Clipping:A league collapse and the national agreement; dispute between the NL and AA

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Date Wednesday, August 3, 1887

There is quite a large-sized row on hand between the Detroit and Cincinnati clubs over the Allentown batter, Beatin and Kinslow. These players have signed with both clubs, and their contracts have been promulgated by Presidents Young and Wikoff—by the former under date of July 28, the latter on July 27. Detroit, at present, has the best of the controversy in the possession of the men. The facts appear to be as follows:--Both clubs have been dickering with the Allentown Club for this battery for some time past, but the fancy price fixed by the club, and other causes, prevented a consummation. Meantime, the Pennsylvania Association was rapidly going to pieces, and while the Detroit Club still continued negotiations with the Allentown Club, the Cincinnati Club drew off to await the final collapse, with the hope and expectation of getting the players for nothing. When the Association dwindled to two clubs Manager Schmelz went to work at the players without consulting their club. Meantime Detroit had arranged terms with the players and the latter had accepted them, and all that remained was to come to a satisfactory conclusion with their club as to the amount of release money. While this dicker was going on Manager Schmelz worked on the players and by representing that the Association was practically disbanded and that the Allentown Club was no longer under National Agreement protection, and therefore the players were free to sign without danger of punishment, induced them to sign, Wednesday, the 27 th, regular contracts with Cincinnati. He then rejoined the Cincinnati Club at New York. Of course when the Allentown Club officials hear of this they at once accepted Detroit's figures—said to be $1,5000—and by convincing the players that the Cincinnati contracts were illegal, got them to sign with the Detroit Club, whose terms they had first accepted, and on Friday they left Allentown for Detroit. The Cincinnati Club now threatens to blacklist the players of course, and proposes to even go to the courts, if necessary to gain control of the services of these men....

The probability is that the arbitration committee will be called upon to settle the case which will hinge upon the point whether the Pennsylvania Association was disbanded, or still under National Agreement protection, when the Cincinnati signed these players. Cincinnati will maintain that as but two clubs were left and no more championship games were being played the League was practically dead, and protection lapsed. Detroit holds that so long as one club is left in a League it is still under the protection of the National Agreement and subject to all its provisions, and that the protection does not lapse until official notice has been promulgated of final disbandment and withdrawal or lapse of protection. The Sporting Life August 3, 1887

The American Association is decidedly wroth at its treatment in the matter. Says a prominent official, in speaking of the matter:

“About the coolest piece of assumption that ever came under my notice is embodied in the following despatch, presumably inspired by Mr. Young:”

“Washington, D.C., Aug. 10.--The Beatin-Kinslow matter has been decided in favor of Detroit, so far as the League is concerned. President Young declined to take official notice of the black-listing of these two players by the Cincinnati Club on the ground that the records, so he claims, will show that Stearns, of Detroit, opened negotiations with the Allentown management for Beatin's services, and that terms satisfactory to all concerned were agreed upon before Cincinnati appeared upon the field. No money was paid over until the goods were delivered. In the meantime the Cincinnati management came along and secured the signatures of Beatin and Kinslow to play with the latter club. The players immediately, upon receiving a despatch from Detroit claiming their services under a prior agreement, telegraphed to President Young for advice, and at his suggestion they reported to duty in Detroit. He holds that the agreement entered into between Sterns, the Allentown management and Beatin, whereby all parties accepted the terms, is as good as a written contract, and, under the circumstances, the blacklisting of Beatin and Kinslow does not go.”

“And so the matter has been decided so far as the League is concerned” When? Where? Is Mr. Young the League? “And Mr. Young declined to take no official notice of the blacklisting because the records will show that Detroit opened negotiations first.” What records? Who has passed upon them? “And at Mr. Young's suggestion the players reported for duty in Detroit.” And that, too, after Mr. Young previously advised Kinslow that he was free to go where he pleased? “And the blacklisting don't go.” The self-constituted judge hears Detroit's side of the story, makes up his mind that that must be right and decides that the blacklisting of the poor, insignificant, puny American Association don't. go. That settles it. It's all very simple. But somehow the unreasonable American Association can't see it in that nice, rosy light, and refuses to acknowledge Mr. Young as its “boss,” censor and guardian. It really must decline to see in Mr. Young the autocrat of the base ball world, instead of the mere salaried employee of an organization to which the American Association owes no allegiance. It fails to see by what authority Mr. Young presumes to decide upon the legality or illegality of Cincinnati's claim, and the binding force of the American Association's suspension, and by what right he ignores official communications of record, whose promulgation is mandatory. It is also curious to know who made Young the judge of what he shall, or what he shall not, promulgate, as by all the National Agreement rules Mr. Young's duties in the premises are merely clerical, and where a dispute between the two organizations arises the National Agreement alone has jurisdiction. The Sporting Life August 17, 1887

President Wikoff and Chairman Phelps were in a quandary how to act, and asked Mr. Byrne's assistance in the matter. The latter, however, has in the past been so much abused and misrepresented for acts strictly in line with his official duties and for the best interests of the Association, that he was disinclined to take any hand at all in the matter. Since he has been in the West, however, he has been prevailed upon to change his mind, and some lively developments may be now looked for, as the aggressive little man from Brooklyn is a good fighter, knows his business and makes no mistakes. He certainly made none while he was chairman of the Association. He has had a conference with Messrs. Wikoff, Stearns and Schmelz, secured all the information possible about the entire case, and will this week, as secretary of the Arbitration Committee, make a formal request on behalf of the Association to the president of that body, Nick Young, for a special meeting of the committee to decide upon the dispute between the Cincinnati and Detroit clubs, and will also request suspension of the players until the question at issue is decided according to the methods provided by the National Agreement. Mr. Byrne says he will insist upon a strict compliance with the letter of the law, neither more not less. The Sporting Life August 24, 1887

Source Sporting Life
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Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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