Sunday, August 19, 2012

We Won The Fight

[From the Pittsburg Dispatch, August 25.]
President Lucas, of the Union Association, arrived in the city yesterday in company with his famous team of ball players from St. Louis.  During the conversation last evening he expressed himself as highly pleased with the turn of affairs in the base ball world, and serenely confident in the ultimate success of the association which he has created and now represents.  In response as to how the battle was progressing, he replied, with a smile and an air of refreshing confidence.  "Why, there is no battle; the strife ended some weeks since.  We won the fight against great odds and are now on top.  Next season the Union Association will be composed of eight clubs, representing an equal number of the best and largest cities in the United States."

"Will Pittsburg be down on the list?"

"Most assuredly, and I have every reason to believe with a better nine than has represented the city for years."

"What will be the attitude of the Union Association towards the older associations?"

"Well, we will force them to recognize the validity of contracts with players at least, by an agreement which will protect the interests of all.  The reserve rule will also become a thing of the past.  In fact, it is as good as overthrown at the present time."

"How about players' salaries?"

"The days of high-priced men are numbered.  With the breaking up of the Northwestern League a great many first-class players were thrown upon the market, and the demand will not be so great as heretofore."

"Will the old associations be as strong next season as heretofore?"

"I can not say positively as to that, but I am satisfied that at least four of the American Association clubs will drop out, while the existence of League teams in Cleveland, Detroit and Buffalo will depend largely upon the amount of money certain private gentlemen in each city are willing to put up.

"Do you expect a stampede of players to the Union ranks this fall?"

"Hardly a stampede, but we will be able to get all the first-class players we need.  There are very few men in the American Association that we want.  Our attention will be directed mostly to the League, and about the only material we want from that source is their batteries."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 27, 1884


I guess I could sit here and, with the gift of hindsight, nitpick this interview apart.  But why bother.  Lucas was basking in the glow of his "refreshing confidence" which I think would have been more accurately described as self-delusion.  I can't really fault him for the Sunny Jim routine because, I guess, it's important for a salesman and a leader to project confidence. 

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