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Think baseball today is rotten from drugs and punks? A century ago, things weren’t much better. A brief history of baseball’s dark traditions—cheating, substance abuse, obscenity, violence—and the colorful players who brought them to life.
In the late 1870s, baseball was at risk of dying out before it even got started, strangled by a teetotaling, law-abiding, church-going new league. Then a German saloonkeeper in St. Louis got involved.