Saturday, April 9, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: An Interview With Henry Lucas, Part One

While in Pittsburg last Thursday Mr. Lucas was interviewed by a reporter of the Dispatch of that city, to whom he imparted the following information relative to his plans. During the conversation he said: "I have now signed four players for next season, Mullane, of the St. Louis; Jack Gleason, of the Louisville, and Taylor and Dickerson. I have also wired Mike Mansell, who is at present out of the city, asking him for terms, and if his figures are satisfactory I will also sign him before I leave town."

Concerning the rumored signing by him of Manning, Gross, Purcell and McClellan, of the Philadelphia League team, Mr. Lucas said: "This is all a mistake. The truth of the matter is this: I received a telegram from these men saying they would sign for $2,400 each and $600 advance money. I simply paid no attention to the offer, as I considered it more money than they were worth, and since then I have heard nothing further from any of them. I never made them any offer, but may yet sign one or more of them in case we can agree upon a fair salary. When I left home I did so with the intention of signing a team which will be able to win three of five games from Von der Ahe's club, and I think I shall succeed. We have got plenty of money and expect to pay good prices to the right men. St. Louis is a good base ball town, and large enough to support two first-class nines.

"Do you expect to sign Deasley, of the St. Louis?" asked the reporter.

"Well, I can't say positively as to that. I have given him until the 10th of the month in which to make up his mind positively. It will not surprise me very much however if he concludes to join my team. He told me positively a short time since that he would not play with Von der Ahe's team next season, and I rather think he meant it."

"How did Von der Ahe like the idea of Mullane leaving him?"

"Oh, he threatened to black-list him and all that, but I guess he will change his mind and let him go. When Mullane came to see me the first matter he inquired about was the protection we would afford him. I replied that we would pay him every dollar of the salary agreed upon and that in case Von der Ahe under took to black-list him we would give him $250 for the suit and make a test case for damages. This was the only promise made him. I have been reliably informed by

Competent Legal Authority

that we could recover damages. At all events, we will try it in case Mullane is black-listed. He had not signed a contract with the St. Louis team, but was held by the reserve rule. Of course in signing with us he violated that rule, which, by the way, is one of the most outrageously unfair laws ever adopted by any combination. The new League certainly has no ambition to make a fight on the old associations, but we positively refuse to recognize that reserve rule under any circumstances. The idea of any association getting control of the best players in the country and then holding them at its mercy is simply ridiculous. Take the case of the Athletic Club. It is stated on good authority that the managers of that association cleared $70,000 during the past season. Under that reserve rule he can hold eleven men of the team at $1,001 if he sees fit, and, if they don't care to accept the terms, he can stop them from playing ball in any of the old associations.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 13, 1883

1 comment:

Nathan J. Forck, Attorney at Law said...

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