_attendance-map_2016_post_b_.gif
Mexico: 2017 Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (LMB) (Mexican League), location-map/attendance-map (2016 figures), with active-clubs titles list


By Bill Turianski on 23 April 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-Current teams…Mexican League/Current teams (en.wikipedia.org).
-Equipos temporada…Liga Mexicana de Béisbol/Equipos temporada (es.wikipedia.org).
-2016 Mexican League attendance…Mexican League: Attendance [set at 2016/sortable for current attendances & archived back to -2005] (milb.com/milb/stats).
-2016 attendances for all 15 MiLB leagues which report attendance figures (incl. Mexican League) [ie, all leagues within Organized Baseball from Rookie leagues up through A-League, Double-A, and Triple-A which report attendances]…ballparkdigest.com/2016/09/09/2016-affiliated-attendance-by-league.
-Mexican League scores, standings, schedule…milb.com/LMB [Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (Mexican League)] (official site).
-My first map & post on Mexican League baseball (from 2011), which includes more info on teams and uniforms, Baseball in Mexico: Liga Mexicana de Béisbol (Mexican League), 2011.

    The top three drawing béisbol teams in the Mexican League (Monterrey, Tijuana, Yucatán)…

Sultanes de Monterrey: best-drawing team in the Mexican League for 5 years (2012-16)
Despite being not the largest, or even the second-largest city in Mexico, Monterrey is the home of the highest-drawing Mexican béisbol team, the Sultanes de Monterrey. (Monterrey is also the home of the 2 highest-drawing 1st division Mexican fútbol teams (CF Monterrey, and Tigres UANL) {see this map, with attendance figures, of Liga MX that I made earlier in 2017}.)

The Sultanes de Monterrey have led the Mexican League in attendance for 5 straight seasons now (2012-16), replacing Saltillo as the top draw. The Sultanes drew 12.7 K per game in 2016. The Sultanes’ stadium, Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey (aka Estadio Mobil Super) is the largest baseball venue in Mexico (capacity 27,000). The city of Monterrey is in the state of Nueva León, and has a metro-area population of around 4.1 million [2010 figure]. {Metropolitan areas of Mexico.}

The Sultanes de Monterrey wear New-York-Yankees-style navy-blue-with-pinstripes. One of their logos mimics the font of the Yankees’ N-Y crest (see it below in 3rd photo), while also including the iconic mountain (Cerro de la Silla) that overlooks their ballpark {here’s a recent [2014] shot of their home uniform and with that logo on their batting helmet}.
sultanes-de-monterrey_estadio-beisbol-monterrey_b_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Sultanes de Monterrey cap logo, photo from lids.com/sultanes-de-monterrey-new-era. Aerial shot of stadium with mountain in background, photo by Especial at periodicoabc.mx. Aerial shot of Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey, photo unattributed at purobeisbol.mx. Interior shot of stadium during a game, photo unattributed at skyscrapercity.com/[thread: ARQUITECTURA | Estadios | Información y fotografías. Interior shot during game, photo unattributed at laaficion.milenio.com/beisbol/mil-fans-Estadio-Monterrey_MILIMA20160404_0018_11.jpg.

...

Toros de Tijuana - a relocated team that has now become the 2nd-best-drawing team in the Mexican League...
The Petroleros de Minatitlán [Minatitlán Oilers] franchise moved to Tijuana after the 2013 season, to become the Toros de Tijuana (II). (The south-central-Gulf-Coast-based Petroleros were one of the lowest-drawing teams in the Mexican League, drawing only in the 1.4-K-to-2.3-K-range in their last 5 seasons.) Now the Toros de Tijuana have become the 2nd-best draw in the Mexican League. The Toros drew 9.3 K per game in 2016, in their ballpark, the 16-K-capacity Estadio Gasmart.

Tijuana is, of course, right across the border from San Diego, California, and is actually part of the Greater San Diego/Tijuana metro-area. Tijuana, located in the state of Baja California, is the 6th-largest metro-area in Mexico (with a population of around 1.7 million [2010 figure]).

