What was Tammany Hall? What role did it play in promoting organized baseball? Why did it do so?
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Under "Boss Tweed," Tammany Hall was the political machine in New York City in the last half of the nineteenth century. Originally, it began as a means of helping new immigrants to adapt to life in New York. It did not take long for corruption and other abuses to become the prime motivations for its actions. With people like Boss Tweed and George Washington Plunkitt, Tammany Hall began to use its influence to infiltrate virtually any business that could benefit them financially.
Baseball, specifically with the establishment of the National League in 1869, became such a business. Tammany Hall promoted the development of organized baseball, even providing some of the financial backing to do so. It actually supported a team known as the New York Mutuals, a working-class club in lower Manhattan. Tammany Hall's connection with the developmeent of baseball as a business during the course of the nineteenth century influenced the game's development in other ways, as well.
It was not unheard of for players to throw games or hit batters on purpose, specifically if they were told to do so. Tammany Hall certainly was not above doing this. If it asked that a team throw a game, they would bet on the other team, presumably the underdog, to win. When the underdog won, Tammany Hall would collect its winnings. It would be a stretch to say that Tammany Hall involved itself in the development of baseball out of a love for the game; however, they did love the profits they could make from it.
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