United States Baseball League
Inaugural season1912
CEOWilliam Abbott Witmann
No. of teams8
CountryUnited States
Pittsburgh Filipinos (1912) but only partial season

The United States Baseball League was a short-lived hopeful third major-league that was established in New York City in 1912 and lasted only one partial season.


In March 1912, organizers of the proposed league – described by members of the sports establishment as an "outlaw league" – met in New York's Hotel Imperial.[1] The U.S. Baseball League subsequently organized teams in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York, Reading, Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia; and Washington, D.C.[2] The league president was William Witmann.[3]

Sports historian Rudolf K. Haerle observed that the U.S. Baseball League "stressed the inherent 'good' of baseball for all individuals and communities, and indicated that it wished to conduct its business in the accepted capitalist style–free competition in the marketplace".[2] Despite these lofty ambitions, the league quickly incurred the scorn and hostility of the baseball establishment.[2] Additionally burdened with weak leadership, limited financing, poor attendance, and a lack of skillful players, the U.S. Baseball League "folded after about one month of action".[2]


Many sports historians view the U.S. Baseball League as "a major precursor to the Federal League of 1914–1915".[2] The Federal League, which was the last independent major league, was financed by magnates including oil "baron" Harry F. Sinclair.[4]



The league's regular season began May 1, 1912 and ended June 5.[2] The Richmond Times Dispatch released the intended 126-game USL schedule, to have run from April 8 through September 22.[5]

Team Win Loss Pct
Pittsburgh Filipinos 19 7 .731
Richmond Rebels 15 11 .577
Reading (no name) 12 9 .571
Cincinnati Cams 12 10 .545
Washington Senators 6 7 .462
Chicago Green Sox 10 12 .455
Cleveland Forest City 8 13 .381
New York Knickerbockers 2 15 .118



  1. ^ "New York Not Yet Named In Outlaw League". The New York Times. March 16, 1912.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Haerle, Rudolf K. "The United States Baseball League of 1912: A Case Study of Organizational Failure" (PDF). LA84 Foundation. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 15, 2018. Retrieved 2009-01-22.
  3. ^ "The United States Baseball League". Seamheads.com. 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2020-08-28.
  4. ^ Suehsdorf (1978), p. 54.
  5. ^ "Schedule of the United States League, Season 1912". The Richmond Times Dispatch Press. April 8, 1912.
  6. ^ "NEW LEAGUE OPENS SEASON IN BRONX; New York and Reading Teams Play Ten-Inning Tie Game, Score 10 to 10". The New York Times. 2 May 1912. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  7. ^ Wrigley Field: the unauthorized biography By Stuart Shea, George Castle, p. 8-9
  8. ^ Daniel, W. Harrison (2011). Baseball and Richmond: a history of the professional game, 1884–2000. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 61.