The Toros de Tijuana wear black-and-deep-red colors.
toros-de-tijuana_estadio-gasmart_i_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Aerial shot of Estadio Gasmart, photo unattributed at agpnoticias.com/news/lista-fiesta-de-apertura-de-toros-de-tijuana. Shot of main stands at Estadio Gasmart, photo unattributed at el-fanatico.com. Shot of outfield terrace area at Estadio Gasmart, with glass-walled-outfield-fence, photo from hotelpuebloamigo.com. Cropped image of 2017 black Toros jersey, photo by torosdetijuana.com.

Leones de Yucatán: after renovating their ballpark, they have almost doubled their crowd-size (from 4.6 K to 9.1 K, in two years)…
The Leones (Lions) are from the city of Mérida, which in the state of Yucatán, in southeastern Mexico. Mérida is the 12th-largest metro-area in the country (with a population of around 970,000 [2010 figure]).

In 2015, after renovating their ballpark (the 16-K-capacity Parque Kukulcán Alamo), the Leones de Yucatán almost doubled their attendance, going from 4.6 K per game in 2014, to 8.9 K per game in 2015. Then in 2016, they saw a bit more of an increase in crowd-size, drawing 9.1 K per game.

The Leones de Yucatán wear dark-green-and-orange colors, and they also have an alternate color-scheme of dark-green-and bright-neon-green.
leones-de-yucatan_parque-kukulcán_n_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Renovation of El Kukulcán Álamo, photos unattributed at purobeisbol.mx/[17 March 2016]. Large crowd at El Kukulcán Álamo stadium circa June 2015, photo unattributed at beisbolcampechano.blogspot.com/2015/07/record-de-asistencia-en-el-parque. Night game. photo unattributed at peninsuladeportiva.com.
___
Thanks to all at the following links…
-Globe-map of Mexico, by Addicted04 at File:MEX orthographic.svg at Mexico (en.wikipedia.org).
-Map of Mexico, by Yavidaxiu at File:Mexico blank.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).

Some circular-cap-logos on the map include photos or banner illustrations, from the following links…
-Toros de Tijuana (Tijuana Toros), illustration of T-J logo, from banner at torosdetijuana.com.
-Saraperos de Saltillo (Saltillo Sarape Makers) teal home cap, photo of Gothic-S-with-sarape logo from neweraaustraliasale.com/saraperos.
-Vaqueros Unión Laguna, photo from twitter.com/mendivil2129. jpg
-Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen (Ciudad del Carmen Dolphins) dark-purple home cap, photo of bright-green-C [part of the logo], from lids.com/mexican-league/delfines.
-Guerreros de Oaxaca (Oaxaca Warriors), photo of the O-a-x logo on home cap from newhatsite.net/oaxaca-guerreros.
-Piratas de Campeche (Campeche Pirates), photo of logo, from tienda.newera.mx.
-Generales de Durango (Durango Generals), photo of home cap logo, from elsiglodetorreon.com.mx.
-Bravos de Leon, photo of home cap logo, from twitter.com/lmbbravosleon.
-Tigres de Quintana Roo (Quintana Roo Tigers), photo of cap logo from tienda.newera.mx .
-Rojos del Águila de Veracruz (Veracruz Red Eagles), photo of cap logo from tienda.newera.mx

-Team info, etc…
Mexican League [Liga Mexicana de Béisbol] (en.wikipedia.org).

April 2, 2017

MLB: Paid-Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2016 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2015 and percent-capacity figures./+ Illustration for: Toronto Blue Jays: 12.5-K-attendance-increase in 2 year span./+ Illustration for: Chicago Cubs (2016 World Series champions).

mlb_2016-attendance_tickets-sold_map_w-percent-cap_change-from-2015_post_e_.gif
MLB: Paid Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2016 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2015 and percent-capacity figures



By Bill Turianski on 2 April 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-Official site…mlb.com.
-Teams, etc…Major League Baseball (en.wikipedia.org).
-[Current] MLB attendance at ESPN…MLB Attendance Report [current] (espn.go.com).
-2016 MLB attendance at ESPN…MLB Attendance Report – 2016 (espn.go.com).
-Attendance change (2016 v. 2015)…Change in Baseball Attendance (2016 vs. 2015) (baseball-reference.com).

