Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Didn't Earn It But I Get It

John Clapp

Shaffer told a Cleveland gentleman last week that he received $2,300 a year in St. Louis.  "I didn't earn it," said the Orator, "but I get it, and everything goes."  Dunlap told the same party that he held spite against Cleveland since John Clapp played here, for an alleged slight, and that he was playing Appleton for his release.
-Cleveland Herald, April 8, 1884

That's a great line by Shaffer but I think the more interesting thing is the information about the root of Dunlap's unhappiness in Cleveland.  I always assumed, this being Dunlap, that the problem was money and Dunlap was unhappy about his salary.  A lot of the evidence does point that way.  But this being Dunlap, nothing is ever that simple.

Clapp spent one season with Cleveland, in 1881, which was Dunlap's second year with the club.  Dunlap had a great season that year.  He was easily the best player on the club and was the best second baseman in the league.  But Cleveland had a disappointing year.  After finishing third in 1880, they finished seventh in 1881, with a record of 36-48.  Jim McCormick had been the captain of the club the previous two seasons but, for some reason, it looks like he was replaced by our old friend Mike McGeary to begin the 1881 season.  McGeary was quickly replaced by John Clapp, his former teammate on the 1876 and 1877 Brown Stockings.

So, if this source is to be believed, Dunlap's unhappiness in Cleveland dates back to 1881, when he had some kind of problem with his manager, John Clapp.  This being Dunlap, it looks like he carried that grudge, whatever it might have been, for several years.  While money was a factor in Dunlap's decision to leave Cleveland, it also appears that he was unhappy with Cleveland management in some way that had nothing to do with how much he was paid.  Dunlap said several times during the 1883/1884 off-season that he was unhappy with the way he was treated by Cleveland management and I always translated that as him wanting more money.  But it looks like he was being sincere in his statements and whatever happened between him and Clapp had a lasting impact on Dunlap's opinion of Cleveland management.    

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