Day Nixon Resigned: MLB Snubs D.C. Yet Again

Our city was screwed out of baseball for 34 years by greedy, self-serving owners. We also narrowly missed landing the Padres for the 1974 season.

On August 8th, 1974 — the day Nixon resigned — the article below was printed in the Washington Post, detailing how D.C. was, yet again, screwed out of baseball.

New York, Aug. 7–American League president Lee MacPhail said tonight that team owners have deferred for at least a week any decision on a plan to play up to 20 games in Washington next year.

“We’re still pursuing it. The clubs which have agreed to help said they’d give us more time to work on it,” MacPhail said, referring to himself and others in the AL studying the proposal.

He added he would like to see a “little more encouragement from Washington–either through the ad hoc committee or the media.” The former was a reference to a congressional committee headed by Rep. B. F. Sisk (D-Calif.) which seeks to return baseball to the capital.

The committee, through a spokesman, has refused to endorse the 20-games proposal until a commitment for a Washington franchise is made by owners of both American and National league teams.

While the NL has not included the proposal on its meetings agenda, there is an outside–but unlikely–possibility it could consider the plan Thursday. Only one NL team has so far agreed to play in Washington.

NL president Chub Feeney said the proposal was meant to be “helpful to Washington,” but noted that stadium lease contracts have prohibited most NL teams from actively considering the plan. This is also true in the AL.

Thus, the proposal has emerged an almost exclusively AL card, with the Baltimore Orioles and six other AL teams agreeing to play in Washington.

Former D.C. Council chairman Gilbert Hahn Jr. offered to sponsor the package after it was rejected by Joseph B. Danzansky, Robert I. Schattner and Marvin Willig, who tried futilely to buy the San Diego Padres last year. The group has said it won’t sponsor such a proposal without a commitment for a D.C. team.

Like Washington and New Orleans, Seattle and Toronto are bidding for major league teams. No expansion is expected to take place before 1976.

“Expansion is not on the agenda but probably will be discussed at the league meetings,” commissioner Bowie Kuhn admitted.

The agenda for both leagues also included plans to revise the format for the league playoffs. Three changes were submitted, all by Bill Bartholomay, owner of the Atlanta Braves.

Basically, each format would add two teams to each league playoff so that eight clubs, instead of the present four, would be included in postseason play.

It was the fourth time in five years that some proposal to revise the playoff structure has been discussed and a spokesman admitted he saw little chance for passage.

Interesting. Not only did we get screwed out of baseball, but the owners were actually talking about adding wildcard playoff spots in  1974.

Richard Nixon at the Washington Senators versus the New York Yankees baseball game on Opening Day. 4/6/69.
Richard Nixon at the Washington Senators versus the New York Yankees baseball game on Opening Day. 4/6/69.

Oh, also … August 7th happened to be the day Philippe Petit did his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers.


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