-From Baseball Pilgrimages.com…2016 MLB Ballpark Attendance [with notes] (baseballpilgrimages.com).

-From Forbes.com…MLB Hits 73.159 Million In Attendance, 11th Highest All-Time, Down Slightly From 2015 (by Maury Brown at forbes.com).

-From Waiting For Next Year.com…Let’s talk about Cleveland Indians attendance (by Jacob Rosen at waitingfornextyear.com).

    For the fourth-straight season, the Los Angeles Dodgers had the highest average paid-attendance, at 45,719 per game.

Last season [2016], the Dodgers drew 45.7 K, and played to 81.6 percent-capacity at Dodger Stadium. And also for the 4th-straight year, the St. Louis Cardinals had the second-highest attendance, at 42.5 K at Busch Stadium (III). The San Francisco Giants filled their ballpark, AT&T park, the best, at 99.1 percent-capacity, and they drew 41.5 K (the 4th-highest attendance). Three other teams also played to near-full-capacity…the St. Louis Cardinals at 96.7 precent-capacity, the Chicago Cubs at 96.6 percent-capacity at the renovated Wrigley Field, and the Boston Red Sox at 96.1 percent-capacity at Fenway Park. The 5th-best at filling their venue was the Toronto Blue Jays, who played to an 84.9 percent-capacity, and have now increased their crowds at Rogers Centre [aka Skydome] by over 12 thousand per game in the past two seasons [since 2014] (see below)…

Best attendance increases in 2016…2016 average paid-attendance versus 2015 average paid-attendance [with attendance-rank shown]…
Toronto Blue Jays +7,376…41,880 in 2016 [#3] vs. 34,504 in 2015 [#8].
Chicago Cubs +3,366…39,906 in 2016 [#5] vs. 36,540 in 2015 [#6].
New York Mets +3,145…34,870 in 2016 [#9] vs. 31,725 [#12].
Texas Rangers +2,698…33,461 in 2016 [#10] vs. 30,763 [#16].
Houston Astros +1,889…28,476 in 2016 [#17] vs. 26,587 [#22].
Cleveland Indians +1,844…19,650 in 2016 [#28] vs. 17,806 in 2015 [#29].

Toronto Blue Jays: 12.5 K attendance increase in 2 years…
Not only did Toronto have a 7.37 K increase in attendance in 2016, Toronto had a 5.17 K increase in 2015 (versus 29,327 per game in 2014). So, that means the Toronto Blue Jays have increased their paid-attendance by a little over 12,500 per game in two years! Talk about reviving a moribund franchise. That just goes to show you that investing in a competitive team (as the Blue Jays have done these past 3 seasons) usually pays off at the turnstile. (Usually, but definitely not in the case of the Cleveland Indians, who had a banner season in 2016, winning the AL pennant and coming up just short of a championship, yet the Tribe failed to even draw 20 K per game during the regular season. Cleveland is simply NOT a baseball town; see link to article on the Indians’ bad attendance, further above. But I digress.)

In 2016, Toronto drew over 3 million for the first time in 23 years. [Note: drawing over 3 million means the team averages above 36.5 K per game.] As the following article at SB Nation points out, “comparing 2016 to 2014, average attendance at Rogers Centre was up 43%, or over 1,000,000 fans for the season.” (quote by Jon Shell from this article: A Business Case For A Much Higher Payroll at bluebirdbanter.com from Nov. 6 2016).

toronto-blue-jays_2014-to-2016_12-k-attendance-increase_rogers-centre_h_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Blue Jays home cap, illustration from sportslogos.net. Aerial shot of CN Tower and Rogers Centre, photo by destinocanadatoronto.blogspot.com. Exterior shot of Rogers Centre at night, photo by Empty Quarter at Toronto Flickr Pool via torontoist.com. Aerial shot of Rogers Centre, photo unattributed at blogto.com. Shot of full house at Rogers Centre [circa 2015], photo unattributed at engineeringharmonics.com. Fans cheering at Rogers Centre during 2015 playoffs, photo by Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via citynews.ca.

