Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Concerning a dispatch from Indianapolis to the effect that Henry V. Lucas, the millionaire baseball enthusiast, had purchased the Cleveland Club, and that an agreement had been reached between the officers of the National League and himself by which the St. Louis and Cincinnati Unions were to be admitted into the league, President Spalding said: "I have had no notification that such a transaction had taken place. Mr. Lucas may have purchased the franchise of the Cleveland Club, but for him to say-if he is correctly reported-that McCormick, Glasscock, and Briordy would be reinstated is putting it rather strong. Those men jumped their contracts; it was a deliberate stab in the dark to the Cleveland Club and the Chicago Club will never vote to reinstate them or any other contract jumpers. With Dunlap and Shaefer the case is somewhat different. They were jumpers of the reserve rule and, while the circumstances are somewhat mitigated, they should be punished."-The New York Times, January 7, 1885
Later dispatches confirm the story of the withdrawal of the Cleveland Club from the league and of the purchase of its franchise by Lucas. That the players who signed for next year are to be consolidated with the St. Louis Union is denied and it is positively said that seven have signed new contracts to play in Brooklyn.
An interesting suit is to be tried this week in the Supreme Court in (Buffalo). It is an action begun by the Cleveland Baseball Association against Henry V. Lucas, manager of the St. Louis League Club. Charles B. Wheeler, of (Buffalo), is the attorney for the Cleveland parties. The complainants allege that they agreed to dispose of the franchise of the Cleveland Club to Lucas for $2,500 and Lucas paid them $500 down to bind the agreement, stipulating to pay $2,000 additional upon the admission of the St. Louisans to the League. Thereafter the Missouri club was taken into the fold and the Cleveland managers repeatedly asked Lucas to send on his check for the sum of $2,000. Instead Lucas surprised them by telling them "to play ball with themselves," and finally ignored their demands and rights entirely. This angered the Clevelanders and they mean to spend more than $2,000 if necessary to compel the wary baseball manager to keep his agreement. Quite a number of well known professionals will be called as witnesses.-The New York Times, February 16, 1886
I'm not sure what amuses me more here: the idea of Lucas stiffing the Clevelanders after he got what he wanted or the bloviating of Spaulding on the blacklisted players. It's a tough call. In the end, though, I think my sense of irony is much more developed than my tolerance for hypocrisy.