Sunday, September 12, 2004


Sports Leagues and Teams: An Encyclopedia, 1871 through 1996 by Mark Pollak is a seven hundred-page reference book. As such, it's one of the least practical, but most fascinating, reference books I've come across. It's basically what the title says: a listing of sports leagues and the teams belonging to them. It aims to list all leagues that aspired to be major professional leagues, as long as they played any games at all. Thus, there are forty baseball leagues listed: in addition to the usual suspects there are such leagues as the International Association and the Northwest League from the 1870s and the United States League of 1912-13, as well as fifteen negro leagues, six women's leagues, one indoor baseball league, and one senior baseball league. There are no less than fifty-three leagues listed for basketball, among them six women's and one height-restricted league. There are forty-five leagues listed for roller hockey, which apparently was quite popular in New England in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; and there are leagues listed for football, ice hockey, soccer and a variety of other sports, from bowling through wrestling. With so many leagues, it's not surprising that the listing of New York City's teams covers three columns of small type (soccer alone has a whole column). Even Champaign, IL, the small city where I live, had a "major league" team: a roller hockey team in the Central Polo League, which played for part of the 1905-06 season. Maybe it's just me, but for me there's something fascinating about looking at lists of teams like the Lynn Live Oaks and the Rochester Hop Bitters (from baseball's International Association), or the Paterson Silk Sox (from the second Interstate [Basketball] League), who had previously been known as the New York Treat 'Em Roughs. There are also listings of the stadiums, arenas, and/or playing fields used by each team.

It's published by McFarlane & Co., and its ISBN is 0-7864-0252-0.


Sorry about Thursday's non-post (I don't view my own blog regularly, so it was only today that I realized the body had somehow gotten lost). The above is the one that should have been posted Thursday.

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