Weds. marked a bittersweet day for researchers of Major League Baseball as the league moved completely into the digital age by making the 2009 editions of the Red and Green Books only available in PDF through the league’s media site.
For researchers, these books hold a wide range of information, and in the case of older versions, a window into the days when the leagues were controlled separately under the commissioner.
According to The Associated Press:
The guides to the National and American leagues started publication in the 1930s and have been an invaluable research tool for media. In the 1980s and perhaps the 1990s, an edition also was sold commercially to fans.
Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said Wednesday that not having printed editions would save the sport about $100,000.
Each of the books (so named for the color of their respective covers) covers some like ground, but in many cases, differing information. As an example, the 2009 editions now published have details on the current ownership groups in the American League’s Red Book, while the National League’s Green Book does not.
There is some common ground, however, in that league-wide information as it pertains to the business of baseball is sprinkled about between the two. It should be noted that the one book that is not published, and the one of most interest to those researching the business side of the league is the Blue Book. Older versions can be purchased on eBay or through the indispensable Bobby Plapinger who owns R. Plapinger Baseball Books out of Medford, OR. Landing current versions is a rare feat as the Blue Book contains material such as the MLB Constitution and other information designed for club executives only.
Here’s some tidbits of information from the 2009 Red and Green Books. It should be noted that these are league published documents, and therefore personal descriptions of those within are from the league’s point of view.
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FROM THE GREEN BOOK
MLB GUIDELINES FOR MOVEMENT OF RETRACTABLE ROOFS (NL)
• The decision as to whether a game begins with the roof open or closed rests solely with the home club.
• If the game begins with the roof open:
It shall be closed only in the event of impending rain or other adverse weather conditions. The decision to close the roof shall be made by the home club, after consultation with the Umpire Crew Chief.
• The Umpire Crew Chief shall notify the visiting club, which may challenge the opening of the roof if it feels that a competitive imbalance will arise. In such an event, the Umpire Crew Chief shall make a final decision based on the merits of the challenge.
• (Arizona, Houston): Once the roof is closed during a game, it shall not be re-opened.
• (Milwaukee Only): The roof may be re-opened by following the procedures for opening the roof as detailed below.
• If the game begins with the roof closed:
• (Arizona, Houston, Milwaukee): It may be opened when, in the opinion of the home club, the climatic environment has reached a level where fan comfort and enjoyment will be best served by opening the roof to the natural atmospheric conditions. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following guidelines should be applied opening the roof during a game.
• The roof may be opened only once during the game.
• The Umpire Crew Chief will be notified at the commencement of the inning that the roof will be opened at the inning’s conclusion.
• The Umpire Crew Chief shall notify the visiting club, which may challenge the opening of the roof if it feels that a competitive imbalance will arise. In such an event, the Umpire Crew Chief shall make a final decision based on the merits
of the challenge.
• The opening of the roof shall only commence between innings.
• (Arizona Only): The roof shall be opened in a pair of 2 minute; 15 second intervals; one interval at the conclusion of an inning and one interval at the conclusion of the next inning.
FROM RED BOOK
- Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis . . . Elected 11/12/20 for a term to last until his death or resignation. Died in office, November 25, 1944.
- (Position vacant until April 24, 1945.)
- A.B. Happy Chandler . . . Elected April 24, 1945 to a seven-year term. Resigned on July 15, 1951; but agreed to serve until a successor was elected.
- Ford Frick . . . Elected September 20, 1951 and served until retirement in 1965.
- General William Eckert . . . Elected November 17, 1965; served until December 20, 1968.
- (Position vacant until February 8, 1969.)
- Bowie K. Kuhn . . . Elected for one year on February 8, 1969; elected to a seven-year term on August 13, 1969; re-elected on July 17, 1975 for an additional seven years. Withdrew on August 3, 1983 but extended to December 31, 1983; on December 8, 1983 was extended to March 1, 1984; on March 3, 1984, was extended through September 30, 1984.
- Peter V. Ueberroth . . . Elected March 3, 1984 to a five-year, three-month term commencing October 1, 1984. (Served as Commissioner through March 31, 1989.)
- A. Bartlett Giamatti . . . Elected September 8, 1988, beginning April 1, 1989. Died in office, September 1, 1989.
- Francis T. Vincent, Jr. . . . Named acting Commissioner to replace A. Bartlett Giamatti on September 2, 1989. Elected Commissioner on September 13, 1989 to complete A. Bartlett Giamatti’s five-year term. Resigned from office September 7, 1992.
- Allan H. “Bud” Selig . . . Assumed duties of acting Commissioner as Chairman of Executive Council, replacing Francis T. Vincent, Jr. on September 9, 1992. Elected Commissioner on July 9, 1998 for a five-year term; had term extended three years on November 27, 2001; received another three-year extension on August 19, 2004. On January 17, 2008, he was given another three-year extension which will bring him until the end of 2012. His latest extension will give him the second longest term of any Commissioner in baseball history. He has been responsible for the evolution of today’s game. Interleague Play; Wild Card format in the playoffs; the World Baseball Classic; and the new Steroids testing policy to name a few.
FROM THE RED BOOK
AMERICAN LEAGUE PRESIDENTS
BYRON BANCROFT JOHNSON
Originally elected for 10 years, re-elected for a term of 20years. Retired on account of ill health, October 18, 1927.
ERNEST S. BARNARD
Elected for three years, re-elected for five years but died in office, March 27, 1931.
Elected for three years, re-elected in 1933 for five years, re-elected in 1938 for 10 years, re-elected in 1947 for 10 years, re-elected in 1956 for 10 years. Resigned effective February 1, 1959 and elected Chairman of the Board.
JOSEPH EDWARD CRONIN
Elected for seven years February 1, 1959, re-elected for seven years November 17, 1965. Elected Chairman of the Board effective January 1, 1974.
LELAND S. MAC PHAIL, JR.
Elected for five-year term October 23, 1973, effective January 1, 1974 and re-elected for five years. Announced his retirement, but was elected President of Player Relations Committee, effective January 1, 1984.
ROBERT W. BROWN, M.D.
Completed his tenth season as A.L. President. Elected to a five-year term in December of 1983, extended in 1988 for an additional two years, again in 1990 for two years, and extended for one additional year through 12/31/93. Remained in office through July 31, 1994, at the behest of A.L. ownership.
GENE A. BUDIG
Elected for five-year term beginning August 1, 1994. Term extended three years, to December 31, 2002. Resigned December 31, 1999 to become Senior advisor to the Commissioner.
FROM THE GREEN BOOK
NATIONAL LEAGUE PRESIDENTS
Morgan G. Bulkeley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1876
William A. Hulbert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1877–1882
A.G. Mills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1883–1884
Nicholas Young . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1885–1902
Henry Pulliam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1903–1909
Thomas J. Lynch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1910–1913
John K. Tener . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1914–1918
John A. Heydler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1918–1934
Ford Frick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1935–1951
Warren C. Giles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1951–1969
Charles S. Feeney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1970–1986
A. Bartlett Giamatti . . . . . . . . . 1987–March 31, 1989
William D. White . . . . April 1, 1989–February 28, 1994
Leonard S. Coleman, Jr. . . . . . March 1, 1994–1999
Source: 2009 Editions of the Red and Green Books
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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