Thursday, June 30, 2011

All There Is In The Matter

To the Editor of the Globe-Democrat.
St. Louis, February 3, 1884.-Dear Sir: In your issue of to-day there is an intimation that Mr. Von der Ahe, President of the St. Louis Club, had been concerned in a "pool," whose object was to buy Mullane's services from the Lucas club. Now, without further argument in the matter, I wish to designate this as purely and entirely false, and its object can only be to injure Mr. Von der Ahe and his club in the good graces of the St. Louis public. Now, I desire to state all there is in the matter, so far as the St. Louis Club is concerned, and what connection it has had with the business, and I will leave nothing unsaid, so the public can draw its own inference.

The St. Louis club has known for weeks that Mullane would be glad to return to its service. Indeed, Mr. Von der Ahe was approached by friends of Mullane with intimations that all that was necessary was his consent and Tony would jump the Lucas contract in a moment. Further than this friends of Mr. Von der Ahe, knowing of the matter, have blamed him severely for not accepting the offer. He has consistently refused to treat with Mullane or his friends, as he declares he had made Mullane a bona fide offer, which he had seen fit to refuse after promising to accept it, and that he would have no further intercourse with him. On Wednesday last Mullane sent the following dispatch: "Have signed agreement to play in Toledo. Will you release me? Please send release at once." To which Mr. Von der Ahe replied: "St. Louis Club releases you from reservation." This ended the correspondence. The entire cost to the St. Louis Club of Mullane's purchase by the Toledo, if it can be called a purchase, was the cost of that telegram.

As to the intimation that there is any pool for the purchase of any Union Association players, I simply desire to say the St. Louis Club has no knowledge of it whatever.

Hoping you will publish this in justice to the St. Louis Club, which is doing all it can to furnish St. Louis base ball lovers with first-class sport during the season, I am very respectfully,

J.A. Williams
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, February 4, 1884


David Ball said...

"Baseball: The Early Years," by Harold Seymour, page 155, has the following description of a letter written to Von der Ahe by A.G. Mills, president of the National League and I believe chair of the National Agreement's Board of Arbitration:

"The first problem was how to keep other Association owners from bidding for Mullane. Mills showed them how to do it. He suggested to the Browns, who had evidently asked his advice, that they could arrange for the owners to sign a paper pledging themselves not ot bid for Mullane."

The real reason Mullane could not go back to the Browns was probably that the fact that Lucas was expected to, and indeed did, bring legal action that prevented him from pitching in St. Louis. Von der Ahe did not want him pitching for an in-town rival and preferred a team like Toledo that would not be a rival contender for the AA championship, with or without Mullane.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

I completely agree that the Browns were involved in back room maneuvering with regards to Mullane. Just wanted to present the club's public response to all the charges against them (and the other clubs and the League and the AA).

Usually, when someone specifically says that they have no knowledge of something, they're not telling the whole truth. I guess it's possible that Williams really had no knowledge of what was going on and VdA was handling everything but I assume he knew and was just spinning things for public consumption. It would have been a black eye for the Browns if the truth about their dealings with Mullane came out. The guy was popular and they didn't want to be held responsible for arranging his exit from StL.

Williams' letter to the Globe was really nothing but PR.