Winter 1998: Quotes from the Hall of Fame Files

5/12/16 letter from Sam Lichtenhein (President, Montreal NL) to Garry Herrmann:

"...if the Major leagues had any sense they would adopt a salary limit, just the same as they adopt the number of players, and the Minor leagues would follow suit, according to their classification, and all your clubs in your league are paying still 30% to 40% too much in salaries, and the sooner you wake up and realise it the stronger your leagues will be.

"It may be alright that two or three clubs in each league may make money, but this is not a big enough percentage to continue the game, and more players have been ruined by being overpaid than being underpaid, and in my judgement the average salary for any Major league player should not be over $400.00 per month...

"No star in the game is worth over $1000.00 per month, no matter who he is, and you will soon come to my opinion that no Major league club with 25 players should have a salary limit of over $12,000.00 per month. You as well as I know of several Major league clubs who have been in bad shape for some time, and who are not in any too good shape now, and this should not be where they have the monopoly they have, and a monopoly of this kind, where they have the exclusive rights, should mean that every club should make a profit, according to where they finish in the race."

1/20/56 comments by C. Rowland [one-time White Sox manager and PCL president Clarence "Pants" Rowland], responding to player demands for higher minimum salary and a share of TV money:

"The request of the Players to increase the yearly contract from $6000 to $7200. This should be militantly refused, because it would set a base rate for the life of the new contract and would only be the stepping stone to any further increase the Players would demand upon the termination of this contract.

"The request for a further increase from the funds derived from Radio and T.V. This request should also be denied, first because it is the business of management to negotiate all business contracts with others outside of baseball and also because the Management cannot afford any increases anywhere and still stay in business; on the other hand they may have to request a cut in salaries now being paid to players."

"The Management requests that no salary (exclusive of managers) exceeding $25,000, be paid to any player for any one playing season, and that all contracts, which do not extend beyond the year 1955, be reduced to that figure. All other contracts which have a date carrying into further years and which call for a greater sum than stated above will be reduced 25% to conform to understandings arrived at in other negotiations." [At this time Ted Williams was earning $100,000, Stan Musial $80,000, and dozens of others more than the proposed $25,000 ceiling. Only a man whose ideas for player compensation were forged by watching Charles Comiskey handle the Black Sox could have proposed arbitrary, unilateral pay cuts in existing contracts.]

Compiled by Doug Pappas. All rights reserved.
Originally published in the Winter 1998 issue of Outside the Lines, the SABR Business of Baseball Committee newsletter.

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