Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/185

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155
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

was practically ignored, its laws set aside and a reorganization effected on the basis of a representation by delegates from State Base Ball associations, a system perfect in its theory, and one which would be thoroughly successful if carried out under a well written constitution. Each annual convention since 1867, however, has seen a diminished interest in the Association and its meetings at the hands of the amateur class of the fraternity; the crude and incomplete constitution under which the reorganized association has governed the fraternity having allowed the meetings to be controlled almost entirely by an unscrupulous clique of men hailing from the professional clubs, assisted by tools selected from some of the amateur organizations. Under such circumstances, it is not surprising that the close of the season of 1870, was marked by a so-called 'National Convention' which, in the character of its general proceedings and in the election of its chief official, afforded a practical illustration of the fact that the National Association, under its existing organization, had ceased both to elicit and merit any further respect or consideration at the hands of the reputable class of the fraternity.

"In the first place, the several State associations found it difficult to obtain a representative quorum at their preliminary conventions. New York, which by some peculiar tactics—well known in certain political circles—entered the convention with a representation based on the existence of eighty-five clubs, could scarcely raise a quorum of delegates at the State convention, not over a dozen clubs sending delegates; not over forty clubs existing in the State, nor has there been for two years past. The clique in question obtained the controlling power in the convention by presenting nine delegates, the majority of whom were merely their serviceable tools. Massachusettss could not raise even ten clubs, and had to come under the claim of fractional club representation. New Jersey had but eleven clubs represented at the State convention; Indiana but three; the District of Columbia but five; Connecticut but ten, and Missouri the same. Illinois claimed twenty odd, while other States, having State associations, ignored the Association altogether.

"From the initiatory proceedings to the very close of the convention, ample evidence was shown that the majority vote of the delegates had been manipulated in the interest of one man. Some few there were of the delegates present, hailing from amateur clubs, who manfully battled against the ruling clique for the interests of the amateur class of the fraternity, but they finally had to succumb, and all of these retired in disgust from the farce in which they had been involuntary participants. It was well for the general interests of the fraternity, however, that matters should have taken the course they did, or otherwise we should have had to suffer the infliction of another like convention. One result of the proceedings of this convention was to occasion a movement to be started in favor of the organization of a