Nov 04, 1889: Player's League is born
Submitted by BTGrimes on Sun, 11/04/2012 - 10:00am
Players Start League
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - A group of National League players fed up with a salary classification system imposed in 1888 met in New York on this date in 1889 to form a competing major league (the American League had not yet been established). It would be called the Players' League.
According to Leonard Koppett's Concise History of Major League Baseball about three dozen players met on the 4th and 5th of November to line up financial backers and discuss other arrangements. The plan had quietly been in the works for over a year, precipitated by the owners having sole discretion to decide which "class" each player belonged, and therefore what his salary would be:
The players were led by John Montgomery Ward, a 25-year old infielder for the New York Gothams (today's San Francisco Giants) just out of Columbia University Law School. The Players League was launched the next season:
What was essentially a job action by the players lasted only one season - 1890. By 1891, many of the financial backers got cold feet. The players who were good enough went back to the National League, where the reserve clause was still intact and would be for decades to come.
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