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Friday, January 3, 2014
1969 Season - Coming Soon!
The 1969 Major League Baseball season was celebrated as the 100th anniversary of professional baseball, honoring the first professional touring baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings.
It was the first season of what is now called the "Divisional Era," where each league of 12 teams was divided into two divisions of six teams each. The winners of each division would compete against each other in a League Championship Series, then best-of-five, to determine the pennant winners that would face each other in the World Series.
In a year marked by the second expansion of the decade, the New York Mets and the Baltimore Orioles faced each other in the1969 World Series. Having won the N.L. East Division with a league-best 100–62 record, and sweeping the N.L. West Division Champion Atlanta Braves in three games in the first National League Championship Series, the "Miracle Mets" became the first expansion team to win a pennant. They faced the A.L. East Division Champion Orioles, holders of the best record in baseball (109–53), who swept the A.L. West Division Champion Minnesota Twins in three games in the first American League Championship Series. The upstart Mets would upset the heavily favored Orioles and win the World Series title in five games.
MLB called for a four-team expansion to take place in 1971 at the 1967 Winter Meetings, the first since 1962. However, there was a complication: influential Missouri U.S. Senator Stuart Symington was irate over the American League's approval of Kansas City Athletics owner Charles O. Finley's arrangement to move his team to Oakland, California, for the 1968 season. This happened even though Finley had just signed a deal to play at Municipal Stadium at AL president Joe Cronin's behest, and Jackson County, Missouri, had just issued public bonds to build a stadium, the future Kauffman Stadium.
Symington drew up legislation to remove baseball's anti-trust exemption, and threatened to pursue its passage if Kansas City did not get a new team. The Leagues agreed and moved expansion to 1968, with the AL putting one of its new franchises in Kansas City. Ewing Kauffman won the bidding for that franchise, naming it the Kansas City Royals, after the local American Royal livestock show. The other AL team was awarded to Seattle, Washington. A consortium led by Dewey Soriano and William Daley won the bidding for the Seattle franchise, and named it the Seattle Pilots, a salute to the harbor pilots of the Puget Sound maritime industry.
In the NL, one franchise was awarded to San Diego, California; the other to Montreal, Quebec, resulting in the first MLB franchise outside the United States. C. Arnholdt Smith, former owner of the AAA Pacific Coast League's San Diego Padres, won the bidding for the San Diego franchise, also naming it the Padres. Charles Bronfman, owner of Seagram, won the bidding for the Montreal franchise, naming them the Expos, in honor of the World's Fair that year. This was the last NL expansion until the 1993 season.