Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: The First Players To Break The Rule

Tony Mullane, of the St. Louis Base-ball Club, and Jack Gleason, of the Louisville Eclipse, have broken the reserve rule, left their respective clubs, and signed with the new St. Louis organization, which is to form a part of the new Union Association. They are the first players to break the rule. Mullane was offered $1,950 for next season's play in the St. Louis Club, but refused that offer to go with the new St. Louis Club at a salary of $2,500, of which $600 is paid him in advance. The new organization offers Deasley, of the St. Louis Club, $3,000 for next season's work. He says he will accept the offer unless paid $2,500 by the older organization, which has placed him on the reserve list. The new St. Louis Club will to-morrow sign with Dickerson and Taylor, late of the Alleghenys. Gleason says the reason he broke the reserve rule with Louisville is that the Directors of that club wanted to reserve him at a salary of $1,000 for the season.
-New York Times, November 8, 1883

Neither Tony Mullane nor Pat Deasley played for the 1884 Maroons for reasons that I'm sure will become clear over the course of this exercise. Jack Gleason, Buttercup Dickerson and Billy Taylor, however, did play for the club.

Rumors about which players would join the Maroons were flying around fast and furious in October and November. Ted Sullivan was organizing a club for a Southern tour and I'm sure that all the players he was approaching about joining that enterprise were all rumored to be joining the Maroons. And Sullivan probably was trying to talk all of them into joining the new club. The club he put together had Buck Ewing, Jumbo McGinnis, Charlie Comiskey, Brother Bill Gleason, Tony Mullane, Jack Gleason, Old Hoss Radbourne, Joe Quest and Cliff Carroll. I don't know what it would have cost Lucas to sign all of those guys but it would have been a darn good team. Of course, the team he did put together finished 94-19 so he didn't really need all them.

But just imagine Radbourne pitching in the UA in 1884. If there's one thing I want you to take away from this post, that's it-the image of Charlie Radbourne pitching in the UA in 1884.

1 comment:

Cliff Blau said...

Well, Radbourn didn't actually pitch any better for Providence than Sweeney did, and we know how Sweeney did with the SL Unions. So that gives an idea how Radbourn would have done with them. And they could hardly have done much better than they actually did. Sure would have helped the Mets, though.