Friday, March 6, 2009

Bad Timing

About thirty gentlemen, interested in base ball matters-most of them shareholders in the St. Louis Base Ball Club-met yesterday evening in parlor No. 22 of the Lindell Hotel. The chair was taken by Mr. J.B.C. Lucas, President of the club, who, after calling the meeting to order, stated that, though the fact was generally well known, he would remind those present that for the past years base ball ventures in St. Louis had not proved financially successful. This season the club found itself considerably in arrears, and the meeting had been called in order to start an effort to raise the necessary amount with which the salaries of players might be paid. Individual Directors had, at their own expense, carried the club through the season, and they wanted now to see if they could not get assistance from shareholders and others. Out of $20,000 of stock only $17,000 had been subscribed, and on this some stockholders had not fully paid up.

After a brief discussion of the situation and the best means of improving it, a motion by Mr. Charles A. Fowle was carried, calling upon the Chair to appoint a committee of six gentlemen to collect subscriptions from stockholders and others to make up the deficiency.

The Chair appointed as such committee Messrs. W.C. Little, P.C. Butler, W.A. Stickney, W.C. Steigers, Aug. Solari and E.S. Brooks.

Subscription lists were opened at the meeting, when the sum of $400 was immediately subscribed.

In answer to a query, the Chair stated that upon the raising of the amount necessary to pay the deficiency, the question of whether there would be a St. Louis nine next year or no virtually depended. At the same time he did not like to say that, if the amount was raised, there would be a club, as this season closed his connection with the club. He believed that $2,500 had already been subscribed by parties towards next year's team.

After a discusion on general base ball topics, the meeting adjourned.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 1, 1877

This attempt to raise funds took place the day before William Spink's long piece about gambling in baseball, the St. Louis connection, and the effect that it would have on the fate of professional baseball appeared in the Globe. The piece must have had a devestating effect on the Brown Stockings' attempt to salvage their financial situation and on the moral of St. Louis baseball supporters. Lucas was stepping aside as club president, the Globe was withdrawing its support for professional baseball, numerous Brown Stocking players were being accused of throwing games, other clubs and players were being accused of crookedness, and the fate of the League itself was in doubt. There could not have been a worse time to go to the public and ask them to financially support the Brown Stockings.

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