Sunday, March 1, 2009

Dickey Pearce Sues The Brown Stockings

Richard J. Pearce, one of the oldest professional base ballists in the United States, who for the last twenty years has followed the profession for a living, has had some trouble with the "St. Louis Base Ball Association." Yesterday he filed a suit against that corporation, stating that on the 15th of September, 1875, he obligated himself by written contract to play base ball for defendants from the first of November, 1875, to the first of November, 1876, the stipulations of the contract being that he should receive $1,500 for his services, $100 of which was to be paid in advance. A supplemental contract was also made at the same time, by which it was covenanted that in the event of plaintiff being called upon to act as captain of the club, he should receive an additional compensation of $300. That subsequently the plaintiff did act as captain of the club during the month of May, 1876. The petitioner states that the Association is indebted to him in the sum of $350, $50 of which sum is due on the original contract, and $300 due on the supplemental contract.

The plaintiff is better known as Dick Pearce, the celebrated short-stop, and his pitching into the Association will attract the attention of all who go for home runs. He may catch a hot one when the answer is filled, and may be put out with a foul.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, January 21, 1877

1 comment:

Mike S said...

Fans constantly complain about players salaries - and in most cases the complaints are justified.

But something like this reminds me that the situation has been there since players first played for money. I mean change the figures and maybe 'modernize' the writing just a bit and you end up with something you cold read in todays paper.

I think it was in Spaulding's "National Game" (forgive me, i can't remember the exact name of the book) where he quotes from a letter to the editor written by a fan angry because a player on his team was holding out for more money.

Again change the figures and punch up the writing just a bit and it could have been written about today's players.

(The ironic thing, at least for me, is that the letter apparently appeared in a local newspaper.)