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The Story

The Year 1919

The Ballplayers

Then and Now

Survey
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umpires and discouraging both the use of profanity and the selling of liquor. His close friend Charles Comiskey also joined the Western League when he purchased the Sioux City Huskers in 1894. Together, these two men spoke extensively about league expansion. At one meeting in the Cincinnati tavern "The Ten-Minute Club" the idea was hatched to create a rival to the National League. Both men then set about upgrading the Western League to the status of a Major League.

By 1896 the Western League was thriving with many ballclubs turning profits. "The Western League has passed the stage where it should be considered a minor league...it is a first class organization, and should have the consideration that such an organization warrants" Ban Johnson stated. After changing it's name to the American League in 1899, the A.L. would officially become a Major League in 1901.

The mutual friendship and respect which began in 1892 between Charles Comiskey and Ban Johnson had brought both men success in the American League. But by 1919 two events would see the former drinking and cardplaying buddies part ways.


The feud began shortly after Ban Johnson had spent a few days vacationing at Comiskey's lodge in Wisconsin. About the same time, one of Comiskey's outfielders on the White Sox, Danny Greene, was suspended by Johnson for three games. Upon returning to his office with his catch of fish, Johnson sent Comiskey his prize catch along with the notice of suspension of Greene. Charles Comiskey would sarcastically comment: "Does he think that I can play that fish in leftfield?"

The second and final blow came at the beginning of the 1919 season when Ban Johnson awarded a Pacific Coast League pitcher, Jack Quinn to the New York Yankees. Quinn had pitched for the White Sox in 1918, but was sold to the Yankees by Vernon of the PCL. Charles Comiskey was furious. Feeling betrayed by his longtime ally, Comiskey told Johnson: "I made you and by God I'll break you." The two became bitter rivals from that point on.

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