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In the early 1870s, baseball was chaos, mired in mismanagement and corruption. William Hulbert, the owner of Chicago's National Association team, believed that a league run efficiently with honest competition would survive and flourish. Hulbert, relying on his pragmatic philosophy of "molasses now, vinegar later" and working with his prize recruit Albert Spalding, founded the National League in 1876. That inaugural season of the National League is chronicled in this heavily documented work. The league fell far short of Hulbert's dreams in its first season, but he stuck to his belief that integrity would win out in the end. He not only prohibited Sunday baseball and the sale and consumption of alcohol within the league's ballparks, but ousted two teams--New York and Philadelphia--from the league because they failed to meet their obligation to finish out the season. Despite the setbacks, scandals, and considerable opposition, all of which are thoroughly covered here, the National League survived its first year.
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Neil W. Macdonald has been a sports reporter, sports editor and is presently a strength training coach at a local senior center. A member of SABR, he lives in Blaine, Washington.Review:
"deeply researched history"--Sports Collectors Digest; "accessible...entertaining and instructive information...interesting...sound"--Nineteenth Century Notes.
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