From Jules Tygiel's 2001 Past Time: Baseball as History.
Their personal ambitions notwithstanding, the four future owners shared a strong contempt for the men who ran the National League in the 1890s. The owners, who preferred to see themselves as "magnates" on a par with Rockefeller and Carnegie, were predominantly self-made men who, having amassed fortunes in other industries, had invested their profits into baseball clubs. A handful, most notably Albert Spalding of the Chicago White Sox, Al Reach of the Philadelphia Phillies, and Ned Hanlon of the Baltimore Orioles, had risen from the ranks of the players.
For some like Spalding and Reach who had made fortunes in the sporting goods business, streetcar developers Frank and Stanley Robinson who owned the Cleveland Spiders, New York real estate speculator Andrew Freedman, or brewers Harry and Herman von der Horst of Baltimore, investments in major league clubs were logical extensions of their other business interests. For other owners, like Cincinnati's John T. Brush, whose fortune came from his family's Indianapolis department store, or the Wagner brothers of the Washington Nationals, who had earned their money in meatpacking, ownership of a baseball team represented both an investment and an indulgence, an enterprise that would earn them a level of attention, if not acclaim, that their other businesses could not provide. "Convinced of their own importance . . . they even convinced themselves that they were as important to the fans as the players," writes historian David Voigt.
Tags: Jules Tygiel, Past Time: Baseball as History