1881 Winter Meetings: Entry, Reactions, and Innovations

This article was written by Michael McAvoy

This article was published in the Baseball’s 19th Century Winter Meetings: 1857-1900


Baseball's 19th Century Winter Meetings: 1857-1900Introduction

The most important events of the season were the founding, organization, and successful completion of its championship season by the American Association of Professional Base Ball Clubs (AA), and the market responses by the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (NL), the incumbent, and the death of longtime NL President William Ambrose Hulbert. The AA sought status as an equal, but NL clubs interacted with each AA club as an unaffiliated one without NL privileges. To protect itself, the AA implemented independence and preemption policies that affected player relations, contracting, salaries, and club profits. Ultimately, the AA survived and its entry introduced market competition that improved the quality of baseball games and business practices.

The financial condition of some NL clubs at the end of the 1881championship season was not sustainable and generated internal tension during the 1882 season. The Worcester and Troy clubs were in small markets and Troy had lost its lease to its ball grounds. The Providence club had indebtedness. The direction of the Boston club was in turmoil, with groups of stockholders battling for control.1

Following the AA’s organization during early November, its clubs neither collectively nor individually requested membership within the League Alliance (NLLA), whose clubs formally affiliated with the NL for protection and privileges. By this action, the AA and its clubs signaled to the NL and its players their intent to achieve equal status. There were key differences between the NL and the AA. The AA was less centralized than the NL’s management system, with fewer club restrictions and more enlightened labor relations.2 After the Athletic Club signed William Crowley and Cincinnati signed Charley Jones, players who had been expelled by NL clubs, the NL interpreted the actions as hostile and undermining its new blacklist.3 Ominously for the NL, AA clubs succeeded in signing to 1882 contracts at least 13 former NL players, including at least one subject to the NL’s five-man rule, the early reserve clause.4 While the AA did not sign players who had signed contracts for the 1882 season with NL clubs, NL club managements in both Detroit and Boston signed players who had previously signed contracts with AA clubs.5 The AA business response was an “independence policy” which prohibited exhibition games between AA and NL clubs. When the AA clubs proved profitable, the new AA showed it would likely survive another season without NL patronage. Its “preemption policy” – the contracting of players during the 1882 summer for their labor services during 1883 – demonstrated that players would sign AA contracts offering higher salaries and that the AA had confidence that its clubs would be going concerns. In response, the NL sought an accommodation that established an early form of Organized Baseball.

Prior to its winter meeting, the NL had revised its blacklist policy, adding “carelessness and indifference” to dishonesty and insubordination as reasons for ineligibility.6 In addition, the standard player contract was revised to include behavior codes.7

Meeting of the National League Board of Directors
December 6, 1881, Tremont House, Chicago

The NL’s Board of Directors met at Chicago’s Tremont House on December 6, 1881, and adjourned immediately to the following morning.8 When in order, the Board accepted the review of 1881 championship season results and the treasurer’s report by NL Secretary-Treasurer Nicholas Young. The directors resolved to award Chicago the “championship of the United States for the year 1881.” The meeting proceeded to labor relations, suspensions, and the blacklist. The board denied the petition by player Phil Baker.9 It refused to take any action in regard to the petition for reinstatement submitted by player Charles Jones.10 The meeting concluded after the re-election of Young as secretary-treasurer.

Annual Meeting of the National League
December 7-9, 1881, Tremont House, Chicago

The annual meeting of the NL was held in Chicago at the Tremont House, on December 7, 1881.11 The primary elements of the annual meeting were membership, the blacklist policy, and the NL response to the organization of the AA. After losing money in 1881, the Providence club reportedly planned to withdraw its membership if the NL failed to reinstate its players.12 Both the Troy and Providence clubs were reportedly offered a franchise at Philadelphia, a more lucrative location for visiting clubs.13 Several clubs, as many as five, were alleged to seek more liberal bylaws regarding outside club relationships.14

The meeting continued on Thursday, December 8, when the NL amended its constitution and playing rules, adopted a motion to hold the next annual meeting at the Hotel Dorrance, Providence, Rhode Island; authorized the NL president to reconvene the annual meeting at any time prior to April 1, 1882; elected the 1882 NL umpires; delegated Young to arrange the publication of the NL book; awarded the baseball supply contract to A.G. Spalding Brothers; and appointed uniform15 and schedule committees.16

Among constitutional amendments approved, one changed voting rights. A club with representation on the board of directors was permitted to change its delegate at any time. At an NL meeting, each club was allowed one vote and two delegates.17

The clubs revised the rules in regard to relationships of the players and their membership status with clubs and the NL. The secretary was ordered to maintain a record of violations to NL bylaws and to report it to the president. Players without an official NL contract could not appear in more than five championship games rather than five days as before, without a signed contract. A released player could not play with an NL or NLLA club for 20 days after his release, during which the player was not permitted to return to his former club, but would continue to be paid in full for the 20 days. However, to receive payment for salary, the released player could be required to work for the club.18

Another change was that official correspondence between clubs was to be between club presidents.19

The meeting resumed at 9:30 A.M. on Friday, December 9, when the NL accepted the report prepared by the uniform committee, amended NLLA regulations, elected officers, and amended its blacklist policy. The uniform committee recommended that the 1882 NL uniform consist of white tie, pants, and belt, and leather shoes. Each club was to show a different color stocking. Each shirt and cap related a different color with the field position.20

In response to the organization of the AA, the NL amended NLLA regulations to enhance exclusivity and privileges.21 Any club that submitted an application for membership would be accepted with the consent of three NL clubs.22 NLLA members were provided exclusive territories the same as NL clubs (one Alliance member per city). Within the territory, the NLLA club was to be the only club with which NL clubs played games when abroad during the championship season. NLLA members were entitled to attend NL meetings as nonvoting delegates. NLLA clubs were required to provide NL clubs a choice of the higher of a $100 guarantee or 50 percent of game receipts.23 The NL admitted Philadelphia (although the club had neither grounds nor players) and the Metropolitan Club of New York to its NLLA.24 This action removed the New York club from further consideration for AA membership in 1882 and introduced an NL competitor to the AA club in Philadelphia. A consequence would be that traveling AA clubs could not easily arrange games in New York and its Athletic Club would not easily schedule games with non-AA visiting clubs.25

