Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mullane The Prophet

To a reporter of the Cleveland Herald Tony Mullane said: "I do not believe that the Union Association can live out the season, and I was fearful of being black-listed." If Mullane can pitch no better than he can prophesy, Toledo has made a bad selection.-[American Sports.]
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, March 2, 1884

This is actually a rather interesting quote from Mullane. At first, I just dismissed it as rationalization and was really just posting it for the snarky bit at the end. The more I thought about it, however, the more I began to think that maybe Mullane was being honest and that his position made some sense. Why would Mullane, a good, young, established pitcher with a bright future ahead of him, take a chance on the UA if he could get similar money in the NL or AA. While the AA was still a fairly young enterprise, it had to look like a better bet than the UA. Putting aside the questions about jumping leagues and the fact that he had signed a contract, Mullane was acting rather shrewdly. He used the threat of jumping to the UA to get the money that he wanted while, in the end, not risking his career by actually playing in the UA. It was the smart play.

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