Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/322

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AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

'scab.' Of course, this system of terrorism had its effect on the weaker class of the Brotherhood, and the result was that only a few refused to become slaves of the 'big four.' And thus was started the League of Professional Ball Players.

"The original plan of organization of the Players' League embraced cooperation by the players in the matter of gate receipts and profits; and one of the inducements held out to players to secede from League clubs was the alluring one of sharing in the proceeds of the season's games. The bait proved to be a tempting one and it was readily taken. But after the Players' League had been started, and the bulk of the players had committed themselves by contract to the revolt, the leaders, in order to secure the required financial aid of sympathetic capitalists, seceded from their plan of cooperation, and a change was made in the new League's constitution, the feature introduced being that of obliging each player to depend upon the gate receipts for the payment of his salary—after all necessary expenses outside the salary list had been paid. This new clause proved distasteful to several players who had taken the oath of allegiance to the Brotherhood, but who had not legally signed Players' League contracts, and these men were not sldw in returning to the National League after discovering the trickery they had been subjected to by the leader. But others, lacking in moral courage, and who still had faith in the movement to make them magnates instead of $5,000 a year slaves, remained obedient to the Brotherhood taskmasters.

"The leaders had originally declared that their war was against the National League and that only; but when their plan of campaign met with its first failure, resort for recruits for their revolutionary army was had to the ranks of the American Association, and the early disruption of this organization was due to the influence exerted by the revolt. This was the return made to the Association for the neutral position they had occupied in the differences which had occurred between the League and the Brotherhood. Had the Brotherhood followed the honorable course of holding a conference with the League at the end of the championship campaign—the only appropriate time for such a conference—there is no questioning the fact that every grievance, real or imaginary, alleged by the Brotherhood would have received due consideration by the League, and all enactments calculated to antagonize the best interests of the players would have been removed from the League's statute books, for it was too plainly to the interest of the National League to place their club players in the position of making their interests and welfare identical with those of the League management."

Now and then, in the course of these reminiscences, I have had occasion to speak of the loyalty of professional