The NL re-elected Young as secretary and Hulbert as president.26 Elected directors were Brown (Worcester), Hotchkin (Troy), Jewett (Buffalo), and Thompson (Detroit).27

In its labor relations, the NL revised its player behavior codes to try to increase the expected costs of player misbehavior. The NL adopted the Saratoga resolution confirming its blacklist policy.28 NL clubs would not employ or play in games with a person as player, manager, or umpire if that person appeared in the NL blacklist. In effect, players in the list were ineligible to be engaged within organized professional baseball as player, manager, or umpire.29 The reserve list prevented clubs from acquiring the best talent. When an NL club used its privilege of suspension, it potentially penalized itself, because a suspended player could be placed on the blacklist by the NL. Blacklisted players had a limited right of appeal, but suspended players had no recourse with the NL, only their clubs. Regarding reinstatement, the NL required a unanimous vote to approve a player’s request.

The NL strengthened its position relative to the AA with its changes to the NLLA. The New York Metropolitan Club decided to not accept NL membership because of the 50-cent admission.30 The Philadelphia partnership of Reach and Phillips turned down NL membership because the available players not under contract were considered too low in skill for the risk entailed in membership.31 However, both clubs accepted NLLA membership with its exclusive territory privilege and mutual recognition of contracts.

Special Meeting of the National League
March 7, 1882, Rochester, New York

By March 7, 1882, when the NL held a special meeting at Rochester’s Osborn House, President Hulbert was seriously ill and absent.32 The delegates elected Boston’s Soden as chairman pro tem.33

Following Secretary Young’s recommendation, the delegates elected umpires, unanimously accepted the championship schedule prepared by the schedule committee, and unanimously resolved that all exhibition games played in April against NLLA members were to be played under NL rules. After a discussion, the NL continued to deny reinstatement for any player appearing in its blacklist.34 The delegates committed their clubs to not contracting with players for the 1883 season (or later) prior to October 23, 1882.35

The Metropolitan and Philadelphia NLLA clubs attempted to dictate terms to NL clubs for April exhibition games. The NL insisted upon its centralized terms for preseason games, threatening to ignore the NLLA privileges.36

American Association Meeting
March 13-14, 1882, Philadelphia

The Association meeting was held in the Continental Hotel at Philadelphia on March 13, 1882. The meeting was thought important enough for one baseball writer to declare that its outcome would determine whether the AA had an 1882 season.37

The press was interested in prospective relations between the NL and AA due to their conflict, but a desire to see if their clubs would play exhibitions.38 Because the AA clubs were not NLLA members, the NL did not recognize the contracts made between players and AA clubs. Hulbert said, “The League does not recognize the existence of any association excepting itself and the League Alliance.”39 By this meeting, three players who had signed contracts with AA clubs had also signed contracts with three NL clubs. Sam Wise contracted with Cincinnati (AA), then Boston (NL); Dasher Troy with Athletic (AA), then Detroit (NL); and Bill Holbert with Allegheny (AA), then Troy (NL). These actions revealed that the NL would not respect AA clubs’ contracts and that some players preferred to play in the NL. Although most AA club managers publicly opposed challenging the NL blacklist, other club managements were reported to be interested in contracting with some of the blacklisted players.40 To achieve their objectives, they would seek reinstatement for these players via the AA.41

The meeting also promised excitement over the sixth franchise. William Barnie was expected to withdraw membership for his Brooklyn Atlantic Club, removing a New York area franchise for the AA.42 In anticipation of that action, Allegheny player Myers obtained a release from his club conditioned upon the withdrawal of Brooklyn and promised financial backing from Baltimore organizers.43 In addition, representatives from Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington, Wheeling, and Indianapolis were expected to request AA membership.44

Once the meeting started, Brooklyn’s resignation and Baltimore’s application for membership were accepted.45

The meeting proceeded to NL relations. Caylor motioned that players expelled, suspended, or blacklisted by the NL or College Association after March 12 be permitted to appeal to the directors or the AA. When Reid offered to amend the motion by striking the date, the amendment failed.46 The AA adopted a compromise. A player expelled or blacklisted by the League or College Association after March 16, 1882, could appeal to the AA for reinstatement.47 If the AA Board of Directors determined the expulsion unjust, it could extend honorary membership to the player. A player who appeared on the blacklist on or before March 15, 1882, could not be engaged by an AA club until reinstated by the NL.48 Harold and Dorothy Seymour observe that this policy was a direct challenge to the NL.49 The policy could have been viewed by the NL as a challenge by the AA to the NL’s attempts to credibly control player behavior.

In regard to Wise, Troy, and Holbert, the AA asked their clubs, Cincinnati, Athletic, and Allegheny, not to expel them. In response to the Troy and Wise matters, the AA reportedly retained lawyers in each League city, New York, and Philadelphia, to enjoin Troy and Wise from playing with League clubs.50 The AA resolved to test its contracts in court by an injunction against Wise at Boston, and it decided not to expel him. The Holbert case with Allegheny was put aside pending the outcome of the Wise case.51 One reason cited for the modest AA action on Wise was that some of the AA clubs desired to play exhibitions with NL clubs. AA clubs could not play NL clubs if their rosters included ineligible players.52 Seymour and Seymour view the AA’s decision to test the baseball contract in a civil court as a “war measure” and a direct confrontation with the NL.53

The Troy matter affected proposed interleague exhibitions. Lew Simmons desired that AA clubs not play Detroit during April due to the presence of Troy on the club’s roster. Detroit manager Bancroft was present at the meeting and claimed to have no knowledge of the Athletic claims, but said Detroit would release Troy if the Athletics would agree to contract with Troy. Detroit otherwise wished to maintain its promise with Troy. Simmons was cited as unwilling to contract with Troy.54

The AA created an Association Alliance (AAA),55 similar to the NLLA. Harold and Dorothy Seymour consider the establishment of the AAA another challenge to the NL.56 The AA modified its bylaws and constitution to give clubs that applied for AAA membership and agreed to be governed by the AA constitution and bylaws all privileges of AA membership except the ability to vote at AA meetings.57 With its AAA, the AA directly competed with the NL to gain influence with the other professional clubs, on more equal terms.

