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Exhibition Baseball Americana

John Montgomery Ward (1860–1925). Reproduction from Base-Ball: How to Become a Player, with the Origin, History, and Explanation of the Game. Philadelphia: The Athletic Publishing Co., 1888. General Collections, Library of Congress (029.01.00)

John Montgomery Ward

A struggling young orphan turned Columbia-trained lawyer, John Montgomery Ward began his seventeen-year playing career as a pitcher (in 1879 he threw an arm-melting 587 innings). He was also a highly influential but controversial figure who founded both the first professional players union and the short-lived Players League. These endeavors were early attempts to give players more control over their careers, an effort that would culminate in free agency more than fifty years after his death.