Before the National League became modern, check out how the senior league (the AL began in 1901) succeeded despite weak competition (Union League) and stronger upstarts (American Association and the Players League). Far, far from perfect, the NL codified two ills: the reserve clause which made each player the property of the team, and barred blacks from play. Teams came and went, and owners were given the opportunity to control more than one. It's Baseball! But it's Early Baseball!!!