The proposed schedule for the six clubs included 16 games against each opponent, or 80 championship games total.58

When the meeting continued on March 14, the AA accepted the resignations of board members William Barnie (whose club withdrew) and Charles Fulmer (who left management of the Athletic Club). In their places, the AA elected Lew Simmons (Athletic Club) and J.H. Pank (Eclipse Club).59 The AA adopted the 1881 NL playing rules60 and adopted the Mahn ball.61 The Association adopted different rules governing the umpire. The home club had the right to select the game umpire and pay all umpire expenses.62 The clubs were permitted to serve alcohol at their games.63 Unlike the NL, AA clubs could approach players for purposes of contracting for the 1883 season. Although Simmons preferred a date to protect his roster from depredations, Thorner argued successfully that without any date, AA clubs could counter NL offers.64

In the meeting’s aftermath, two important events occurred. First, longtime NL President W.A. Hulbert died of heart disease on April 10, 1882.65 Until its annual meeting, Boston’s Soden served as interim president.66 In Chicago, A.G. Spalding was elected the club president, and future NL President A.G. Mills was elected a director.67

The second important event was the “independence policy” adopted by the AA, which reflected the break in relations between the AA and the NL. Several preseason exhibition games between AA and NL clubs were scheduled and some were played. In mid-May, the Athletic club notified AA Secretary Williams that it had suspended Troy. If an NLLA club played any game with the Detroit NL club in which Dasher Troy appeared on the field, AA clubs would not be permitted to play games with that NLLA club.68 On May 29, 1882, Detroit played the NLLA club at Philadelphia with Troy in the lineup, and thereafter AA clubs refused to play games with NL and NLLA clubs.69 With a desire to continue the series of exhibition games with AA clubs, NL clubs quickly appealed to the Athletic club to reinstate Troy, with a promise by Detroit to release Troy to “end the difficulty.” However, the Athletic club continued to refuse to reinstate Troy.70 Compounding the difficulty, Cincinnati soon thereafter expelled Sam Wise.71 The independence policy was later judged to be a success and credited with providing the Association with the legitimacy that it was an equal with the League.72

National League Special Board of Directors Meeting
June 24, 1882, Russell House, Detroit

On June 24, 1882 at Detroit’s Russell House, a special meeting addressed alleged crooked umpiring by umpire Dick Higham.73 Meeting in secret session, a committee of the NL’s Board of Directors considered the allegations brought by the Detroit club’s President William G. Thompson that Higham tipped NL game results to gamblers. Thompson provided a letter in which a well-known Detroit gambler was instructed how to bet on games in which Higham was scheduled to be the game official. Although Higham pleaded his innocence, handwriting experts attested that the letter was in his hand. Freeman Brown also testified that Higham was seen in Worcester with a known gambler.74 The NL directors voted unanimously to expel Higham.75

American Association Special Meeting
July 2, 1882, Gibson House, Cincinnati

On July 2, 1882, except for the Baltimore club, all AA clubs were present and represented by delegates at Cincinnati’s Gibson House.76 At stake was the legitimacy of the AA and its 1882 championship season. The AA made unusual midseason changes to its umpiring system in response to the Eclipse club’s actions after a disagreement with the umpire’s work during a championship game and in conflict with the St. Louis club, which sought the expulsion of the Eclipse club from the AA.77 The 1882 season marked the start of the transition from the days when umpiring was an unknown profession to the modern professional system in which umpiring is a career choice.

At St. Louis on June 29, Eclipse withdrew from a game at the end of the fourth inning, citing “alleged unfair decisions” by the umpire, Pat McGee. McGee then properly forfeited the game to St. Louis. Eclipse left the city and failed to play the scheduled championship games on June 30 and July 1.78 Under AA rules, the Eclipse club should have been expelled for refusing to play the two games. Complicating the violation by the Eclipse club, McGee, the umpire, had provided an affidavit to St. Louis that Eclipse management had informed him that Tony Mullane’s arm was lame and requested McGee to “go easy” on Mullane in exchange for Eclipse advocating McGee for an AA umpire position. St. Louis owner Chris Von der Ahe was rumored to submit charges and request the AA to expel Eclipse.79 The negotiated solution was messy and rewarded Eclipse. The AA agreed that games the umpire had forfeited to St. Louis were to be replayed on July 5 and 6. The home games at Louisville scheduled for the week of July 2 were postponed until later in the season. The negotiated agreement over the umpire dispute may have preserved the 1882 season, but weakened the AA by establishing divisions and reinforcing cliques.

