Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Rattling Bargain

I wrote a short post awhile back about the Otto Shomberg/Alex McKinnon trade. This transaction between the Maroons and Pittsburgh was the first trade ever made between two National League teams. Obviously there had been sales, tranfers, releases, and whatnot but this was the first straight-up trade between NL clubs.

While browsing through the December 4, 1886 issue of The Sporting News, I found their report of the trade:

The Maroons have traded McKinnon, teir first baseman, for Shomberg, the left-handed batsman and lightning fielder of the Pittsburg Club. A few weeks ago the Sporting News notified the base ball public that McKinnon would not be found with the maroons next season. We said then: "McKinnon has not given satisfaction to the management. He has a very good record as a batsman, but certain players on the team have complained that he bats solely for his own record and without regard to the runs he man bring in. Besides this they claim that he never hits the ball when a hit is most needed and that he is never willing to sacrifice. They also say he is a poor runner as well as a very poor fielder in his position"

We had hardly made this statement when the Maroons received several offers for that player.

Horace Phillips, manager of the Pittsburgs, came here and offered Shomberg and $400 in cash for McKinnon. This offer was satisfactory and as a result Phillips, who is in Boston, this morning signed McKinnon for Pittsburg, while an agent of the St. Louis Club at the same moment signed Shomberg for St. Louis.

All St. Louisians having the interest of the local team at stake will rejoice over the dicker. Shomberg is a young and magnificent player and last season had a batting record of .295 and standing eighth on the list. With him, Ake, Denny, and Glasscock the Maroons will have the grandest infield in America.

Of course, the Maroons did not have the grandest infield in America and Shomberg never played in St. Louis because, in March of 1887, the Black Diamonds dropped out of the National League and sold their team to Indianapolis.

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