Auction of NL constitution delayed over ownership dispute

This May 18, 2017, photo shows the hands of SCP Auctions vice president Dan Imler holding the 1876 constitution that founded the National League and the modern business of big league sports, that is going up for sale at SCP Auctions in Laguna Niguel, Calif. Theses pages have corrections and strikeouts, showing that the documents were very much living works in progress. SCP Auctions expects the papers to draw millions when the auction starts Wednesday, May 24. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (AP) An auction of the 1876 constitution that established the National League has been delayed because of a dispute over the document’s ownership.

The constitution of the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs was projected to fetch several million dollars at the auction set to open Wednesday.

But California’s SCP Auctions, which was running the sale, says someone has come forward to challenge the veracity of the title.

The auction house has said only that the owner was the family of a former longtime National League executive. They would not give the name of the person or group challenging the ownership.

Baseball historians say the document, largely the work of Chicago White Stockings owner William Hulbert, laid out the business model followed by all modern professional team sports.

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