Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Lucas-Wainwright-Busch Club

[From the Cincinnati Enquirer, December 2.]

...Henry V. Lucas, the moving spirit in the well-known Lucas-Wainwright Club, of St. Louis, and A.H. Henderson, prominently connected with the clubs at Chicago and Baltimore included in the new [Union Association,] spent the most of yesterday in the Queen City...They left early last evening, but before their departure were seen by an Enquirer reporter, who had received a "quiet tip" that they were in the city...

"Is the outlook good for your association?" was the first question propounded by the scribe.

"It is far better than we expected," was Mr. Lucas' reply. "Every day it is becoming more flattering."

"More than that," broke in Mr. Henderson, "every club that has joined forces with us has a strong financial backing, and numbers among its stockholders some of the most influential citizens in the places they represent. This enterprise is of no mushroom growth," he continued, "but has been organized carefully, and has come to stay."

"You have ignored the reserve rule held so sacred by the three older organizations. Are you not afraid you will get yourself into trouble?" suggested the reporter.

"That," said Mr. Lucas, "is the most arbitrary and unjust rule ever suggested, and ought to be broken. I can not see how a body of men has the right to dictate what another man shall do. It is all right when a player signs a contract. Then I have nothing to say but as long as the reserve clause is the only thing hanging over him it will not deter me from hiring a player if I want him. The players seem to appreciate this fact, and if I dared show you all the letters I have received, you would be surprised to see the names of some League players who want to go with me."

"What cities will be represented in the Union Association?"

"Well," said Mr. Lucas, "St. Louis, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington will be sure. Boston and Hartford probably, with a possibility of a club in [Cincinnati.] This talk about the men at the back of the club being irresponsible is all bosh. Mr. Wainwright is worth over $2,000,000 and Mr. Adolph Busch, of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company, who is also associated with us, is one of the wealthiest men in the West. When I started out to sign players the latter said: 'Don't stop until you have secured the strongest nine that ever represented St. Louis, no matter what it costs.' I pride myself that I have already secured that, and I am not through by any means..."

"What play will you adopt as to the division of receipts?"

"The same as now used by the National League. This will give clubs in the smaller cities something to depend on beside their home patronage."

"Who are your officers?"

"We have not elected any yet, but at the annual meeting, which takes place at the Bingham House, in Philadelphia, on the 18th of this month, we will organize."

"Have all the clubs grounds?"

"Yes, and in nearly every instance they are more centrally and desirably located than the parks used by the clubs in the older associations."

"Who will compose your nine, Mr. Lucas?"

"So far I have secured Bill Taylor, Lou Dickerson and Mike Mansell, of the Alleghenies; Mullane, of Von der Ahe's team; Tom Brennan and Woulffe, of New Orleans; Dunlap, of the Clevelands; Jack Gleason, of the Louisvilles; George Schaeffer, of the Buffalos; Dave Rowe, of the Baltimores, and Gallagher, an amateur, of St. Louis. I am now negotiating with a prominent league catcher, and I think I will get him."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, December 3, 1883

This is the first real mention of Lucas' partners that I've seen in the papers. There was talk of the Lucas-Wainwright club (as you see at the beginning of this article) but I hadn't come across anything specific prior to this. Obviously, Lucas, Wainwright and Busch had reached some kind of partnership or investment agreement prior to this and that most likely took place sometime in early November. I really should go back and see if I can find anything about when, specifically, Wainwright and Busch joined up with Lucas.

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