The AA proceeded to make changes to its umpire system. Secretary Williams was to select as umpire three names from six submitted names of well-known former players. These three men were to be signed to contracts and receive a salary. When traveling, the umpire was to travel with the visiting clubs, and all of the clubs were to share the traveling expenses.80

In a final bit of business, the AA resolved to enforce the rule that clubs must immediately contract with players.81

After the meeting, the AA increased tensions with the NL through its “preemption policy.” During July 1882 AA clubs began to sign NL players to 1883 contracts. The Allegheny club innovated a form of labor contract, the option, which, upon acceptance of consideration, was a promise by the player to sign an AA contract in October 1882 for the 1883 season. The option contract allowed the NL player to state that he had not contracted with an AA club for the 1883 season, and also revealed the amount an AA club was willing to bid for an NL player’s services.82 The willingness of several AA clubs to negotiate 1883 contracts with NL players, and their contracting with AA players for the following season, generated considerable notice in the press, and signaled that the AA was likely to continue as a viable competitor to the NL with its labor reserve policy. One baseball writer noted, “No end of worriment is being caused to the League clubs from the fact that the American clubs are offering the former’s most prominent players much higher salaries than the League managers. Many League players who have been held by the ‘five-men rule’ now openly express their intention to join the rival association.”83

League Special Meeting
September 22, 1882, Parlor C, Continental Hotel, Philadelphia

Delegates to the NL special meeting84 agreed that each club could engage its players or players from non-NL clubs beginning September 25, 1882.85 While NL players were not known to have signed 1883 contracts, many AA clubs had already contracted with AA players offering higher salaries than paid during 1882.86 Some AA clubs had large cash balances that some were willing to use as signing bonuses or advances on 1883 salaries.87 This new date was one month earlier and revealed that NL clubs recognized the financial success of AA clubs and their need to field competitive teams.88 The NL reaction demonstrated that the NL could be flexible when its viability was at stake.

The 1882 season featured a pennant race between Chicago and Providence. In an unusual motion, the Buffalo club obtained permission to schedule three of its home games with Chicago at either Chicago, New York, or Philadelphia. A purpose of Organized Baseball is to regulate and determine the championship, and the NL action appeared to favor Chicago over Providence.89 The Providence club opposed and voted against the motion, which created ill feelings.90

The meeting turned to franchise relocation. The NL admitted the Philadelphia and Metropolitan clubs, and accepted the resignations of the Troy and Worcester clubs.91 The two clubs suffered from poor records and low attendance, and the shared gate receipts sometimes failed to cover visiting NL clubs’ travel expenses. Both clubs were reported to have received subsidies to complete their games during the 1882 season.92 As NLLA members, the Metropolitan and Philadelphia clubs knew the NL’s rules, were located in the largest cities, drew large crowds, and played competitively in games against NL clubs.93

Several NL clubs failed to obtain reinstatement for the blacklisted players.94 The maintenance of the blacklist may have been a way for the NL to apply leverage on players to remain with NL clubs. After the meeting, AA President Dennis McKnight alleged that the NL threatened players with the blacklist if the player refused to sign an 1883 NL contract, and stated, “In this way they hope to drive some of the players who have already joined the American clubs to break their contracts.”95

American Association Special Meeting
October 23, 1882, Columbus, Ohio

At the final special meeting to conclude the 1882 AA season, relocation, expansion, and player reinstatement provided much speculation. One reporter expected the AA to reinstate all NL players except the Louisville Four.96 The AA was also expected to discuss the expulsion of the champion Cincinnati club.

In the morning, the Board of Directors met to decide the charges brought against the Cincinnati club for playing NL clubs during October.97 While some directors desired to expel Cincinnati to strengthen the AA’s credibility, a compromise maintained Cincinnati’s membership98 on acceptance of a reprimand and fine.99

After dinner, the AA held its membership meeting. The membership “understood” the Baltimore club to have resigned.100 Applications for membership were submitted from a New York club; the Merritts of Camden, New Jersey; the Aetnas of Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Baltimore; a second Baltimore club; and a second New York club.101 The AA decided to increase its numbers to eight, and admitted clubs from Baltimore, Columbus, and New York.102 The AA brought in some who had been present at its organization. The Baltimore vacancy was filled with William Barnie, who was backed by “wealthy residents.”103 James Mutrie managed the Metropolitan club of New York, and H.B. Phillips managed Columbus.104

The AA agreed to not hire from each other’s rosters until the annual meeting.105

When the AA discussed the NL blacklist, it was noted that the NL had contracted with men who were expelled from AA rosters. The AA resolved to reinstate all men blacklisted by the NL, except for those by reason of crookedness (e.g., the Louisville Four and umpire Dick Higham). Jones, Gerhardt, Crowley, Fox, Dorgan, Houck, Gross, Haskins, Pike, Dickerson, and Nolan were immediately eligible to play as members of the Association.106

Conclusion

By any account, the business of the 1882 season is of interest today. The entry of a new major league, the efforts to innovate, survive, and remain relevant served lovers of baseball then and influenced the business of baseball for years to come. The 1882 season concluded with a championship for Cincinnati in the AA and a somewhat disputed championship for Chicago in the NL. In retrospect, it is a surprise that the AA’s championship season was successfully completed, while the NL concluded with questions to the legitimacy of its championship as well as its financial viability.107

Clubs experimented with marketing programs and uses of their grounds. They marketed ladies days, and offered doubleheaders on July 4, 1882.108 The grounds represented a large outlay for some baseball organizers, and when their clubs traveled away for weeks, they were underutilized. Where NL club grounds were solely for showing NL championship games, the AA innovated and permitted its clubs to more effectively use their grounds with spectacles, events, concerts, shows, and exhibition baseball games.109

The NL had an exciting pennant race. The New York Clipper exclaimed that in no previous season had the race been “so close and exciting at this stage as it is now.”110

The speculation of franchise expansion and relocation was as emotional and exciting then as today. The AA initially located franchises in large population centers during 1882, to focus on admissions. Indeed, Voigt credits the AA’s entrance for the nationwide baseball boom that followed.111 Among the population, “There are as many pro players as ever.” Across the North, “[E]very interior town has an amateur team.”112 NL policies and practices removed franchises that happened to be in large population centers, and may have reduced salary demands and travel costs. However, five of the six AA clubs had higher attendance than did Chicago, the NL’s top draw, which had three times the number of customers as the next-drawing NL club.113 The New York Clipper boasted, “It is our one characteristically national pastime, and it is too good a sport to be permitted to die out.”114 With the success of the AA, the NL had to adjust if it was to maintain its quality.

