Temple Cup

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The Temple Cup was a trophy awarded to the winner of a best-of-seven, post-season championship series in the National League, from 1894–1897. The 30-inch-high silver cup was donated by coal, citrus, and lumber baron William Chase Temple, the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates at the time. There was only one major league at the time, so the Series was played between the first- and second-place teams. The Temple Cup was also known as the World's Championship Series. If one team won three titles, that team would have permanent possession of the Cup.


In the 1880s, there had been postseason play between the winners of the National League and the American Association, but in 1892 the National League absorbed the Association, becoming a 12-team league, and played a split season. In 1893 the Pittsburgh Pirates had finished second to the Boston Beaneaters (today's Atlanta Braves). Pirates' president, William Chase Temple, felt that his team should have the option of having a playoff series to claim the title. As a result, Temple had his $800 trophy minted and donated it to the league. The revenue was to be split 65% to 35%; however, the players of the first series (1894) decided to evenly split the money. However, after the series the New York Giants cheated some Baltimore Oriole players out of their money, tainting the Cup and prompting Temple to sell the Pirates in disgust.

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