When the Cincinnati Monarchs club left the Century League (taking St. Louis along with them), there were a lot of hard feelings on both sides. Though neither club returned to the Century League, both continued to operate independently as touring clubs. But Cincinnati owner James Tice continued to keep an eye on the Century League and how it did business. And in the winter of 1881, he decided to take the lessons he felt he'd learned, and started his own professional circuit - the Border Association. The TBA would feature eight clubs (same as the Century) with six clubs in the U.S. and two others in Canada. Cincinnati and St. Louis were joined by four other clubs: New York and Pittsburgh, plus two Canadian cities - Montreal and Toronto. Tice, as Border Association President, promptly declared he would not honor Century League player contracts - and the war was on.

 

Going into 1883, the Century League got serious about its new competition. When the Cleveland Cuyahogas pulled the plug, CL President William Whitney took the opportunity to go for the jugular by placing a replacement club in New York. This set up a direct head-to-head battle in the nation's largest metropolis between the Century League and Border Association. The new club would be called the New York Gothams and they would play at a newly-rebuilt Bigsby Oval - which just happened to be across the street from the home of the Association's New York Stars home page, Riverside Stadium.

Edward "Ned" Wilson, CL President

In the wake of the tumultuous league meetings in November of 1885, the Ned Wilson era officially began with the new Century League president adding two new clubs to replace the departed Brooklyn Unions and Boston Pilgrims. Ironically, one of the new clubs would be in Buffalo - where departed Unions owner Miles Bigsby had wanted to place a club. The Buffaloes, as they'd be known, were not owned by Bigsby's crony however and were a respectable addition. The other team, however, was a direct shot in the ongoing war with the Border Association and as such turned out to be a mistake that quickly became obvious.

For the first 9 seasons of the Century League, William Whitney had essentially ruled by fiat. Unbeknownst to him, this rankled some of the other owners. Charles Bigsby was gone, but his brother Miles, owner of the Brooklyn club, was quietly working behind the scenes to undermine Whitney's authority. By the time the league's 10th season had ended, Bigsby's hidden coup came to light and the Century League was changed forever.

1884 will be remembered as the year that baseball really started to transition from pastime to national industry. Several new leagues cropped up - all of lower caliber than either the Century League or Border Association, and all but two of them would soon disappear into the mists of time, but what would become minor league baseball really got going in 1884.