Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lucas Returns From The East, Part Two

"The men I have signed are Mullane, Jack Gleason, Dunlap, Dickerson, Taylor, Mike Mansell, Dave Rowe, Shaffer, Brennan and Wollfe, and, although President Mills, of the League, says I am doing more to injure honest ball playing than anybody else, the club that I will put in the field will cost less than two-thirds of the clubs in the League and American Association. The only regret that I have to express over my action is that I did not start a week earlier. If I had I would have had my pick of the best ball players in the country. President Mills may think his League is doing great work in the interest of base ball, but he will sooner or later learn that the ball players think differently. It is only a question of time until the players revolt against the reserve rule, which they despise, and will no more submit to than to have

Rings Put In Their Noses

and be led by them. The only question players ask when approached for terms is, 'What kind of backing has your club?' Dunlap, when he signed with me, said he did not care anything for the reserve rule, and intended to treat it as an imposition, and his remarks convey a good idea of how the entire profession feels about it. The public, too, sympathize with the players and with every movement to organize associations that are hostile to the reserve rule. You would be astonished to hear the encouragement that I have received, and that I know is being extended to everybody interested in Union Association Clubs. The association is booming, and the whole country is enthusiastic over it. Its clubs have plenty of capital to back them, and they have come to stay. The organization will be perfected on December 18, when a meeting for that purpose will be held at the Bingham House, Philadelphia"

"How will you play the men you have signed?"

"Mullane will pitch, Taylor play first, Dunlap second, Jack Gleason third, Mansell left, Dickerson center and Shaffer right. I may put Dave Rowe at short, and what will be done with Brennan and Wollfe will have to be determined when the season begins. They are both strangers to me. There are a couple more men that I am figuring on, but I won't say anything about them at present."

"When will you begin work on the grounds?"

"Early next week. It is quite likely that they will be provided with a cinder track, for pedestrianism and bicycling, as well as a baseball diamond, and will be adapted for all legitimate athletic sports. I have been urged to put in a cinder track by persons interested in athletics, but have not yet fully decided whether I will or not. If I am given sufficient encouragement I will put it in. I shall be pleased to meet and consult with gentlemen who think they can give me any valuable advice on the subject."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 25, 1883

So much good stuff here.

I find Lucas to be rather sincere when he talks about the reserve clause, the possibility of a players' revolt and the plight and rights of the players in general. I understand that, if Lucas was serious about creating a new major league, he had no choice but to ignore the reserve clause. However, I'm finding it rather easy to take him at his word. I honestly believe that Lucas cared about the players and the game and wanted to create something that would help both. Did he want to make some money? Sure he did. But I also believe that Lucas saw the reserve clause as an injustice perpetrated against the players.

We also have here a nice little list of ballplayers that Lucas had signed by November 24, 1883. This isn't rumor or speculation but, rather, a list of players that Lucas says he signed to contracts. Not all of these players ended up playing for the Maroons in 1884 but that's something we can get into later.

Also, you may have noticed that Lucas mentions that he signed The Second Baseman. And I think that's how I'm going to refer to Dunlap from now on. The Second Baseman, in caps. I'm going to get into Dunlap's signing next, after I take a few days to talk about cricket in St. Louis in the 1850s and early ball-playing in eastern Missouri in the first half of the 19th century.

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