When the Troy Trojans were admitted to the National League in 1879, it was a surprise. The league’s constitution dictated a population of at least 75,000 for admission to the league at a time when Troy had only 56,747. The Trojans were admitted to further the vision of Hall of Fame National League president William Hulbert.
Hulbert believed the best way to keep other leagues from competing with the NL was to amass the most talented players. As an independent minor league team, Troy boasted talented players including future Hall of Famer and five-time batting champion Dan Brouthers. Seeing this, Hulbert pushed through the Trojans’ inclusion to the NL in 1879 despite other power brokers’ objections over Troy’s population.
In 1880 the Trojans boasted a quartet of Hall of Famers making their big league debut, pitchers Tim Keefe, and Smiling Mickey Welch, catcher Buck Ewing and first baseman Roger Connor.
When Hulbert died before the 1882 season, Troy lost the one man keeping them in the league. The league soon voted them out.
In the collection is this letter to Hulbert dated October 12, 1880 from Gardner Earl, President of the Troy Trojans when they first became an NL club. Earl writes about the “National club of Washington”, later explaining that, “I think the Troy Club will vote – no.”
One has to wonder if Earl was referring to the possible admission of a new National League club in Washington. In 1886 the Nationals were admitted to the NL representing the city for a four-year run.
The owner of the first MLB team that Hall of Famers Keefe, Welch, Ewing, Connor, and Brouthers played for, Gardner Earl has signed the bottom of the letter in large script.