American Association 19th century

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The American Association (AA) was a professional baseball league from 1882 to 1891.

The "AA" offered cheaper ticket prices and more liberal libations to its patrons, and became known as "The Beer and Whiskey League", especially by supporters of the National League. This nickname is ironic in view of the fact that "AA" is now most commonly used to mean Alcoholics Anonymous.

Together with the National League, the American Association participated in an early version of the World Series seven times during their ten-year coexistence.

The National League won most of those encounters, while some ended in ties due to disputes or other issues. The only victory for the American Association came in 1886 when the St. Louis Browns (now Cardinals) defeated the Chicago White Stockings (now Cubs).

Over that decade, the AA was weakened by several factors. One was the tendency of some of its teams to jump to the NL. The consistently stronger NL also put it in better position to survive adverse conditions. The most significant blow to the AA was dealt by the Players' League, a third major league in 1890, which siphened off talent and gate receipts.

In a unique historical oddity, Brooklyn played in the World Series with the AA in 1889, and with the NL in 1890. That final Series ended in a draw, left unresolved due to growing animosity between the leagues.

The living legacy of the old Association is the teams that came over to the National League to stay, the teams now known as the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals.

Pennant winners of the AA

American Association franchises


  • 1887-Pittsburgh Alleghenys leave AA to join NL
  • 1889-Cleveland Spiders leave AA to join NL
  • 1890-Cincinnati Red Stockings and Brooklyn Bridegrooms leave AA to join NL
  • 1892-Baltimore Orioles, Louisville Colonels, St.Louis Browns, and Washington Senators join National League after the folding of the AA

AA presidents

  • H.D. McKnight 1882-1885
  • Wheeler C. Wyckoff 1886-1889
  • Zach Phelps 1890
  • Louis Kramer 1891
  • Ed Renau 1891
  • Zach Phelps 1891


  • Nemec, David (2004). The Beer and Whisky League : The Illustrated History of the American Association—Baseball's Renegade Major League, Guilford: The Lyons Press. ISBN 1592281885.
  • Pietrusza, David (1991). The Formation, Sometimes Absorption and Mostly Inevitable Demise of 18 Professional Baseball Organizations, 1871 to Present, Jefferson (NC): McFarland & Company. ISBN 0899505902.