Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/331

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CHAPTER XXI.


THE STORY OF "FREEDMANISM"—HOW IT WAS PROPOSED TO SYNDICATE BASE BALL—ATTEMPT TO KILL THE NATIONAL LEAGUE IN THE INTERESTS OE SORDID MAGNATES.

1900-01


SOME years before the opening of the 20th century the National League had begun to lose prestige with the public. This loss of caste was not due to a failure on the part of the League to correct abuses. It had achieved wonders in that respect. It had absolutely driven out gambling and gamblers. It had made players to so regard their interests that not one of them cared or dared to be seen talking with a gambler. Indeed, at one time this dread became so great that players would and did personally assault members of the crooked fraternity who attempted to engage them in conversation on the streets. It had done away with the drinking evil—so fully as the appetites of men can ever be controlled by discipline—and at one time a dozen capable players had been expelled, without hope of reinstatement, for overindulgence in liquor. The trouble now was not with gamblers or with players, but with club officials, generally termed magnates, and it will be readily understood how difficult a matter it was to deal with them. Especially was it hard to reach cases where there was no actual violation of Base Ball law—just personal cussedness and disregard for the future welfare of the game,

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