Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/229

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CHAPTER XV.

FIRST GREAT BASE BALL LEAGUE AND LEADER—POWERFUL INFLUENCE OF THE PERSONALITY OF WILLIAM A. HULBERT UPON THE FORTUNES OF THE NATIONAL GAME.

1875-76

AS IN the history of nations, so in that of all enterprises of magnitude, there arise from time to time men cast in heroic molds, the impress of whose acts upon the issues at hand is felt for many years. At the time of the organization of the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs such a man was present in the person of William A. Hulbert.

He was not a professional ball player; had never been a player of the game. He was simply one among countless thousands of Americans who enjoyed the great national pastime, and was a frequent spectator at its exhibitions. His home was at Chicago. Being a loyal partisan of the city where he lived, he stood for the interests of the great Western metropolis, and incidentally for those of the whole Mississippi Valley. It was borne to him one day that the reason why Chicago—whose phenomenal achievements on other lines were attracting the wonder of all the world—could make no better showing on the diamond was because the East was in league against her; that certain Base Ball magnates in the Atlantic States were in control of the game; were manipulating things to the detriment of Chicago and all Western cities; that if

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