Muscle Sport Magazine

NL Recognizes Brotherhood – OTD in Baseball 1887


The Major League Baseball Players Association of its day, the Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players’ main purpose was originally formed to help out former players’ widows. But during the 1885 offseason, they began looking more like a union by arguing against the reserve clause and scary cap imposed by the National League. A rocky relationship ensued and it wouldn’t be for two more years before the NL even officially recognized the Brotherhood, which it finally did on this day in baseball – November 17, 1887.

Not every player was a part of the Brotherhood and only a portion of them were part of the split on December 16, 1889 with the formation of the Players League, also known as the Brotherhood.

The rival league was led by John Montgomery Ward and included eight teams. It played the 1890 season before the owners began having second thoughts about the long term and the almighty dollar was of course the main culprit. So after the Boston Reds won the championship, the Players League folded.

Its legacy was  – unfortunately for the players – not one writhe with salary changes, but rather some new stadiums that were constructed and eventually used by NL clubs. The Polo Grounds was one that was adopted by the New York Giants and  – in one form or another – was used by not only the Giants, but the Yankees Mets, Titans/Jets and football Giants, as well.

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