Friday, May 27, 2011

Sometimes You Just Throw Your Hands Up (or Difficulties in Historical Methodology, Part Two)

T.P. Sullivan, manager of the Lucas Union Base Ball Club of St. Louis, to-day, engaged Joe Quinn, formerly of the Dubuques, as a member of the reserve nine of the above club. Mr. Quinn is a remarkably active and ambitious player, and will undoubtedly fill his position with credit.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, December 30, 1883


This not only appeared in the same edition of the Globe in which it was reported that Sullivan denied that he had agreed to manage the Maroons but it actually appears in the paragraph directly above the one which reported the denial.

So in the same edition of the Globe, on the same page and in consecutive paragraphs, you have Sullivan signing players for the club and identified as the manager and then you have Sullivan stating that he was not the manager of the club.

Then again, if we parse his words, maybe Sullivan was only denying that he had signed a contract. I really don't know. Sullivan was a bit of a slippery fish and he had a way of getting his view of things into the papers. If I had to guess what was really going on here, I'd say that Sullivan still had some sort of contractual agreement with the Richmond club that had not been resolved but he had already decided, by the end of October, to manage the Maroons. He was acting in that capacity throughout the fall of 1883 but, because he had not been officially released from his committment to Richmond, had to deny that he was doing so.

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