The early years of the National League were tumultuous, with threats from rival leagues and a rebellion by players against the hated "reserve clause", which restricted the free movement of players between clubs. Competitive leagues formed regularly, and also disbanded regularly. The most successful was the American Association (1881–1891), sometimes called the "beer and whiskey league" for its tolerance of the sale of alcoholic beverages to spectators. For several years, the National League and American Association champions met in a postseason championship series—the first attempt at a World Series .
Stone fruits of the genus Prunus typically contain poisonous hydrocyanic (prussic) acid (HCN) in the pits and foliage. Since the poisonous cyanide is combined with one or more sugars, these molecules are referred to as cyanogenetic glucosides. If you crush the leaves of a stone fruit tree, such as a cherry or apricot, you can smell the faint, almond-like odor of cyanide. The effects of hydrocyanic acid (cyanide) on the human body is disastrous because it inhibits the action of the vital enzyme cytochrome oxidase during cellular respiration. Without the oxidation of glucose, ATP production ceases. Therefore, HCN poisoning is essentially asphyxiation at the cellular level, because oxygen is not utilized at key steps in the Kreb’s (citric acid) cycle. The cells thus die from lack of oxygen even though oxygen is plentiful in the blood. As little as gram has caused death in some people. This is why it is considered unwise to dine on the seeds inside the pits of stone fruits. The exception appears to be almonds; however, some people feel that almonds should be consumed in moderation. The cyanogenetic glucoside found in the seeds of apricots, bitter almonds, cherries and plums is called amygdalin. It is used in the preparation of Laetrile, a highly controversial, alternative treatment for certain cancers.