Characteristic of the small time; inferior; petty; second-rate; bush league: a small-time political power(1910+ Show business)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D. Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers. Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with small time
A modest or minor level of achievement, as in Her success took her out of the small time to prime-time television. This expression was originally used in vaudeville for second-rate theaters and productions.
[ Early 1900s