Notes on stadium capacities…
-Boston Red Sox’ Fenway Park has different capacities for night games (37,673) and day games (37,227). {See this article I wrote from 2016/scroll half-way down text for Fenway section}.
-Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field has been undergoing extensive renovations, and the renovations are planned to continue on up to spring 2019. In 2016, capacity was increased slightly, by 329, from 40,929 to 41,268. The capacity will most likely change again in the next 2-to-3 years, but probably not by a significant amount.
-Atlanta Braves played their final season at Turner Field in Atlanta in 2016. The team has moved into the suburbs, into Cumberland, Cobb County, GA (10 miles NW of downtown Atlanta). Their new ballpark, SunTrust Park, will have a capacity of 41,500. (That is a significant capacity-reduction, of around 4.4 K, as Turner Field’s seated-capacity was 45,986.)
-Both the teams below (Oakland and Tampa Bay) have tarps covering their upper-deck seats, which doesn’t change the fact that those seats are empty…
-O.co Coliseum, home of the Oakland Athletics, has tarps covering the upper decks for MLB games, making the seating “capacity” for baseball 35,067, which is about 20,800 less than the real capacity (real seating capacity of the stadium is 55,945). (That would make them having a real 2016 percent-capacity figure of around 33.5.)
-Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, has tarps covering the upper decks for MLB games, making the seating “capacity” for baseball 31,042, which is about 11,600 less than the real capacity (real seating capacity of the stadium is 42,735). (That would make them having a real 2016 percent-capacity figure of around 37.1.).

    Chicago Cubs – 2016 World Series winners (the Cubs’ first World Series title in 108 years)…

Best Cubs players in 2016 as measured by WAR (wins after replacement)…
Kris Bryant (3B) 7.7 WAR (39 HR, 121 RBI, .385 OBP).
Anthony Rizzo (1B) 5.7 WAR (32 HR, 109 RBI, .385 OBP).
Jon Lester (LHP) 5.2 WAR (19-5, 2.44 ERA, 202.7 IP).
Kyle Hendricks (RHP) 4.9 WAR (16-8, 2.13 ERA, 190 IP).
Addison Russell (SS) 4.3 WAR (21 HR, 95 RBI, .321 OBP).

Cubs win ! Cubs win ! Cubs win !
chicago-cubs_2016-ws-champions_joe-maddon_kris-bryant_anthony-rizzo_jon-lester_kyle-hendricks_addison-russell_javier-baez_ben-zobrist_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Aerial shot of Wrigley Field with “CHAMPIONS” displayed on jumbotron-scoreboard, photo by Nick Ulivieri at flickr.com.
Joe Maddon, photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Kris Bryant, screenshot from video (uploaded by Sporting Videos at youtube.com.
Anthony Rizzo, photos by John Durr/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com & zimbio.com.
Jon Lester, photo by David Kohl/USA Today via usatoday.com/mlb.
Kyle Hendricks, photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Addison Russell, photo by Elsa/Gety Images via wgntv.com. aru
Shot of Cubs players and coaching staff after game 5 win over Dodgers in 2016 NLCS (with traveling Cubs fans’ “W” banners held aloft in background), photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images via chron.com/sports. Shot of Cubs players’ celebration after final out, photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images via sports.yahoo.com. Shot of Cubs fans outside Wrigley after final out, screenshot of NBC News video, at nbcnews.com/news/sports. Shot of Javier Báez stealing home (v Dodgers in Game 1 of NLCS), photo by AP at dailyherald.com. Shot of Ben Zobrist on 2nd base, after doubling in lead run in 10th inning of WS Game 7, photo by Al Tielemans at gettyimages.com. Shot of brick wall outside of Wrigley that fans decorated with chalk and paint, photo by Nick Ulivieri at flickr.com.

___
Thanks to NuclearVacuum for the blank map, File:BlankMap-North America-Subdivisions.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to ESPN for attendances & percent capacities, espn.go.com/mlb/attendance.
Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos.net, for several (~17) of the cap logos, sportslogos.net.
Thanks to Baseball-reference.com, for stats.
Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball#Current_teams.

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