This document is a precursor to the eventual Constitution. Some elements are related only to league start-up and will not be part of the final Constitution. Please read this carefully as it contains many things that are germane to the start of the league.
Note that several of the guidelines put forth below have been changed in the final edition of the AA Constitution.
The AmericanAssociation (AA) is a subsidiary of the Ohio Old-Time Strat-O-Matic League (OOSL). Its governance will be in association with OOSL practices and procedures. The goal of the AA is to provide another opportunity to participate in a league featuring some of the greatest talents in base ball, with an emphasis on fun that reflects the early legacy of Major League baseball.
There will be no separate league dues for any owner who is current with their OOSL league dues, UNLESS a member requires that stats/rosters be mailed via the US Postal Service. If any manager chooses to receive his/her stats/updates via regular mail, they will be charged a non-refundable fee of $15 prior to the start of the season.
The AA will consist of 16 teams. The teams will be separated into two divisions of 8 teams each. Teams will play a 148 game Regular Season schedule.
The league will consist of teams that are owned and run by mix of human owners and league owned, computer managed teams. The preference will always be to have as many human controlled teams as possible, with the goal of having all 16 teams owned and controlled by humans.
All American Association owners must operate under the realization that the league: 1) serves as a feeder league for prospective future OOSL members and 2) that, at some point in the future, when the OOSL is at full human capacity and the AA has a clear majority of "new" human owners, that two leagues may come together to form a 32 team OOSL "super league." While this may never happen, numerous decisions pertaining to the AA have/will be made with this contingency in mind. AA owners who have an OOSL franchise must be willing to sacrifice their AA franchise if called upon, to accommodate a prospective OOSL member. This, of course, would be a last resort.
16 franchise names with significant historical relevance have been selected for use in the American Association. League owners will choose their franchise name using the following guidelines/procedures:
1) OOSL owners are restricted to running an AA franchise that represents the league opposite from their OOSL franchise. In other words, the owner of the OOSL Baltimore Orioles (American League) must select an AA franchise that is affiliated with the OOSL National League. Each available AA franchise will be designated with a league affiliation (see below).
2) AA team affiliations will be initially determined using a bidding system. Each owner has 100 points to "bid." The owner who has bid the most points on a particular franchise wins the name of that franchise. The only bidding restriction is that an owner must bid on at least two different franchises. Thus, an owner could bid 99 points on one franchise and 1 point on another, or bid 20 points on five different franchises. The most points bid wins the franchise. Ties will be broken by dice rolling. Owners who lose on every bid they made will go through the bidding process again upon the completion of the original bidding.
Owners may choose any ballpark historically used by their franchise in their city for a notable length of time that is properly rated using the Strat-O-Matic Game Company's ratings method, in conjunction with "Total Baseball" Park Factor Ratings.
Teams in the American Association may not switch their name, city, or affiliation under any circumstance. A team can switch to a different historical ballpark in their home city, but must remain in the same ballpark for at least three seasons before changing from one to another.
Here is a list of the available American Association teams and their league affiliations. Remember: if you already have an OOSL franchise, you must only place bids on teams with an opposite league affiliation. Associate Managers (and this is important): you will only be able to assume control of an OOSL team with the opposite league affiliation of the AA team you choose. Here they are:
AMERICAN LEAGUE AFFILIATION:
Bacharach Giants (Negro League power)
Birmingham Black Barons (Negro League power)
Brooklyn Atlantics (Perhaps the greatest team before the formation of the NA)
Minnesota Twins (Recent power; derivative of Washington Senators)
Pittsburgh Crawfords (Negro League power)
St. Louis Browns (Forerunner of modern Baltimore Orioles)
Toledo Blue Stockings (AA team; famous for marking the "beginning" of segregation)
Toronto Blue Jays (Recent power)
Washington Senators (Forerunner of modern Minnesota Twins)
NATIONAL LEAGUE AFFILIATION:
Buffalo Bisons (19th century power)
Detroit Wolverines (19th century power)
Indianapolis ABC's (Negro League power)
Louisville Colonels (Forerunner of Pittsburgh Pirates)
Newark Eagles (Negro League power)
Philadelphia Phillies (Long-time National League franchise)
Providence Grays (19th century power)
Some comments - these teams were selected to both: 1) flavor the OOSL with a diversity of teams who span all of base ball history; 2) represent a diversity of different and important cities.
