Dan (Erik) is correct. The RFA rule applies only to players who the team signed as a rookie and are still with the team. It basically replaces the CKL Hometown Discount rule.
Dan (Scuba) makes an excellent argument for allowing a 1901 player to be designated as a Franchise Player. If I can't designate Honus Wagner, who already has four seasons (including one of his best) gone, then why should someone in 1905 be able to tag Cobb, or someone in 1907 be able to tag Walter Johnson? As mentioned in my previous post as well, chances are the guys in this formation draft who get Wagner, Lajoie and Mathewson are going to field decent teams for several years, so won't even be in the running to get Cobb or Johnson. Raising the FP tag to a higher salary would likely have the same effect it has had in the CKL - almost total elimination of the FP, because there aren't that many players who are worth that much. But of course those guys who luck into Cobb, Speaker, Johnson and later on Ruth, Hornsby and Gehrig will be happy to do so. And remember that even tanking a season is no guarantee, since it is still based on a lottery of the bottom four teams.
All that being said, it is Rich's league, and if he insists that the 1901 draft class is not eligible to be FP, then so be it. Maybe we could vote on that as well. I believe I also mentioned earlier that with the RFA rule, I could certainly live without the FP rule, but some tweaking might be good to that as well.
You see, you spend a good deal of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time. J. Bouton