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However, the grand experiment, plagued by lack of funding and resolve by owners among other factors, imploded after just one year.

The American Association and the Federal League would rise and fall taking on baseball’s power brokers.

The American League would also come into existence and survive while imposing most of the same onerous conditions as the National League.

“This is one of the best historical finds in the hobby world,” said Cohen, 45, a lifelong collector who lives in Orange.

Because the collection is unique, Cohen hesitates to put a value on the find, but expects it to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Spearheaded by Ward, the “The Players’ National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs,” more commonly known as the Players’ League, was an attempt to break away from the restrictive and onerous National League, whose “reserve clause” essentially gave teams perpetual control of player contracts.

As Ward said at the time, “The movement is an experiment on our part to have the men who do the work participate in the profits of the pastime.” More than 100 players walked out on their teams to join the new league.

He wanted to know if the documents he had were worth anything.

Tomasulo, a veteran collector, can’t recall the number of times someone has come in promising a memorable find and, “they pull out Mickey Mouse.” This would be no Mickey Mouse find.

Ewing, for example, died in 1906 and there are no known examples of his signature on a ball or equipment.

Keefe died in 1933 and his autograph is similarly elusive.

The “Lucky Seven Find” was a set of Ty Cobb tobacco cards discovered in a torn paper bag in an abandoned house.

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