Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/341

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311
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

between amateurism and professionalism. A professional League was organized, and here sits the first secretary of that professional League. It served its purpose.

"We were new at legislation, and one thing after another crept in. We had the gambling instinct to contend with. The first thing we knew, the gamblers had us by the throat. I have seen players go up and buy pools before the game commenced, generally on their own club, but they often would have a friend buying double the amount on the other. It became so intolerable that Base Ball was a stench in the nostrils of every decent man, and it was almost a disgrace to say that you were a professional Base Ball player. Mr. Hanlon will bear me out in that. Mr. Reach played in those days and he can bear me out. The public was interested in the game, but the gamblers would not permit it to be played except under their direction.

"I had the honor to be captain and pitcher of the original Boston Base Ball Club. I look back to that period as covering four or five of the pleasantest years of my life. We won the championship right along. Our crowds, large at first, kept getting smaller. The last year we played in Boston we never lost a game on the home grounds and we hardly had as many spectators as players.

"I went to Chicago with three other players of the Boston Club. Excuse me, gentlemen, if I digress here. The rules provided at that time, in this first professional association, that if a ball player signed a contract with any other club except the one he was with before the season was closed he was expelled. I took certain chances there of being expelled, but the gentleman who has done more for Base Ball than any man who has ever lived said to us: 'Boys, I'll attend to that; your salaries go whether you are expelled or not. I defy this Association to expel you players, because you are stronger than the Association; and, furthermore, there are iniquities in this Association that need correcting.' The result of that was—the meeting did not take place then until March—Mr. Hulbert and myself, in his house, where I spent thirty days, in December, 1875, decided to organize a new association.

"So this National League was born in rebellion, and I take pleasure in saying that I was one of the rebellious parties. I was looking over the other night the original constitution that we wrote—several drafts were made of it, and we re-wrote it—and when we got through with that we had a pretty nice structure; and, gentlemen, as I look at it to-day, you could get very many good points from that old constitution of 1876, making allowance, of course, for the