What if there was a competing major league, set up by an undisputed genius, located in major cities, broadcast on pay cable and set up so that everyone shared revenue and TV money so as not to give one team a Yankees-like financial advantage? Neat idea? Well, they already had that idea and it didn’t work out as planned:
Monday is the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Continental League, and it is understandable if the moment does not trigger a flood of happy associations or, for that matter, any memories at all.
The Continental was to be Major League Baseball’s third league: an eight-team circuit that would, in the view of its architect, spread the game across the land, ensuring its position as America’s pre-eminent spectator sport. That the vision for the league came from Branch Rickey, the sport’s éminence grise, gave it instant and national legitimacy, so much so that on the day it was officially announced, July 27, 1959, reporters flooded the Biltmore Hotel to chronicle the event.
Fascinating article that presages a book on the Continental League by its author, Michael Shapiro. Definitely check it out if you have a moment or two.