Wednesday, May 18, 2011

He Had A List

Mr. H.V. Lucas, of the Lucas-Wainwright club, and the prime mover in the new Union Association, now creating such a stir in baseball circles, arrived [in Cincinnati] last evening, and held a conference with Mr. Justus Thorner, ex-President of the Cincinnati club, and the leading spirit in the new Union team to be organized here. The gentlemen were closeted at the Gibson House for quite a long time perfecting the arrangements for securing a team of good playing ability to represent this city in the association. Mr. Lucas is on his way home from a trip East, and he is very enthusiastic over the prospects of the Union. He says that there is not the slightest doubt but that Cincinnati will be admitted and that with clubs at St. Louis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, it will be a good enough circuit to open up with. He had a list of the reserved players in the league and association nines who had not yet signed contracts. These were examined carefully, and correspondence will be opened soon by the Cincinnati management to secure several of the most desirable men. The clubs that are now sure, Mr. Lucas assured Mr. Thorner, were all backed by rich capitalists, and there was no doubt in the world of their ability and willingness to play through the entire schedule of games, even if they had to do it to losing business the first year. "It is all a mistake about my paying such enormous salaries," said Mr. Lucas. "I have now eleven men under contract, and I will venture to say that they will not average over $1,900 apiece."

Mr. Lucas will return home to-day and will start east Sunday evening to attend the meeting of the Association at Philadelphia next Tuesday.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, December 15, 1883 [from the Cincinnati Enquirer]

The last quote from Lucas is, obviously, the most interesting thing about this article but what really struck me was that these guys were working off a list of unsigned, reserved players from the NL and the AA to secure players for their clubs. That was obviously one source of talent but it doesn't appear to have been a very effective one.

As I mentioned in the comments last week, the baseball talent pool had to have been larger then the players that were in the NL, the AA and the Northwestern League. There must have been talented players who were not in those leagues and available to the UA clubs. I understand that it would have taken some effort to find those players but it was rather short-sighted on the part of Lucas and the UA not to pursue that avenue of talent. In the end, they got dregs and that had a negative impact on the quality and health of the league.

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