Shortly after the independent Carolina League was formed in 1936, officials of the National Association of Professional Baseball - which oversaw what was known as "organized baseball," including the major leagues - began a campaign to destroy the league. The NAPB declared the Carolina League "outlaw" and blacklisted its players because their teams were pirating professionally-contracted ballplayers with the lure of higher wages, small-town hero worship and a career off-season.
Backed into a corner, the Carolina League wore its "outlaw" label with a defiant swagger, challenging the all-powerful monopoly of organized professional baseball and its standard player contract. This complete history of the league reveals how it persevered through three tumultuous seasons, fueled by the tight-knit community spirit of North Carolina Piedmont textile towns. Over its three seasons of existence, the Carolina League attracted professional baseball players from all over the country and it gave the players control over their careers, setting a standard that was resisted until free agency was adopted in 1973.