To meet the public interest, the NL had to move its own franchises to improve its businesses. As most club revenues were derived from attendance fees, the NL’s proportional gate-sharing policy encouraged a shift in franchises to more populated places. All else equal, the market for player services had changed. The New York Clipper predicted that the NL would abandon the “five-man rule” because AA clubs were willing to pay the highest salaries.115 By entering larger markets, the NL acquired the resources necessary to maintain pace with the AA’s willingness to pay labor more, offer a competitive service, and prevent new competitors to its business model. To accomplish these changes and protect its new markets, the NL successfully negotiated what subsequently became known as the National Agreement, the organized structure with rules and regulations for associations recognized in Organized Baseball. For 1883, the NL removed franchises from Worcester and Troy, convenient locations along east-west railroad mainlines, and entered New York City and Philadelphia, while the AA expanded to eight clubs by placing franchises in New York City and Columbus, Ohio.

 

Sources

Besides the sources mentioned in the Notes, Spalding’s Base Ball Guide and Official League Book for 1882 (Chicago: A.G. Spalding & Bros., 1882, reprint, Horton Publishing, 1988) was consulted.

 

Notes

1 At the annual meeting, Soden was elected president which ended Harry Wright’s 11-season relationship with Boston. New York Clipper, December 24, 1881: 658.

2 David Nemec. The Beer and Whisky League: The Illustrated History of the American Association – Baseball’s Renegade Major League (Guilford, Connecticut: The Lyons Press, 2004), 20-21. Harold Seymour and Dorothy Seymour, Baseball: The Early Years, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960), 98-99, 138. Cincinnati Enquirer, November 3, 1881: 5; November 4, 1881: 4; November 6, 1881: 2; New York Clipper, October 29, 1881: 515; November 5, 1881: 532; November 12, 1881: 556; Pittsburgh Daily Post, October 11, 1881: 4; November 3, 1881: 1; November 4, 1881: 1; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 4, 1881: 1.

3 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 9, 1881: 3; Cincinnati Enquirer, October 23, 1881: 12; November 3, 1881: 5; November 4, 1881: 4; November 5, 1881: 5; November 6, 1881: 2; November 24, 1881: 2; December 7, 1881: 4; New York Clipper, November 12, 1881: 556; January 7, 1882: 687.

4 Seymour and Seymour, 142. Charles Snyder, a catcher formerly of the NL’s Boston club, contracted to captain the Cincinnati club.

5 Detroit contracted with Athletic signee Dasher Troy and Boston contracted with Cincinnati club signee Sam Wise.

6 New York Clipper, October 8, 1881: 463.

7 Cincinnati Enquirer, October 23, 1881: 12; New York Clipper, October 22, 1882: 504.

8 The following delegates were recorded present: the chairman, Hulbert, and directors Brown (Worcester), Hotchkin (Troy), Smith (representing Jewett, Buffalo), and Thompson (Detroit). New York Clipper, December 17, 1881: 633.

9 The NL Providence club expelled Baker for signing a contract, accepting advance money, then signing a second contract with the Washington National Club, and finally failing to perform to his Providence contract. Boston Post, December 8, 1881: 1; New York Clipper, December 17, 1881: 633.

10 Jones had played professionally as a major leaguer in Cincinnati, was with the semipro club during 1881, and signed a contract with the AA Cincinnati club. For Cincinnati to perform, its contract with Jones required the NL or its Boston club to reinstate Jones. New York Clipper, December 24, 1881: 652. Hulbert said the NL would never reinstate Jones because he failed to appeal within the proper time period. See New York Clipper, October 22, 1881: 504. Thompson observed that the Board no longer had any authority to act because Jones had failed to apply during the required time period. New York Clipper, December 17, 1881: 633.

11 Club delegates included W.A. Hulbert and A. G. Mills (Chicago), A.H. Soden and Harry Wright (Boston), J. Ford Evans (Cleveland), H.B. Winship (Providence), Freeman Brown (Worcester), H. Smith and J. Jewett (Buffalo), A.H. Hotchkin (Troy), and W.J. Thompson (Detroit). Present were John Day (Metropolitan Club), Robert Ferguson (Troy), and Albert G. Spalding (Chicago). New York Clipper, December 17, 1881: 633.

12 New York Clipper, November 12, 1881: 555; December 10, 1881: 615.

13 New York Clipper, December 10, 1881: 615.

14 New York Clipper, December 3, 1881: 603.

15 Hulbert, Hotchkin, and Winship.

16 New York Clipper, December 17, 1881: 633. Hulbert and Soden comprised the schedule committee.

17 Ibid.

18 Ibid. Chicago Inter Ocean, December 8, 1881: 3.

19 Chicago Inter Ocean, December 8, 1881: 3.

20 Ibid. The uniform came to be widely disliked by players.

21 Cincinnati Enquirer, December 9, 1881: 2.

22 New York Clipper, December 17, 1881: 633.

23 Obviously, if gross receipts exceeded $200, then the NL club was to receive half of the gross or gate receipts. The agreement specified that receipts were not to include any extra fees for grandstand admission or “special privileges.” New York Clipper, March 18, 1882: 855. The option of gate or gross receipts for use in calculation was to induce the Metropolitan Club to NLLA affiliation. Cincinnati Enquirer, December 9, 1881: 2.

24 New York Clipper, December 17, 1881; 633.

25 Under NL regulations, outside clubs that played with the Athletic Club in the NL Philadelphia territory would be prohibited from home games with visiting NL clubs.

26 Hulbert initially declined because Mills was expected to accept. See Cincinnati Enquirer, December 9, 1881: 2. A humorous but also serious event occurred. Evans from Cleveland declared for four years, Hulbert had repeatedly disrespected him without cause. After consultation, the delegates agreed to “cane” Hulbert, presenting him with a gold-headed cane. Cincinnati Enquirer, December 10, 1881: 2; Chicago Inter Ocean, December 10, 1881: 7.

