Difference between revisions of "1871.14"

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Latest revision as of 09:22, 17 March 2021

Chronologies
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Rival Assn of Amateur Players Forms: Includes Clubs from NY, Philly, Baltimore, Boston.

Salience Noteworthy
Tags Baseball Professionalism
Location NYC
City/State/Country: New York, NY, United States
Game Base Ball
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Adult
Text

"THE CONVENTION OF AMATEUR CLUBS IN BROOKLYN

A NATIONAL SSSOCIATION OF AMATEUR BASE BALL PLAYERS IS ESTABLISHED

CLUBS FROM NEW YORK, PHILADELPHIA, BALTIMORE AND BOSTON REPRESENTED

"Thursday, March 18, 1871 was an eventful day in the brief annals of the National game . . . there was a re-union of the amateur class of the fraternity . . ."

Participating clubs included Knickerbocker, Eagle, Gotham. Excelsior, Star, Olympic, Equity, Pastime and Harvard clubs."

 

Sources

New York Clipper, March 25, 1871

Comment

from Richard Hershberger, "150 Years Ago Today", 3/18/2021:

"[T]he formation of the National Association of Amateur Base Ball Players. This is the long-talked-about splinter organization, spinning off from the old National Association, which is deemed to be thoroughly infested with professionalism cooties.

Spoiler alert: We won't be talking about the new NAABBP very much down the road. It will stumble along for several years, but will be essentially irrelevant the whole while. Why not? It isn't as if amateur baseball will ever go away. Professional baseball has never accounted for more than a tiny fraction of all baseball played. It just attracts nearly all the attention."

Note: for Richard's full commentary, see Supplemental Text, below.

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Query

Was this new NAABP destined to tinker with the rules of play?

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Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Submission Note FB Posting of 3/18/2021



Comments

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The formation of the National Association of Amateur Base Ball Players: This is the long-talked-about splinter organization, spinning off from the old National Association, which is deemed to be thoroughly infested with professionalism cooties.


Spoiler alert: We won't be talking about the new NAABBP very much down the road. It will stumble along for several years, but will be essentially irrelevant the whole while. Why not? It isn't as if amateur baseball will ever go away. Professional baseball has never accounted for more than a tiny fraction of all baseball played. It just attracts nearly all the attention.

We can see here at the start some signs of trouble. Note the discussion about gate receipts. Many legitimately amateur clubs supported themselves this way, and weren't going to join an association that said they couldn't. So filthy lucre has its foot in the door already. Once a club supports itself on gate receipts, it follows that it will do even better with better players, leading to paying a few ringers under the table. This is far removed from the old model of a baseball club as a vehicle for its members to take their exercise together in a socially congenial setting. These clubs, or at least most of them, are there to play against other clubs, and to win.

Even before we get there, however, the problem is that the vast majority of amateur clubs see no need to send a delegate to join an amateur association. What would be the point? In the old NA much of the point was to have a voice in rules discussions. The NAABBP will adopt the playing rules from the convention last December. Going forward, the professional rules will be generally accepted as authoritative. The NAABBP will complain about this, but few will care.

So what we have here is thirty-three clubs--a tiny fraction of all clubs, or even of the clubs represented (via state associations) at the NA convention last December. Five are from Manhattan, nine from Brooklyn, six college clubs (mostly from what are now Ivy League schools), five from upstate New York, four from New Jersey, two from Philadelphia, and two from Baltimore. This is a considerable contraction from the old NA, which for all its flaws actually was fairly broadly based.

The clipping here is right about one thing. Many of the clubs at today's meeting are indeed elite, but they are socially elite, not competitively. That no longer means what it had a decade earlier. The days are gone when the social standing of a club's membership mattered to its importance in the baseball fraternity. Baseball has moved past that. When you are playing to win, choosing players based on class snobbery is a positive liability. So it goes.

-- Posted as "150 Years Ago Today" in Facebook by Richard Hershberger on 3/18/2021