League Alliance

From BR Bullpen

The League Alliance was a sort-of minor league created by the National League for the 1882 season as a "holding pen" for two clubs that the league wanted to add to its ranks in 1883. The two clubs were the New York Metropolitans, owned by John B. Day and the Philadelphia Phillies, operated by Horace Phillips and Al Reach. These were the only two permanent clubs in the league, and in addition to playing each other, they arranged exhibition games against major league teams from the National League and its new rival, the American Association, and against local amateur and semi-pro clubs.

The decision was taken in light of two contrasting objectives: the National League realized it had to move back into the two major markets that were New York, NY and Philadelphia, PA and not leave them to their rivals, the American Association, but at the same time league President William Hulbert was adamant that the league not re-admit the two cities, because in the league's original season, 1876, the teams representing these two season had failed to complete their final western road trip and been kicked out of the league as a result. But Hulbert was in failing health, and fellow owners realized that the National League would not last long if it continued to field teams in places like Troy, NY and Worcester, MA, while the Association swept in to claim major markets as its own.

For what it's worth, the Metropolitans defeated the Phillies, 19 games to 12 with one tie, in head-to-head meetings, so they can be considered the league champions. The two franchises demonstrated that they could play a full schedule of games and draw decent crowds, although the Phillies were badly outplayed whenever they faced a National League team on the field. The following winter, the Troy and Worcester franchises were dismissed from the league. The Phillies were admitted as one replacement, while John Day decided to have his Metropolitans join the American Association, while creating a new team to fill the vacant slot in the NL. He raided the roster of the Troy teams, signing all its best players, to create the core of a winning team that would become the famed New York Giants. The Phillies were not so successful t first, and were often outshined by their rivals the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association, but they survived and still remain an active National League team to this day.

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