When Wilkesbarre sold short stop [Suter] Sullivan to St. Louis, it was to receive $750. The money was never paid. The club went into the hands of a receiver Secretary W.S. Rutledge, of the local club, returned from Philadelphia yesterday, where he had gone to see what prospects there were for getting the $750. President N.E. Young, of the National League, was seen, and after Mr. Rutledge explained the situation to him, said the Wilkesbarre Club would be paid the full amount of its claim, as the National League itself would demand that the money be paid as per agreement when the deal was made that sent Sullivan to St. Louis. He furthermore stated that St. Louis needed the man, and that his work was highly satisfactory, and practically guaranteed the claim.
-Sporting Life, August 20, 1898
The point here, of course, is that the club was broke and was not only struggling to pay the players but was struggling to pay their other bills as well. In light of this, the behavior of the League is rather interesting. VdA was bankrupt and about to be pushed out the door. Muckenfuss didn't have any money. The club probably wasn't bringing in much. Any chance that Becker or the Robisons were going to bail the club out by purchasing the team from VdA was gone. What was to be done? The League couldn't afford to lose the St. Louis market and had to do everything in its power to protect their territory, especially in light of the rising challenge from the Western League.
So maybe the League was guaranteeing some of the debts of the club. Maybe they were making sure the players were getting paid and making sure that clubs covered by the National Agreement were getting their money. I'm not certain but, as we get further along here, we'll see the League taking rather extraordinary steps to clean up the mess that Von der Ahe left in St. Louis.
I think it's clear that the League was not going to let St. Louis fold and give up the potentially lucrative St. Louis baseball market. Von der Ahe be damned; the League was going to do what it had to do to protect its interests.