United States Baseball League

The United States Baseball League was a short-lived hopeful third major-league that was established in New York City in 1912 and lasted only two partial seasons.

United States Baseball League
Inaugural season1912
CEOWilliam Abbott Witmann
No. of teams8
CountryUnited States
Pittsburgh Filipinos (1912) Baltimore (1913) - but only partial seasons both years


In March 1912, organizers of the proposed leaguedescribed by members of the sports establishment as an "outlaw league"met in New York's Hotel Imperial.[1] The U.S. Baseball League subsequently organized teams in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York, Reading, Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia; and Washington, D.C.[2] The league president was William Witmann.[3]

Sports historian Rudolf K. Haerle observed that the U.S. Baseball League "stressed the inherent 'good' of baseball for all individuals and communities, and indicated that it wished to conduct its business in the accepted capitalist stylefree competition in the marketplace".[2] Despite these lofty ambitions, the league quickly incurred the scorn and hostility of the baseball establishment.[2] Additionally burdened with weak leadership, limited financing, poor attendance, and a lack of skillful players, the U.S. Baseball League "folded after about one month of action".[2]

The League tried again in May 1913, with a slightly different medley of teams. Among the newcomers were the Lynchburg Shoemakers, who had been ejected from the Virginia League the season before. They played their home games at the Fairgrounds in Lynchburg, and sported an old-style L on their uniform jerseys. Another entry from the Nation's capital played at Georgetown Park in Georgetown. The revived Washington team lost their season opener at Georgetown Park in an exciting game to the visiting Brooklyn Bandits, 9-8. http://www.covehurst.net/ddyte/brooklyn/bandits.html Meanwhile, the Shoemakers also dropped their home opener against Baltimore at the Fairgrounds 7-4. The Baltimore team finished with the best record in the drastically foreshortened 2nd season; as things became unravelled very quickly again for the U.S. League, due in particular to the flop of the New York and Newark teams, who quarreled about the pitiful proceeds from the gate at the opener played in Newark.


Many sports historians view the U.S. Baseball League as "a major precursor to the Federal League of 19141915".[2] The Federal League, which was the last independent major league, was financed by magnates including oil "baron" Harry F. Sinclair.[4]



The league's regular season began May 1, 1912 and ended June 5.[2] The Richmond Times Dispatch released the schedule the league originally intended to have on April 8.[5]

Team Win Loss Pct
Pittsburgh Filipinos 19 7 .731
Richmond Rebels 15 11 .577
Reading (no name) 12 9 .571
Cincinnati Pippins 12 10 .545
Washington Senators 6 7 .462
Chicago Green Sox 10 12 .455
Cleveland Forest City 8 13 .381
New York Knickerbockers 2 15 .118


  • Bronx Oval - New York[6]
  • Exposition Park - Pittsburgh
  • The Fairgrounds - Lynchburg
  • Georgetown Park - Washington D.C.
  • Hippodrome Park - Cincinnati, OH. The park was also referred to as United States Park.
  • Gunther Park (Clark St and Leland Ave) - Chicago; now Chase Park [7]
  • National Association Grounds - Cleveland
  • Lee Park (Moore Street and North Boulevard) - Richmond; became Boulevard Field of the Richmond Climbers in 1917, and now The Diamond[8]


  1. "New York Not Yet Named In Outlaw League". The New York Times. March 16, 1912.
  2. Haerle, Rudolf K. "The United States Baseball League of 1912: A Case Study of Organizational Failure" (PDF). LA84 Foundation. Retrieved 2009-01-22.
  3. "The United States Baseball League"
  4. Suehsdorf (1978), p. 54.
  5. "Schedule of the United States League, Season 1912". The Richmond Times Dispatch Press. April 8, 1912.
  6. "NEW LEAGUE OPENS SEASON IN BRONX; New York and Reading Teams Play Ten-Inning Tie Game, Score 10 to 10". The New York Times. 2 May 1912. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  7. Wrigley Field: the unauthorized biography By Stuart Shea, George Castle, p. 8-9
  8. Daniel, W. Harrison (2011). Baseball and Richmond: a history of the professional game, 1884-2000. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 61.


  • Suehsdorf, A. D. (1978). The Great American Baseball Scrapbook. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-394-50253-1
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