Saturday, February 16, 2008

Charley's Gone West

Charley Sweeney has returned to his home in California. He left St. Louis last Monday forenoon. Not long before Sweeney was released from the St. Louis club, Mr. Lucas drew him aside and said: "Charley, I have been a good friend of yours. I have been paying you a salary of $3,000 for seven month's work or nearly $500 per month. I paid you this money to pitch. Experience has proven that you can't pitch. Now I am perfectly willing to retain you on the nine as a fielder, but I cannot afford to pay you at the rate of three thousand a season. Suppose we split the difference and for the balance of the year I will pay you a salary at the rate of $1,500 for the season. You can then play out in the field."

Sweeney, who believed he could make a lot of money in the East, refused this offer of Mr. Lucas and he was released from the St. Louis club. Subsequently he signed with Syracuse. Hes career while with that club is already pretty well known.

There is no doubt in the world that sweeney, in his best days, was the king pitcher. He broke down, however, while training for the inaugural season of the St. Louis League team, and his arm has been of little if any use to him since. There have been cases where rest and quiet have mended a pitcher's arm so that he could play as well as ever. The again there have been other case, notably those of Derby and Goldsmith, where the use of the pitching arm was never recovered.

It may be that Sweeney's case is not as serious as theirs, and that he will be able to resume his position in the League in a year of two. On the other hand, the injury to his arm may be of the permanent kind, and we may never see the once king pitcher in the arena again-at least not as a pitcher.

-From The Sporting News, August 23, 1886

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