Harry Wright, the Braves manager (then known as the Red Stockings and Red Caps) had a stunning run of success. Four straight National Association pennants from 1872-75. Then the National League formed and he won the first 2 out of 3 championships. Quite a run for sure.
Then in 1879 things began to go south for him and the Boston Red Caps. But it didn’t only affect him. It affected major league baseball for a long time to come. It was the year the “reserve clause” was created due to problems created by Harry and his brother’s George problems.
The Reserve Clause’s inception was in 1879, when it was proposed as an unofficial rule known as “the Five Man Rule.” It would allow teams to reserve players for each season, unless a player opted out of his contract and did not play in the league for a year. While the rule was not secret, teams started to sign other teams’ “reserved players,” thus encroaching the rule. These controversies caused the National League to instate the rule officially on December 6, 1879
And so, in 1879 the Braves, under Harry Wright, ended up 54-30 in second place, 5 games behind the champions.