Clipping:A move in the AA to split gate receipts; Von der Ahe threatens to join the League

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Date Wednesday, July 13, 1887

The Western clubs are all going to make a great fight to have the Association adopt the percentage system next year. All the managers think the constitution should be changed to this effect. President Phelps, of the Louisville Club, in a recent interview on this subject said: “The association will have to come to it sooner or later. The percentage system is the only fair method of doing business, and commends itself to all sensible men. If there chances to be a weak club in a base ball organization, then it can manage to live and pay expenses. Under the present $65 guarantee plan, which the Association now observes, a losing club will sooner or later have to disband. Take the tail-enders, for instance. They are poor drawing cards wherever they appear, and unless the gate receipts are divided, such a team is handicapped. Of course some of the clubs must win up at the bottom of the list, and such teams ought to be aided by the more successful ones. The guarantee system is a selfish plan. My opinion is that the clubs should work together for mutual benefit; that is the only way to have harmony among the different members.

Manager Von der Ahe, of the St. Louis Browns, was also approached upon the same topic while in Louisville a few days since.

“What is the reason of your alleged threat to join the League?” was asked.

“I cannot give you a direct answer,” he replied.” It depends on what I get.”

“If the percentage plan is adopted in the Association, you will remain a member of the organization, will you not?”

“Yes, that is what I want. I think, however, that we shall be able to secure the percentage basis in the Association. The Western clubs all approve it, and the Brooklyns and Athletics alone oppose it. I think any one will admit that my demand is just. My club is the great drawing card everywhere. Look what we did in the East. We played sixteen games to 140,000 people, drawing about $40,000 for the Easting clubs. Decoration Day, in Brooklyn, we draw in the two games 30,000 spectators. When we played the Metropolitans on Staten Island we had the biggest crowd ever seen there. We went to Philadelphia, and the very first game was witnessed by 13,000 persons. The four games we played at Baltimore netted the Baltimore Club over $11,000. now, is it not fair that we should get some of this money? The drawing power of the St. Louis Club bring in these receipts. I have the champion club, and I have to pay my players champion prices. It is an expensive nine, for it takes lots of money to support it.” The Sporting Life July 13, 1887

[from a dispatch by Caylor] Depend on it, St. Louis is wanted in the League. Will St. Louis go? Yes, unless one thing is done, namely, unless the Association pledges itself to the percentage plan for 1888. The St. Louis team is not drawing at home but is drawing immensely at every city it visits. Von der Ahe must have the benefit of the per cent. policy or of League teams as fresh cards at home. The former will bring him the most money, and it will keep him in the Association, and that alone will do it. Can such clubs as the Cincinnatis and the Athletics afford to lose the St. Louis Browns for the few hundred dollars that the percentage system might take from them? I think not. Make it satisfactory to St. Louis to stay and the League fever danger is passed. The Sporting Life July 20, 1887

Source The Sporting Life
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Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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