Archive for August 12th, 2009

Origins of Baseball Team Names 5

Detroit Tigers

Imagine ballplayers and savage tigers playing baseball, at the same time! Well it happened. In 1895 the Detroit Tigers were part of the Midwest Animal League (M.A.L.). The league formed by P.T. Barnum Jr. combined wild animals with baseball, other teams in the league included the St. Paul Monitor Lizards, Maumee Wolverines, and the Evansville Hyenas. The league only lasted three years and while it was a financial success it was hard to get good players, most teams were populated by convicts and the mentally infirm. And while only 16 players and officials were killed in those three years, many were severely maimed. In 1898 P.T. Barnum Jr. got bored with the animal league and moved onto his new new passion, political assassination (it was rumored that he was behind the assassination of President Mckinley, and later Archduke Ferdinand). The league soon stumbled to a halt and in 1901 the Tigers were absorbed into the Major Leagues. On a side note the tigers themselves were slaughtered and their skins were made into team uniforms, they were ill fitting and soon discarded. An original Ty Cobb tiger skin uniform was just sold at auction for $75,000.

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