Captain John Wildey, Tammany Hall, and the Rise of Professional Baseball

By Mark Souder

This article was published in the 2017 The National Pastime.

An extraordinary linkage of professional baseball and Tammany Hall began with the rise of both baseball and Tammany prior to the Civil War. Fireman John Wildey was the point person for the Mutuals baseball team and aided Boss Tweed’s rise to political power. Wildey was the first and last President of the National Association of Base Ball Players, the organization that represents the major turning point in the official professionalization of baseball. “On Monday morning, before accepting of any civilities at the hands of the Nationals, the Mutuals [of . . .

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