We’ll soon be getting to the point where even otherwise grownup baseball fans won’t remember that the NL never used to play the AL outside of the All-Star game and World Series, that each league had it’s own President and, in many important ways, were administered separately. But every now and again I’ll read something that reminds me that the leagues were far more integrated in the 70s and 80s than compared to how things used to be:
Here’s another one of those surprises found in the old files.
Baseball approved interleague trading for a short period each winter [beginning in November 1959]. Players would not have to clear waivers to be dealt, so the Yankees could send Whitey Ford to the Dodgers for Sandy Koufax without any complications. That’s just an example, not some old baseball rumor.
The concept was not unanimously approved by team owners. The Yankees were the only American League team to vote against the plan, but the National League barely passed it, 5-3.
Fresco Thompson of the Dodgers thought the plan would “open the gates” to trade stars from one league to the other.
The leagues really were different beasts back in the day.