You should notice the discrepancy, with recent teams having AL affiliation and 19th century teams with NL. That is because most 19th century teams did have NL roots, giving us a richer pool to deal with. The Brooklyn Atlantics are in the AL because they, unlike the other 19th century choices, weren't affiliated in any meaningful way with the NL. In a way, this also reflects the history of the real "Senior" and "Junior" circuits.
You undoubtedly notice that there are nine franchises with AL affiliations and seven franchises with NL affiliations. That is because, in order to allow in the important Pittsburgh Crawfords franchise (we would already have two franchises in Pittsburgh with the Pirates and the Homestead Grays) we are going to move the Grays to the National League and base them in Washington. This is a historically accurate option that would only occur when/if the leagues merge. Associate managers especially be aware of this: whoever takes the Grays in the OOSL is implicitly agreeing to participate in this potential move.
After every human has bid successfully for a franchise name, all of the names will be dropped in a hat and a drawing will be held to determine divisional affiliations. The drawing will be altered in the later stages to insure there are a balanced number of humans in both divisions. There is no relevance or tie-in with eventual affiliations: while the AA independently exists, we will ignore the latter contingency.
The league is governed by a Commissioner and two others who collectively make up an Executive Committee. Currently the Commissioner is Lon Whitehead and the Executive Committee includes Dirk Knemeyer and Mike Thomsen.
Most league decisions will be made in the context of the parent league, the OOSL. Smaller decisions pertaining solely to the American Association might be made by the Commissioner or Executive Committee. However, while some league matters and issues are determined by the Executive Committee, no major rule change can be made without an open vote of all league members who are eligible to vote.
Any decision made by the Commissioner, a member of the Executive Committee, or the Executive Committee as a whole, can be challenged by another league member and as such be brought to an open vote. Even league members who are not eligible to vote can challenge one of the above situations. League-wide votes are final and not open to challenge. Tie votes result in the status quo being maintained.
In order to be eligible to vote an owner must have played through an entire American Association season and paid for the subsequent year. This is to prevent individuals who will not be around for the long term from manipulating situations in a way detrimental to the league.
Any member of the American Association, whether they have voting privileges or not, can suggest a new rule or a change to an existing rule that will then be brought up for a league-wide vote, unless the Executive Committee unanimously deems it ridiculous.
After the regular season the two divisional champions meet in a best-of-nine series to determine the Temple Cup Champion.
In the event two or more teams have the same record to lead a division, a tiebreaker process will begin. If there are only two teams with the same record, they will meet in a one game play-off that counts toward the Regular Season. The team that hosts that game will be determined by the following tiebreaker process: head-to-head record, record within the division, runs scored-runs allowed differential, a coin flip.
If there are more than two teams with the same record, the tiebreaker formula is used until only two teams remain to play in the one game play-off for the division title.
There are no usage restrictions in the play-offs beyond those in place for the Regular Season.
The Temple Cup will be played in a 2-2-2-2-1 format. The team with the best Regular Season record hosts games 1, 2, 5, 6, and 9.
Tiebreakers for determining home field advantage are: head-to-head record, record against the other division, greater runs scored-runs allowed differential, coin flip.
Each American Association team must have 30 players on its roster with no less than 16 fielding cards and no less than 11 pitching cards.
Any player who has a card in Strat-O-Matic's Career Normalized card set and meets the following requirements is eligible to participate in the American Association:
1) Was not owned by an OOSL franchise during the same year.
2) Is set up for at least 224 at-bats or 50 innings pitched by Strat-O-Matic.
