Temple Cup

William Temple, the president of the Pittsburgh Pirates, proposed in 1893 that a postseason series be played between the National League‘s first- and second-place teams. In the 1880s, there had been postseason play between the winners of the NL and the American Association, but in 1892 the NL absorbed the AA (becoming a 12-team circuit) and played a split season. That plan was roundly criticized, and was dropped after just one year; in 1893 the Pirates had finished second to the Boston Beaneaters, and Temple felt they had missed a series that was due them. The Temple Cup series was patterned after the earlier Dauvray Cup; permanent possession of the Cup, which cost $800, would go to the first team to win it three times. Lack of enthusiasm on the part of the players doomed the series; their apathy spread to the fans, who stayed away in droves in later years. The series was dropped after 1897, with no team taking the Cup, although the Orioles were close with two winning series; had they taken it seriously in their first two efforts, they would most likely have captured it. Instead, the league returned it to Mr. Temple; it is now in the Hall of Fame.