27 Chicago Inter Ocean, December 10, 1881: 7; Cincinnati Enquirer, December 10, 1881: 2.

28 One reporter stated this policy was in response to widespread insubordination during 1881. New York Clipper, December 17, 1881: 633.

29 The NL presented unanimity in its public statement. However, several clubs sought the removal of their players from the NL blacklist, including Providence (Gross), Detroit (Houck), and Worcester (Dickerson). The Providence club threatened to withdraw its membership if its players were not reinstated. Cincinnati Enquirer, December 9, 1881: 2; New York Clipper, November 12, 1881: 555; December 17, 1881: 633.

30 New York Clipper, December 10, 1881: 615; December 17, 1881: 633; February 11, 1882: 773.

31 H.B. Phillips was to manage a club to be located at 24th Street and Ridge Avenue for sporting-goods magnate A.J. Reach, who was its treasurer. The club was admitted with neither grounds nor players. Phillips soon resigned to become superintendent of the 24th and Ridge grounds. Reach then reported that he had a lease of those grounds, and he formally organized the Philadelphia Ball Club and Sporting Association. New York Clipper, October 15, 1881: 486; November 19, 1881: 567; December 10, 1881: 615; January 14, 1882: 703, 705; January 28, 1882: 736.

32 The New York Clipper extended praise, calling the NL’s meeting, “The shortest special business meeting of the League known in its history …,” completed in less than two hours. New York Clipper, March 18, 1882: 860.

33 Delegates present represented Chicago and Cleveland (A.G. Spalding), Buffalo (Jas. Moffatt, and J.A. Mugridge), Detroit (W.G. Thompson), Boston (A.H. Soden), Providence (Harry Wright), Worcester (W.O. Wilder), and Troy City (A.L. Hotchkin).

34 New York Clipper, February 25, 1882; 803; Cincinnati Enquirer, March 8, 1882: 2.

35 New York Clipper, March 18, 1882: 860.

36 Rather than the privilege of a choice of $100 guarantee or 50 percent of receipts as for games during the championship season, Day and Reach offered April dates and a 45 percent share of the gate receipts. When the NL threatened that its clubs would play outside clubs at New York and Philadelphia, Day declined to schedule games with NL clubs at the meeting. Cincinnati Enquirer, March 8, 1882: 2; New York Clipper, February 25, 1882: 803; March 18, 1882: 860; March 25, 1882: 7.

37 New York Clipper, March 11, 1882: 844.

38 Mutrie, manager for the Metropolitan Club, was present to arrange dates with visiting AA clubs. New York Clipper, March 18, 1882: 855. Von der Ahe was reported to want NL clubs to visit St. Louis and play exhibitions against his club. Cincinnati Enquirer, March 11, 1882: 2.

39 Seymour and Seymour, 140.

40 Cincinnati Enquirer, March 13, 1882: 8.

41 New York Clipper, March 11, 1882: 844.

42 Barnie reported his intention to withdraw his membership. After it was accepted, he secured Brooklyn’s Union Grounds and was accepted into the NLLA. He opposed the $65 game guarantee policy. Cincinnati Enquirer, March 13, 1882: 8, New York Clipper, January 28, 1882: 737; February 18, 1882: 792; February 25, 1882: 803, April 8, 1882: 39. In Nemec’s account, Barnie had neither leased the Union grounds nor signed players, so he proposed moving his franchise to Columbus, but lacked investors. The AA awarded a franchise to Baltimore, the connection being McKnight as Association president and Myers, the Pittsburgh-signed shortstop. Henry Von der Host, a brewer, entered ownership later during the 1882 season. See Nemec, 24-25.

43 Cincinnati Enquirer, March 13, 1882: 8. Baltimore backers had organized a club, engaged Myers to manage, leased Washington Park, and had contracted with five players. New York Clipper, April 15, 1882: 55.

44 New York Clipper, February 18, 1882: 792; February 25, 1882: 803.

45 Delegates present included H.D. McKnight (Allegheny), Charles Fulmer and Lew Simmons (Athletics), Justus Thorner, O.P. Caylor, and F.B. Wright (Cincinnati), J.H. Pank (Eclipse), and Chris Von der Ahe and David L. Reid (St. Louis). New York Clipper, March 18, 1882: 855.

46 Ibid. St. Louis and Allegheny clubs supported the motion.

47 The adopted resolution read as follows:

“Any base ball player, manager or umpire who shall after March 15, 1882, be expelled, suspended or blacklisted by the National League or College Association of baseball players may appeal from said disability to the Board of Directors of the American Association; the said board at its next subsequent session shall hear evidence from said expelled person as to the justice or injustice of said expulsion, and if, upon such investigation, it shall appear to the entire satisfaction of the said Board of Directors that such expulsion, and if, upon such investigation, it shall appear to the entire satisfaction of the said Board of Directors that such expulsion is unjust or unmerited said person shall be declared to be eligible as an honorable member in the American Association, with full privileges of that body. If such injustice be not proven, then the disability imposed upon the player by said league, college or association shall be affirmed by the American Association. No player who shall be resting under sentence of expulsion or suspension or be on any so-called black list on March 15, 1882, shall be permitted to play with any American Association club until such disability be removed by the power that imposed it.”

See Philadelphia Times, March 14, 1882: 4.

48 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 13, 1882: 1; Cincinnati Enquirer, March 13, 1882: 8; Times (Philadelphia), March 14, 1882: 4.

