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February 28, 2007

Comments

Richard Hershberger

Nice follow-up. As for your mistake in the previous post, I have more than once stated that the 1882 League Alliance was the Metropolitans and the Athletics, only to have to go back and correct myself. I feel your pain.

For a definitive statement of League Alliance membership, the best place to look would be the Spalding Guide for 1883. But in this instance there really is no question. The Atlantics did not join the LA.

Why Barnie did not join either it or the American Association is a bit of a mystery. It may have been fatal indecision. Another factor to consider is financial backing. In 1881 he ran the Atlantics as a co-op, which was already an obslete business model by then. I'm not sure what, if any, backing he had in 1882. The January 28 piece you have is consistent with finances being his concern: he was deterred by the financial commitment of touring.

The reason for not joining the LA is less clear. There were the territorial issues you cite. For another possibility, consider that Barnie had similarly flirted with joining the LA in 1881. The likeliest reason for his not doing this was that his players balked. Being outside the LA, the players were free agents even during the season. Had the Atlantics joined the LA, they would have been locked out of switching to better clubs mid-season. A salaried club with strong finances like the Metropolitans could attract good players anyway, but a co-op club could not. (I have a cite for this being the reason they stayed out of the LA in 1881 somewhere in my files. Let me know if you want me to dig it out.) Was the situation the same in 1882? Heck if I know.

On a related note, you stated in your update to the earlier post that the 1882 Philadelphias were the predecessors of the NL Phillies. I disagree with this. They *were* the NL Phillies. They just weren't in the NL yet. Nowadays we are uncomfortable with the idea that a club can switch back and forth between minor and major leagues, but it was not uncommon at the time. The press of the day was quite clear that the 1882 and 1883 Philadelphia teams were the same organization. Take a look at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of September 24, 1882, under the headline "A Base Ball Coup D'Etat".

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