Clipping:A special meeting to sort out the championship rules

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Date Sunday, October 29, 1871

The special meeting of the Professional Association will be held next Friday evening, at the Girard House. Mr. James N Kerns, the energetic presiding officer of the Association, has called a special meeting in order that interpretation of the championship rules may be definitely settled, and for the transaction of other important business. Every professional club in the country should be represented, if they are alive to their own interests. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury October 29, 1871

[at the meeting held 11/3/1871] Mr. James N. Kerns then presented a protest from the Athletics against the Forest City, of Rockford, for playing Scott Hastings before he was legally entitled to play. This elicited considerable discussion, and a statement from the Rockfords that Hastings was a member of their club, and no other, for the last three years, and therefore not eligible to play with the Lone Stars, of New Orleans, in the games that he did. It was, however, immediately resolved that all games played by the Rockfords with Hastings on their nine, prior to the 16th day of June, be declared forfeited, and this applies to two games won by the Rockfords from the Athletics, one from the Kekiongas, and one from the Olympics, of Washington, making four games in all that were forfeited. Philadelphia Sunday Mercury November 5, 1871

Mr. James N. Kerns said that the rules governing the championship were faulty, and considerable doubt existed whether they were to be interpreted as meaning the most number of games won or series won. He suggested that the rules be changed, so that each club would be obliged to play five games with every other contestant, and all the games to count, the club winning the most and losing the least number of games to be declared the champions. Mr. Clark moved that a series of five games be played, the club losing the least to be the champions. Mr. N. E. Young moved to strike out the words “best three” in the championship rules, which would do away with the objection. Mr. Clark withdrawing his motion, that of Mr. Young’s was unanimously passed.


The chairman then asked for protests against illegal games, and presented one from the Athletic Club, of Philadelphia, protesting against the legality of the games played between the Athletic and Forest City of Rockford on the 5th and 15th of June, 1870 [sic: should be 1871] on the ground of the ineligibility of Scott Hastings, who acted as catcher of the latter club, he having played with the Lone Stars, of New Orleans, within sixty days of the games in question, and being disqualified to play with any other club until the 16th of June, 1870 [sic].. Mr. A. H. Wright [acting as delegate for the Forest City] then read the following extract from a letter received by him from Mr. H. H. Waldo, the secretary of the Forest City Club, of Rockford, in regard to this matter:–“Hastings has not been legally a member of any club but the Forest City Club, of Rockford, for the last three years. If we regard the rules of the National Association as binding and decisive, his connection with the Lone Star, of New Orleans, was wholly illegal, and we did not forfeit our rights by his playing games in said club. These games must all be declared practice games and Mr. Hastings’ membership regarded as only with the Forest City Club, of Rockford. It is unnecessary for me to state reasons, for the question is not, not cannot legally come before the convention at this time, or any other time; the third days’ rule applies here. The Olympics made a complaint against us but they took their complaint to the wrong market, to wit, the judiciary committee of the National Association instead of the Professional Association.

Mr. James N. Kerns said that when the Rockfords came to Philadelphia to play the first game, he protested against Hasting playing with the Rockfords, having understood that Harry Wright, the Captain of the Boston, had pursued a similar course in the Boston-Rockford game. That the Rockfords had replied that they were willing to give up the game by a score of 9 to 0, but that if the fact became generally known throughout the country it would hurt the attendance at future games. Mr. F. H. Mason said the fact of Hastings having played with the Lone Stars on the 16th of April–which was not disputed–rendered him a member of that club, according to Section 2 of Rule Fifth of the National Association, which says:–“they also must not have been members of any other club, either in or out of the National Association–college clubs excepted–for sixty days immediately prior to the match * * Every player taking part in a regular match game, no matter what number of innings are played, shall be, in the meaning of this section of the rules, considered a member of the club he plays with.”

Mr. Mason argued that this last clause was expressly framed in 1867 to cover such cases as Hastings, and moved that the games played by the Rockfords with the Athletics on the 5 th and 15 th of last June be declared forfeited to the latter clubs. Mr Mason accepted as an amendment to his motion that all games of the Rockford club this season, in which Hastings took part, prior to the 16 th of June, be declared forfeited; and after some further discussion, the motion, as amended, was carried.


The Eckfords were declared by the committee [sic: probably an error, as no committee met] to be ineligible as contestants for the championship. New York Clipper November 11, 1871

Source Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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