Trading will be allowed from September 1 until the midseason All-Star Series. No trading will be allowed after the All Star Series has been completed. All teams must conform to the OOSL roster rules at the completion of any trade. No trading will be allowed between the completion of the All-Star Series and the conclusion of the Temple Cup Series. There will be a 30-day trading period commencing upon completion of the Temple Cup Series. After the 30-day trading period, no trading will be allowed until September 1 of the following year.
There will be no player usage restrictions for batters. For pitchers, the only restriction will be as follows: any pitcher not rated by Strat-O-Matic for at least 115 innings pitched will be limited to no more than 20 starts. If a pitcher rated for less than 115 innings makes 20 starts, he will be designated as ineligible for the remainder of the regular season, beginning with the game following that in which he made his 20th start. Any pitcher with less than 115 innings may make no more than one start in any single post-season series. If he makes one such start, he will be made ineligible for the remainder of that particular playoff series. Players with separate batting and pitching cards can have both active and in use at all times.
The Strat-O-Matic gameplay rules will be identical to those used by the Ohio Old-Time Strat-O-Matic League (OOSL) except as noted below. In all situations not specifically covered in this document, gameplay issues will be resolved in accordance with standard OOSL rules interpretations.
All super-advanced Strat-O-Matic rules are employed with the exception of the closer
rule and any "Maximum Rules" which allow results not based on the actual Strat-O-Matic cards. These include "Improve statistical accuracy", "Bunt for base hit", "Home field advantage", and "Starting pitcher clutch".
Each manager will be required to turn in a computer manager file prior to the opening day of the season, along with any other pertinent instructions. The only other instructions that will be allowed will be specific game by game starting pitching assignments and specific game by game starting lineups. No other contingency instructions will be allowed in order that each team, human owned or computer run, will be handled in a manner which will be relatively equal.
All actual league games will be played on the computer, by Lon Whitehead, in a computer vs. computer format. Games will be played between Monday and Friday of each week, with updated league roster and statistic files emailed to owners by 11:59 pm Saturday of each week. League members may then peruse their stats and rosters and make any changes to their computer manager files, sending them via email (attached or in text form) to Lon by 11:59 pm Sunday evening for the next week's games. Instructions will be accepted after that point with the understanding that some or all of a team's games for that week may have already been played. If no new computer manager file is turned in for a franchise for a week's games, the existing computer manager file will continue to be used.
After the season, each American Association team will lose two players to free agency. Every team in the league protects 10 players from possible free agency. By rule, among the ten protected, every player with less than 320 at-bats and 62 innings pitched must be included. From the 20 unprotected players, two will be randomly selected as being draft eligible.
The draft order will be determined by drawing team franchise names out of a hat.
It will be a serpentine draft, meaning that the draft order will:
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16 in odd numbered round and
16-15-14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 in even numbered rounds
All teams draft until they have 30 players on their roster. By rule, all teams must conform to AA Roster Guidelines at the end of the draft. Teams that bring a core of former OOSL Minor Leaguers already have 20 players and will stop drafting after the tenth round.
The American Association draft occurs in September.
It is a three round draft. Along with the two free agents randomly lost, each team releases a third player of the owner's choice.
Draft order is inverse of regular season winning percentage. It is a straight draft order.
Teams may draft without restriction provided that all players taken qualify in the "Rosters" section of this document above.
Implicit in the AA Roster rules is the reality that AA teams will be able to draft potential OOSL rookies and essentially keep them out of the OOSL. This is done intentionally, to up the talent level in the AA so that it better combines with the OOSL in the future. Important: To offset this, some method of equitable trading between OOSL and AA teams during the off-season for both leagues will be discussed. Along with the more limited free agency, current rules would essentially "lock" a large percentage of great players out of the OOSL for the foreseeable future.
Teams are free to trade without limit during periods of open trading.
The process for trading with computer teams is to be announced.
At this time, American Association teams may not trade with OOSL teams.
Any American Association owner can challenge a trade if he deems it unfair for a ruling by the governing body of the league.
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