49 Seymour and Seymour, 141.

50 New York Clipper, February 25, 1882: 803.

51 New York Clipper, March 18, 1882: 855. On May 3, 1882, papers were served on Boston club President Soden and Wise to appear at the U.S. Circuit Court on May 5. On the appointed date, Cincinnati’s attorneys stated that the loss of Wise was irreparable, damages could not be estimated, and demanded an injunction. The defendants responded that the court had no duty to interfere. The court adjourned until May 11 for further consideration and decided not to enjoin Wise from playing. On May 11, Judge Nelson considered Cincinnati’s arguments then dismissed the suit “on account of lack of jurisdiction” on May 12. The Cincinnati club responded with an appeal to the Supreme Court, and Soden and Wise were served notices to appear on June 1. When the decision on appeal was received, Cincinnati notified Secretary Williams that it expelled Wise, effectively ending exhibitions between AA and NL clubs. New York Clipper, May 13, 1882: 123; May 20, 1882: 139; May 27, 1882: 158; August 12, 1882: 335.

52 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 13, 1882: 1; Cincinnati Enquirer, March 13, 1882: 8; Times (Philadelphia), March 14, 1882: 4.

53 Seymour and Seymour, 141.

54 Cincinnati Enquirer, March 15, 1882: 5.

55 New York Clipper, March 18, 1882: 855.

56 Seymour and Seymour, 141.

57 Cincinnati Enquirer, March 15, 1882: 5.

58 New York Clipper, March 18, 1882: 855.

59 Ibid.

60 Ibid.

61 Ibid. The manufacturer would seal and directly ship the ball. In the NL, the secretary provided the official balls.

62 Cincinnati Enquirer, March 15, 1882: 5. New York Clipper, March 18, 1882: 855. In the NL, the umpire traveled with the visiting club. New York Clipper, March 25, 1882: 7.

63 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 13, 1882: 1; Cincinnati Enquirer, March 13, 1882: 8; Times (Philadelphia), March 14, 1882: 4. The St. Louis and Cincinnati delegates stated the privilege was worth $4,000 to $5,000.

64 Cincinnati Enquirer, March 15, 1882: 5.

65 Cincinnati Enquirer, April 11, 1882: 2.

66 New York Clipper April 22, 1882: 75.

67 New York Clipper, May 6, 1882: 107.

68 New York Clipper, May 20, 1882. To avoid complications, Detroit planned to avoid using Troy in games against the Metropolitan or Philadelphia clubs. New York Clipper, May 27, 1882: 158.

69 New York Clipper, June 3, 1882: 175.

70 As an inducement to the Athletics, NL clubs offered to play games against them in Philadelphia after the championship season. New York Clipper, June 24, 1882: 219. Unfortunately for Troy, on July 11, 1882, he was seriously injured when Chicago’s George Gore spiked him in the right leg during play in the third inning. New York Clipper, July 22, 1882: 285. Expected to be unable to play for a considerable time period, Troy received one-month salary and an unconditional release. New York Clipper, July 22, 1882: 283. Even then, the Athletic club refused to reinstate Troy because it claimed that Detroit had not provided it official notice of Troy’s release. New York Clipper, July 29, 1882: 298.

71 See endnote 51.

72 New York Clipper, August 19, 1882: 349.

73 The committee consisted of James A. Mugridge (Buffalo), chair, Gardner Earl (Troy), and Freeman Brown (Worcester). Board member William G. Thompson (Detroit) brought charges and was excused. Interim NL President A.H. Soden (Boston) was absent. Chairman W.A. Hulbert was deceased. Thompson charged Higham with violating section 45 of the NL constitution and playing rule 47. A complete review of the evidence and report of a committee of the board for this matter is in Harold V. Higham, “The Disqualification of Umpire Dick Higham,” in Larry R. Gerlach and Bill Nowlin, eds., The SABR Book of Umpires and Umpiring (Phoenix: Society for American Baseball Research, 2017), 402-407.

74 The newspapers stated four experts were present, Higham states three experts were given in the Official Report. New York Clipper, July 1, 1882: 235; Cincinnati Enquirer, June 25, 1882: 2, Higham: 405.

75 Ibid.

76 The delegates were Von der Ahe (St. Louis), McKnight (Pittsburgh), Simmons (Philadelphia), Cramer (Cincinnati), and Pank (Louisville). Managers Cuthbert of St Louis and Dwyer of Louisville were also present. See Cincinnati Enquirer, July 3, 1882: 8.

77 Cincinnati Enquirer, July 2, 1882: 2; New York Clipper, July 1, 1882: 243; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 26, 1882: 4.

78 New York Clipper, July 8, 1882: 255.

79 Cincinnati Enquirer, July 2, 1882: 2.

80 New York Clipper, July 8, 1882: 254. Williams appointed to its official umpire corps Joseph Simmons of Rochester, New York, Thomas Carey of Baltimore, and Michael Walsh of Louisville. New York Clipper, July 15, 1882: 265.

81 New York Clipper, July 8, 1882: 254.

82 Seymour and Seymour, 142. For instance, Detroit catcher Charlie Bennett had accepted $100 and promised to sign a contract for $1,700. Bennett refused to sign the contract, which encouraged Chicago’s Ned Williamson and Buffalo’s James Galvin to fail to carry out their promises with Pittsburgh. When Pittsburgh filed suit in court to compel Bennett to sign the labor contract with Pittsburgh, the court held for Bennett.

83 New York Clipper, August 12, 1882: 335.

84 Delegates present were from the following clubs: Boston (A.H. Soden and A.J. Chase), Detroit (W.G. Thompson), Troy (A.L. Hotchkin), Cleveland (Geo. W. Howe), Worcester (Fred Simester), Providence (H.B. Winship), Buffalo (James Moffat), and Chicago (A.G. Spalding).

85 Cincinnati Enquirer, September 22, 1882: 5.

86 New York Clipper, August 5, 1882: 319. By early July, AA clubs were reported to have made offers to NL players for the 1883 season. New York Clipper, July 29, 1882: 298. Shortly after the NL meeting, St. Louis was reported to have signed Whitney, Radbourne, Mullane, McGinnis, Deasley, Rowen, Denny, Comiskey, W. Latham, William Gleason, and Cuthbert. Several of these players were in 1882 NL rosters. Also, the Athletic Club was reported to have contracted with Whitney and Deasley. New York Clipper, September 30, 1882: 448, 451.

