Friday, January 12, 2018

The American Association Playoffs, 1933 to 1941

The American Association Almanac
Volume 13, No. 2
Fall 2017

The 49th issue of the American Association Almanac was released in early September, 2017. It provides a comprehensive look at the American Association playoffs which began in 1933 when the first-place Columbus Red Birds (101-51), led by Ray Blades, vied for the league championship against the second-place Minneapolis Millers (86-67) under the leadership of future Hall of Famer Dave Bancroft. As explained in the official league manual (pub. 1969), "Under the playoff plan whereby the highest standing Eastern team met the highest standing Western Club, Columbus beat Minneapolis four out of six games to win the official league championship..." There was no beef about the outcome with the possible exception of a handful of Columbus fans who thought their team, with its clearly superior record, shouldn't have to prove itself twice. The following year, Minneapolis fans had the beef as the same two teams met in the playoffs again, this time after the Millers claimed the top spot with a record of 85-64. Columbus finished second, just a sliver behind with 85 wins and 68 losses. After Columbus came away with the championship in a rugged seven-game battle, critics were all over the place. The system was scrapped for the 1935 season, and in 1936 a two-tier plan named after the originator of the playoff system employed in the East, Frank Shaughnessy, went into effect. It allowed allowed the first-place team to cop the championship while vying for the Governor's Cup and the honor of meeting the International League's top representative in the Junior World Series. This system proved itself over the next three decades.

This volume exceeds 30,000 words in a 56-page format. It includes a color cover (see below), a prominent back-cover reproduction of a 1939 Louisville Colonels team photo, a table of contents (see below), and a table summarizing the head-to-head play between each playoff contestant from 1933 to 1941, in addition to narratives for each game. Copies are available at $15.00 postpaid. For those interested in starting a subscription (one- or two-year options available; see below), this issue can be included at a discount.



Content is organized by season. This sample page provides a look at how each section unfolds. Here is an excerpt of the content from this issue:


Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this issue is the clear delineation of playoff records. Each season's leader board is encapsulated within a listing of statistical achievements for the customary categories, such as which player claimed the most runs scored, the most hits, the most home runs, etc. But readers will also find statistics from more obscure categories which include averages, such as team batting average and runs per game. Here is a sample page:


A final sample page:


I've been editing and publishing the Almanac since Fall 2001 and have made it my life's work. If you are interested in comprehensive baseball history with a regional flavor, strong statistical backbone and a concise writing style, this may be your best option. Readers are encouraged to write to me, Rex Hamann, with questions about how to subscribe to the American Association Almanac. One-year subscription: $24.00 for two issues. Two-years: $42.00 for four issues. Lifetime subscriptions: $200.00 (non-refundable). Institutional subscriptions: $60.00/yr. Checks can be mailed to me at 14201 crosstown Blvd. NW, Andover, MN   55304, or sent to my Paypal account via my email address (