Ryczek: War and rebellion: baseball in the 1890s

From SABR member Bill Ryczek at The National Pastime Museum on December 14, 2016:

The discord sowed by the owners in the late 1880s erupted into full-scale rebellion in 1890. The first seeds of discontent had appeared in 1885, with the formation of the Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players. The Brotherhood initially played more defense than offense, choosing not to affiliate with the Knights of Labor (the pre-eminent national labor organization) and trying to work cooperatively with the owners.

By 1889, however, the Brotherhood had lost confidence in collaboration and became more aggressive. In July, after the owners breached an agreement regarding salary reductions, the players talked about striking. They eventually decided not to walk out; instead, they found a number of investors willing to back a new league in 1890, a league in which the players would participate in management and receive a share of the profits.

The leader of the Brotherhood was John Montgomery Ward, shortstop of the New York National League club. Ward was well qualified, with degrees in law and political science from Columbia University. He began his Major League career as a pitcher with Providence in 1878 and in six years won 161 games, posting a fine ERA of just over 2.00. In 1880, he pitched the second perfect game in Major League history.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/war-and-rebellion

Originally published: December 15, 2016. Last Updated: December 15, 2016.