Players’ League of Professional Base Ball Clubs in 1890


The Player’s League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (PL) was established in 1890 (134 years ago) to challenge the National League (NL) and American Association (AA).

The PL aimed to compete with the established leagues by offering better player salaries and a more favorable player contract system. During its brief existence, the PL challenged the dominance of the NL and AA, attracting a significant following and even winning over some spectators from the established leagues. However, despite initial success, financial difficulties and fierce competition eventually led to the downfall of the PL.

1890 was Season 1 of play and the final season for the Player’s League of Professional Base Ball Clubs and took place 134 years ago.


Rival League

Season Length

No records

Season Champion

Boston Reds

# of Teams


Season Standings

Season Playoffs

There were no championship playoffs as the top team with the most wins at end of season was declared league champion for the season.

Events in Baseball (Thanks to Wikipedia)

Notable Seasons
  • Cleveland Infants left fielder Pete Browning led the PL in batting average (.373) and adjusted OPS+ (169). He was second in the PL in on-base percentage (.459). He was fifth in the PL in slugging percentage (.517) and hits (184).
  • Chicago Pirates pitcher Silver King had a win–loss record of 30–22 and led the PL in earned run average (2.69), adjusted ERA+ (162), and shutouts (4). He was second in the PL in innings pitched (461), wins (30), and strikeouts (185).
  • January 9 – The Brooklyn Gladiators are admitted to the American Association, joining ToledoRochester and Syracuse as new members.
  • January 28 – New York Supreme Court Justice Morgan J. O’Brien rules in favor of John Montgomery Ward‘s Reserve Clause case, and by extension the Players’ League, by ruling baseball contracts lacked mutuality and were therefore unenforceable. This is the first in several rulings that allows the Players’ League to proceed as planned.
  • February 1 – The National League finalizes its schedule for 1890, but refuses to release it. Speculation abounds that they are waiting for the Players’ League to release their own schedule so that the new circuit may purposely schedule conflicting games in the same cities where both leagues have teams.
  • February 20 – Sam Rice is born in Morocco, Indiana. A quick outfielder with a great arm, Rice will lead the American League in hits twice, in stolen bases once, and collect at least 200 hits on six occasions, while finishing in the top ten in batting average eight times. Rice will gain election to the Hall of Fame in 1963.
  • February 24 – An anonymous group allegedly offers $1 million to purchase the entire National League. The National League, believing the offer a hoax, turns it down. Some believe the offer was made by the Players’ League, knowing the new circuit would refuse the offer, so they could point to the refusal as proof that the National League was in much better financial shape than they claimed.
  • March 6 – The National League releases its official schedule although many believe it to be an intentional fake as it includes the Indianapolis Hoosiers and the Washington Nationals, who are rumored to be on the brink of being bought out by the league.
  • March 11 – The Players’ League releases its schedule while claiming it paid no attention to the previously released National League schedule.
  • March 27 – The Inter-State League rejects an application from an all-black team made up of former Cuban Giants.

Future Features