"It takes a good deal of money to run a base ball club," said Christ Von der Ahe the other day. "One thing you must do, and that is take care of your players through the winter. All of them want advance money and must have it." I was seated in his office at the time, and as he spoke a young player entered. "Are you ready to sign?" Christ asked him. "For how much?" he replied. "Fifteen hundred dollars," was the answer. Here was more money than the young man had ever received in his life for seven months' work, and yet it did not suit him. "Make it $1,550," he said, "and give me $500 advance." "Done," said Chris, and the bargain was complete. "All of them want about $500 in advance and generally get it. It takes about that amount to carry them through the winter."-[St. Louis Critic.]
-Cleveland Herald, February 6, 1884
It's always nice to find an article that portrays Von der Ahe as a competent baseball man and this one does that. It shows him to have been an effective, efficient and thoughtful manager. Von der Ahe not only understood that his players would want advance money but specifically why they wanted it. In tone, it's miles away from how Von der Ahe would be portrayed in the press in the 1890s.
I also thought it was kind of funny that the player trying to squeeze an extra fifty bucks out of Von der Ahe. Not exactly a tough negotiator.