On the eve of his team’s opening-day matchup with the Indianapolis Hoosiers, Manager Bill Watkins called a meeting with the players. The meeting served not only as a pep talk, but it also afforded him an opportunity to review the team rules. The pre-season discourse had become a budding tradition for the 28-year-old Watkins. He was in his third year of skippering the Detroit Wolverines of the National League. If the previous year was any indication, the 1887 team figured to be very good indeed. One Chicago newspaper even described the Detroits as “superb animals.”
Cap Anson’s Chicago White Stockings were the reigning National League champions, but Detroit had finished a close second, only 2½ games off the pace in ’86. Watkins knew that his Wolverine squad could compete with anybody, and he said as much when his men gathered in his Indianapolis hotel room.
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