The 1914 Indianapolis Hoosiers are the answer to one of the more ignominious trivia questions about American baseball: "What is the only major league team to relocate the year after winning a pennant?"
Fed up with poor ticket sales and competition with the three Chicago, Illinois teams (the Cubs, White Sox, and Federal League opponents the Whales), Oklahoma oil salesman Harry Sinclair bought out the minority shareholders in the Hoosiers and moved them to Newark, New Jersey, where they were renamed the Peppers. Despite the relocation, the team fully expected to repeat as champions in the league.
Returning from the winning squad was their ace Cy Falkenberg, their star infield of Jimmy Esmond, Bill McKechnie, and Frank LaPorte, and hard-hitting Vin Campbell. Though the team lost their superstar Benny Kauff to the major leagues, they struck a deal to pull in the star pitcher Ed Reulbach. Reulbach (a stern Catholic teetotaler) had previously been a Hall of Fame-caliber hurler for the Chicago Cubs, but had recently suffered a series of arm injuries that limited his talents. Newark felt confident that his injuries were behind him, and he would return to form. In addition, backup outfielder Edd Roush had shown promise the year prior and would take the place of Kauff.
Unfortunately for the Peppers, their lack of retooling proved to be their downfall. Most of the other clubs in the League had pulled over some decent Major League Baseball talent - talent that shined all the more in this league of has-beens and never would bes. While Reulbach did return to form, going 21-20 with a 2.32 ERA, everyone else on the team suffered major declines in their statistics. The team's batting average slipped from .285 to .252, their home run total dropped from 33 to 17; and the team scored nearly 200 runs less than in 1914. However, what really destroyed the team was fielding. The team's 2.60 ERA was first in the league, but they gave up over 160 unearned runs! Needless to say, the team's win total also dipped accordingly, and the team finished 80-72, only good enough for 5th place in a tight race all around.
That offseason, the owners and executives of the Federal League cut a deal with Major League Baseball to disband. Sinclair made nearly $2 million on his investment, and the Newark Peppers became the answer to another baseball trivia question: "Name the first and only major league baseball team to play in New Jersey."