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Beginning in 1869, the NABBP permitted professional play, addressing a growing practice that had not been permitted under its rules to that point.
The first and most prominent professional club of the NABBP era was the Cincinnati Red Stockings.
The professional National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs, which still exists, was established in 1876 after the National Association proved ineffective.
The emphasis was now on "clubs" rather than "players".
Moses Fleetwood Walker and his brother Welday Walker were unceremoniously dropped from major and minor-league rosters in the 1880s, as were other African-Americans in baseball.
The club members, led by Alexander Cartwright, formulated the "Knickerbocker Rules", which in large part deal with organizational matters but which also lay out rules for playing the game.
One of the significant rules was the prohibition of "soaking" or "plugging" the runner; under older rules, a fielder could put a runner out by hitting the runner with the thrown ball.
In 1870, a schism formed between professional and amateur ballplayers. The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players operated from 1871 through 1875, and is considered by some to have been the first major league.
Its amateur counterpart disappeared after only a few years.
Competitive leagues formed regularly, and also disbanded regularly.