87 NL clubs had tried to cease the practice of salary advances. AA clubs made known their large profits. For instance, the Allegheny club had a $2,700 cash balance by mid-July, and its stockholders directed the board to contact the leading players to contract for the 1883 season. New York Clipper, July 22, 1882: 283. The Detroit club observed, “[Association clubs] are taking our players because they can afford higher salaries.” New York Clipper, September 30, 1882: 451.

88 At least one observer thought that offers from AA clubs would result in players leaving the NL: “[S]everal League clubs will be astonished when they learn what player of their teams have been ‘Troy’d’ and ‘Wise’d’ from their ranks for the American Association. It is a poor rule that won’t work both ways. The League initiated the Troy and Wise business, and now they have the poisoned chalice placed to their own lips.” New York Clipper, September 30, 1882: 451. Baseball observers believed that the AA was viable for 1883 and that its clubs were likely to hold their players as well as bid for services of NL players, “All the club of the American Association are in a prosperous condition, and, with strengthened nines, expect to have a still more successful season, financially, in 1883.” New York Clipper, August 5, 1882: 318.

89 One reporter noted the disadvantage to Providence’s championship prospects. The NL agreed that if the Chicago and Providence clubs tied for the championship, the two clubs could schedule a series of not more than nine games. The Buffalo and Chicago clubs wanted the greater revenues each would earn even though Chicago was to receive the visitor’s share of the gate. New York Clipper, September 30, 1882: 448.

90 Times (Philadelphia), September 23, 1882: 3. New York Clipper, September 30, 1882: 451.

91 Times (Philadelphia), September 23, 1882: 3. The New York Clipper reported that neither club “voluntarily resigned.” The members voted affirmatively 6-2 a resolution that Worcester and Troy not be represented in the League during 1883. September 30, 1882: 448. The Troy club reportedly denied it had resigned, that it had not violated any portion of the NL constitution, could not be removed from membership, and would not willingly resign. Times (Philadelphia), September 26, 1882: 1. With some intrigue, “several” AA clubs reportedly applied for membership. Times (Philadelphia), September 23, 1882: 3.

92 New York Clipper, September 30, 1882: 448, 451; Times (Philadelphia), September 23, 1882: 3. In July 1882, the Worcester Club was rumored to withdraw and release its players. Instead, it reorganized under new shareholders and hired Jack Chapman as manager. New York Clipper, July 8, 1882: 255; July 15, 1882: 265; July 22, 1882: 283; July 29, 1882: 298, 301. If forced to resign, Worcester threatened to not complete its schedule, which included three games with Chicago. New York Clipper, October 7, 1882: 467.

93 Times (Philadelphia), September 23, 1882: 3. Reach was under some pressure because the NL informed him that it would locate a club at Philadelphia if he did not enter. NL clubs could not play exhibitions with Reach’s club if an NL franchise was located there. New York Clipper, October 7, 1882: 467.

94 New York Clipper, October 21, 1882: 499.

95 New York Clipper, October 7, 1882: 467. Many NL players would not sign AA contracts out of fear of the blacklist. Cincinnati Enquirer, September 22, 1882: 5.

96 Nine clubs were reported to have requested a franchise location. New York Clipper, October 21, 1882: 499. One writer expected reinstatement for all except the Louisville Four. Cincinnati Enquirer, October 23, 1882: 2.

97 Cincinnati was reported to have arranged to play Cleveland, Chicago, and Providence. Cincinnati intended to release its players to avoid violating the AA constitution and bylaws. The Athletic Club planned the same action to schedule games with Reach’s club. Two games between the Cincinnati and Chicago clubs were played at Cincinnati. In response, the AA notified Cincinnati management that its club would be expelled if it played games with Cleveland and Providence. New York Clipper, September 30, 1882: 448; October 7, 1882: 467.

98 Cincinnati Enquirer, October 24, 1882: 2.

99 New York Clipper, November 4, 1882: 536.

100 The withdrawal was often reported. New York Clipper, August 19, 1882: 346; September 23, 1882: 430; September 30, 1882: 448; November 4, 1882: 536.

101 Applications were also reported from organizers at Brooklyn and Toledo, Ohio. New York Clipper, September 9, 1883: 399, October 7, 1882: 467; October 21, 1882: 499; November 4, 1882: 536.

102 Cincinnati Enquirer, October 24, 1882: 2; New York Clipper, November 4, 1882: 536.

103 New York Clipper, November 4, 1882: 536.

104 New York Clipper, October 28, 1882: 515. The AA provided the Metropolitan Club with a preferential claim to membership and notified it of the competing application for a franchise at New York. New York Clipper, September 2, 1882: 381. In Nemec’s account of this meeting, Mutrie brought into the AA the Metropolitans of the NLLA. (Beer & Whiskey League, 2004), 39.

105 Cincinnati Enquirer, October 24, 1882: 2. As the AA did not impose a reserve policy, NL players enjoyed open competition for offers from interested AA clubs.

106 Cincinnati Enquirer, October 24, 1882: 2. Jones soon signed a contract with Cincinnati. New York Clipper, November 11, 1882: 547.

107 Buffalo’s three end-of-season home games were played at Chicago, against the Chicago club.

108 New York Clipper, May 20, 1882: 139, 141; June 3, 1882: 173; June 24, 1882: 219; July 1, 1882: 235.

109 New York Clipper, March 4, 1882: 825.

110 New York Clipper, August 5, 1882: 314.

111 Voigt, 125.

112 New York Clipper, August 5, 1882: 317.

113 Detroit noted that during its Eastern trip, it made more revenue from fewer games with NLLA members New York and Philadelphia, than from more NL championship games at Troy, Worcester, Boston, and Providence. New York Clipper, September 2, 1882: 381; October 21, 1882: 499.

114 New York Clipper, August 5, 1882: 314.

115 New York Clipper, August 19, 1882: 349.

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