1891 December

11th  George Wagner, one of the owners of the Athletics, agrees to terms which will allow him to purchase the Washington club, thereby clearing a major stumbling block in Philadelphia.

15th  The AA and NL meet together in Indianapolis to settle the matter with the “frozen out” AA members: Milwaukee, Columbus, Chicago and Boston.

17th  The American Association passes out of existence after ten years as a settlement is finally reached. Four AA clubs (St. Louis, Louisville, Washington, and Baltimore) join with the NL 8 in a 12-club league formally styled “The National League and American Association of Professional Base Ball Clubs.” The other 4 AA clubs are bought out for about $130,000. The NL will allow Sunday games for the first time but will retain its 50 cent minimum admission price.

19th  Today’s issue of Sporting Life reports on a proposal for a designated hitter in an article headlined ‘Messrs. Temple and Spalding; Agree That the Pitcher Should be Exempt From Batting’:

In a recent conversation with J. Walter Spalding, of the New York Club, President Temple, of the Pittsburgs, brought up the question as to what disposition should be made of the pitcher in the batting order. President Temple favored the substitution of another man to take the pitcher’s place at the bat when it came his turn to go there. Mr Spalding advocated a change in the present system and suggested that the pitcher be eliminated entirely from the batting order and that only the other eight men of the opposing clubs be allowed to go to bat. Both gentlemen saw the necessity of some change, and Mr. Spalding intimated that his idea should prevail. The matter will in all likelihood be brought to the attention of the committee on rules, and either a substitute player take the pitcher’s place at bat or the pitcher be relieved from the necessity of going to bat at all.

Every patron of the game is conversant with the utter worthlessness of the average pitcher when he goes up to try and hit the ball. It is most invariably a trial, and an unsuccessful one at that. If fortune does favor him with a base hit it is ten to one that he is so winded in getting to first or second base on it that when he goes into the box it is a matter of very little difficulty to pound him all over creation.

(as noted by John Thorn and Mike Lynch, who point out that William Chase Temple is the originator of the designated hitter concept.)