From SABR member Brian McKenna at Glimpses Into Baseball History on September 1:
The National League in 1890, not a stellar year for the circuit. By the mid-1880s, the owners had sufficiently tightened the noose around the players that they felt comfortable enough to impose their will as they saw fit. After all, the blacklist in conjunction with the reserve clause – which had been expanded to cover every man on the field – had the magnates feeling invincible. Next, they decided to unilaterally hole the players in salary tiers.
Self-interest being what it is, the owners didn’t always toe the line. In fact, they often handed out more cash during private negotiations. However, the players got the idea; management was rolling all over labor throughout the country. A union was formed, first in New York, which had gained sufficient numbers by the end of the decade to challenge the execs. In fact, they split with them.
A large faction of the talent broke from the National League before the 1890 season and formed its own league, the Players National League. Fireballer Amos Rusie remained loyal and agreed to return to the National League. Charley Nichols, for one, was brought in to fill the void.
The two hurlers met on May 12 in one of the top games of the 19th century.
Read the full article here: http://baseballhistoryblog.com/3144/rusie-v-nichols-a-nail-biter/
Originally published: September 1, 2011. Last Updated: September 1, 2011.