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Introduction






The decade of the nineties in League history bids fair to surpass, in
exciting events, that of every preceding series of years known in the
annals of professional base ball. The decade in question began with the
players' revolt in 1890 and was followed up by the secession of the old
American Association, a fatal movement, which ended in the death of that
organization in the winter of 1891-92; the reorganization of the
National League resulting in the absorption of the best half of the old
Association clubs and the beginning of the experiment of governing the
whole professional fraternity by one major League instead of by a
dual government as before; this one powerful League being itself
controlled by the laws of the "National Agreement." The cost of the
amalgamation of the four American Association clubs with the National
League, together with the financial losses incurred by the revolutionary
period of 1890 and 1891--losses, by the way, which the players did not
participate in, the clubs alone being the sufferers--left a heavy burden
of debt to handicap the reconstructed National League in its efforts to
recover the public confidence in professional ball playing lost by the
malcontents of 1890 and 1891. But, nevertheless, the seasons of 1892
and 1893 saw the heavy indebtedness removed from the League's shoulders;
and in 1894 the flourishing financial times of 1888 and 1889 were, in a
measure, renewed, and for the first time since the Brotherhood revolt of
1890, the professional base ball business in 1894 became a paying
investment.

It will scarcely be believed that, in the face of the financial losses
incurred during the revolutionary period of 1890 and 1891, that the
closing part of the season of 1894 saw another attempt made to renew the
troubles of 1891, by an effort made to resuscitate the defunct American
Association under the banner of "Death to the League's reserve rule,"
together with that of a joint attempt made to revive the old Brotherhood
plan of rival League clubs in the larger base ball cities of the Union.
This revolutionary effort, made by one of the promoters of the revolt of
1890, aided by two dismissed managers and a disgruntled star player
itching for notoriety at any cost, led the magnates of the National
League to adopt repressive measures calculated to put an end to any
future revolutionary efforts of the kind, by severely punishing any
League club manager or player who should prove recreant in fealty to the
laws of the National Agreement, or who should join in any attempt to
organize any base ball association opposed to the reserve rule, which
rule over ten years' experience had proved to be the fundamental law and
corner-stone of the professional base ball business. Without such a
repressive law it was evident that the League would be subject to
periodical attempts on the part of unscrupulous managers or players to
war upon the reserve rule for blackmail purposes. The necessity for some
such law was made evident by the recent efforts made to organize a new
American Association on the basis of not only warring upon the reserve
rule but of trespassing on the territorial rights of existing League
clubs.





Next: The League Manifesto Of 1894




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