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قراءة كتاب A Ball Player's Career Being the Personal Experiences and Reminiscensces of Adrian C. Anson

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A Ball Player's Career
Being the Personal Experiences and Reminiscensces of Adrian C. Anson

A Ball Player's Career Being the Personal Experiences and Reminiscensces of Adrian C. Anson

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 6

Brainard, pitcher; Allison, catcher; Gould, Sweasy and Waterman on the bases; George Wright, shortstop, and Leonard, Harry Wright and McVey in the outfield.

In 1868 the late Frank Queen, proprietor and editor of the New York Clipper, offered a series of prizes to be contested for by the leading clubs of the country, a gold ball being offered for the champion club, and a gold badge to the player in each position, from catcher to right field, who had the best batting average. The official award gave the majority of the prizes to the Athletic club. McBride, Radcliff, Fisler, Reach and Sensenderfer, having excelled in their respective positions of pitcher, catcher, first base, second base, and center field. Waterman, Hatfield and Johnson, of the Cincinnatis, excelled in the positions of third base, left field and right field, and George Wright of the Unions, of Morrisiania as shortstop. The gold ball was also officially awarded to the Athletics as the emblem of championship for the season of 1868.

The Atlantics of Brooklyn were virtually the champions of 1870, being the first club to deprive the Cincinnati Reds of the prestige of invincibility which had marked their career during the preceding season. The inaugural contest between these clubs in 1870 took place June 14th on the Capitoline grounds at Brooklyn, N. Y., the Atlantics then winning by a score of 8 to 7 after an exciting struggle of eleven innings. The return game was played September 2d, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and resulted in a decisive victory for the Reds, by a score of 14 to 3.

This necessitated a third or decisive game, which was played in Philadelphia October 6th, and this the Atlantics won by a score of 11 to 7.

The Atlantics in that year had Zettlein, pitcher; Ferguson, catcher; Start, Pike and Smith on the bases; Pearce, shortstop, and Chapman, Hall and McDonald on the outfield.

The newspapers throughout the country had by this time begun to pay unusual attention to the game, and the craze was spreading like wildfire all over the country, every little country town boasting of its nine, and as these were for the greater part made up of home players, local feeling ran high, and the doings of "our team" furnished the chief subject of conversation at the corner grocery, and wherever else the citizens were wont to congregate.

With the advent of the professional player the game in the larger towns took on a new lease of life, but in the smaller places where they could not afford the expense necessary to the keeping of a first-class team it ceased to be the main attraction and interest was centered in the doings of the teams of the larger places.

That the professional player improved the game itself goes without saying as being a business with him instead of a pastime, and one upon which his daily bread depended, he went into it with his whole soul, developing its beauties in a way that was impossible to the amateur who could only give to it the time that he could spare after the business hours of the day.

This was the situation at the time that I first entered tile base-ball arena, and, looking back, when I come to compare the games of those days with the games of to-day and note the many changes that have taken place, I cannot but marvel at the improvement made and at the interest that the game has everywhere excited.


The professional player of those early days and the professional player of the present time were totally different personages. When professionalism first crept into the ranks it was generally the custom to import from abroad some player who had made a name for himself, playing some certain position, and furnish him with a business situation so that his services might be called for when needed, and so strong was the local pride taken in the success of the team that business men were not averse to furnishing such a man with a position when they were informed that it would be for the good of the home organization.

Prior to the year 1868 the professional was, comparatively speaking, an unknown quantity on the ball field, though it may be set down here as a fact that on more than one occasion previous to that time "the laborer had been found worthy of his hire," even in base-ball, though that matter had been kept a secret as far as possible, even in the home circle.

Up to the year mentioned the rules of the National Association had prohibited the employment of any paid player in a club nine, but at that time so strong had the rivalry become between the leading clubs of the principal cities that the practice of compensating players had become more honored in the breach than in the observance and the law was practically a dead letter so far as these clubs were concerned.

The growth of the professional class of players, and the consequent inequality in strength between these and the amateur players made a distinction necessary and in 1871 the National Association split up, the professional clubs forming an association of their own.

The first series of championship games under a regular official code of rules was then established, and since then the contests for the professional championship have been the events of each season's play.

The first convention of delegates from avowedly professional clubs was held March 17th, 1871, in New York City, and a code of rules were then adopted, the principal clause being the one suggested by the Athletic Club of Philadelphia, to the effect that the championship should belong to the club which won the greatest number of games in a series of five with every other contesting club.

The professional Association thus organized consisted of the following clubs: Athletics of Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Forest Citys of Cleveland, Forest Citys of Rockford, Haymakers of Troy, Kekiongas of Fort Wayne, Mutuals of New York' City, and Olympics of Washington. The Eckford Club of Brooklyn entered the Association about the middle of the season, but its games were not counted. The Kekiongas disbanded in July, but their games were thrown out.

That season marked my advent on the diamond as a professional, I being a member of the Forest Citys of Rockford; so it can readily be seen that I was among the first of the men in America who made of base-ball playing a business.

The additions to the Association in 1872 were the Atlantic and Eckford of Brooklyn, Baltimore, National of Washington, and Mansfield of Middletown, Conn., the last mentioned, however, disbanding before the close of the championship season. The Forest Citys of Rockford did not enter the arena that year, but I was "still in the ring," having transferred my services to the Athletics of Philadelphia, where I remained until the formation of the National League in 1876.

In 1875 the Athletics had a rival in the new Philadelphia club; the Maryland of Baltimore and the Resolute of Elizabeth, N. J., also entering the championship arena. The Forest City of Cleveland and the Eckford of Brooklyn dropped out after 1872, and the two Washington clubs were consolidated. The Chicago club, which had been broken up by the great fire of 1871 and had been out of existence in 1872 and 1873, again entered the Association in 1874, when Hartford was for the first time represented by a professional club. The Washington, Resolute and the Maryland Clubs were not members of the Association in that year.

Thirteen professional clubs competed for the championship in 1875, the St. Louis team being the only one of the new entries that did not disband before the season closed. This was the last season of the Professional Association, it being superseded by the National League, an organization which still exists, though it lacks the brains and power that carried it on to success in, its earlier days, this being notably the case in Chicago and New York, where the clubs representing these cities have gone down the toboggan slide with lightning-like rapidity.

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