Blasts from the Past
Ford Frick, Games, Asterisks, and People (1973), p. 193: "In any elimination of the reserve clause, the prime sufferers will be the players, and indirectly, the fans. Management can protect itself. Players cannot."
Charles Webb Murphy, former president of the Chicago Cubs, "How Most Ball Clubs Lose Money," September 1919 Baseball Magazine: "Baseball needs overhauling and putting on a business basis. The salaries of players are too high in what are denominated as major leagues, and the other overhead expenses make a total that can't be taken in at the gate, save in New York and possibly one or two more cities. A readjustment is needed in operating expenses if the leagues are to go on. . . . It must be shown instead that the owners deserve sympathy and aid for their bravery in going ahead and providing the national game at an annual loss" (p. 280).
Francis Richter, 1920 Reach Guide, p. 247, opposing a players' union: "So, in the last analysis, an organization will serve no purpose other than possibly to protect the players against abuses, and in this matter the game is not worth the candle, as few good players are ever treated arbitrarily or unjustly by the magnates. In this matter, rather, the burden is on the players, who, as a class, are temperamental, hard to handle, and not averse to violating both the expressed and implied terms of their contract. As a matter of fact, few players give their clubs the best that is in them, as they are bound in honor to do, and for every player treated unjustly by a club fifty players give their clubs more or less the worst of it."
Compiled by Doug Pappas. All rights reserved.
Originally published in the Summer 1996 issue of Outside the Lines, the SABR Business of Baseball Committee newsletter.