Timeline of Early Baseball Leagues
F i l t e r   &   S o r t 
Logo for Federal League
FL: 1913-1915 (3 seasons)
Eliminated the 'reserve clause', allowing free agency that created competition and disdain with the AL and NL.
Logo for United States Baseball League
USBL: 1912-1912 (1 season)
Sputtering through two short seasons, the league was the first to introduce free agency and multi-year contracts.
Logo for American League
AL: 1894-1900 (7 seasons)
Originally a minor league called the Western League, evolved into a major league to form MLB with National League in 1901.
Logo for Players League
PL: 1890-1890 (1 season)
Known as "The Brotherhood" league, it was formed around players from the National League's first players' union.
Logo for Union Association
UA: 1884-1884 (1 season)
The league president's favoritism toward his own St. Louis franchise doomed the league from the beginning.
Logo for American Association
AA: 1882-1891 (10 seasons)
Became a significant force in baseball by playing on Sundays and allowing sales of alcohol, unlike the NL.
Logo for National League
NL: 1876-1900 (25 seasons)
The "Senior Circuit" is the world's oldest professional team sports league still in existence today.
Logo for National Association
NA: 1871-1875 (5 seasons)
Included most of the pro clubs and highest caliber players of its time, paving the way for the origin of the NL in 1876.
Logo for National Association of Base Ball Players
NABBP: 1857-1870 (14 seasons)
The first organization governing professional baseball and establishing standard rules across the national sport.
Knickerbocker Rules are set of baseball rules formalized by the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in 1845. They have previously been considered to be the basis for the rules of the modern game of baseball.
NYK: 1846-1856 (11 seasons)
A set of baseball rules formalized by the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in 1845. Considered to be the earliest rules from which the evolution of modern baseball originated.

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