Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/260

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chester, New Bedford, Rochester, Springfield, Utica, Washington, and Worcester. This minor league only lasted two years, Albany winning the first championship pennant.

In 1879 was organized the first exclusively Western minor league, consisting of Davenport and Dubuque, in Iowa; Rockford, Illinois, and Omaha, Nebraska. The Dubuque club finished in first place.

Under the control of the National League, in the first years of its existence, many professional and semi-professional clubs came into being, but these, as a rule, were unattached to any league or association, played independently, and arranged games whenever and wherever they could. At that time National League clubs did not have regularly scheduled series, but depended upon local secretaries to arrange games for each club. The system providing for season schedules was not inaugurated until 1877—another of Mr. Hulbert's reforms.

The unattached clubs derived much of their revenue from exhibition games with National League teams, and it was not unusual for a League nine to visit a small city, sign up one or more of the. best players of the local organization and take them away. I recall one instance where a League club visited St. Paul and took from the "Red Caps" of that city five of their finest players, practically breaking up the team! A great outcry, of course, was raised over this high-handed proceeding, and, while there was no League rule forbidding such action on the part of League clubs, it became evident to the far-sighted Hulbert that, unless this custom was stopped, it would