Clipping:The Sporting Life's Millennium Plan; criticism of it

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Date Sunday, September 11, 1887

The idea of equalizing the playing strength of the clubs of the League and Association is one which has bothered the leaders of the game for years. The present idea is not original. It may be somewhat more elaborated, but the question of “pooling” players was discussed in the early days of the League and very frequently since. It is right brilliant idea for the weaker clubs and it is not strange that they all seem to favor it. It seems absurd to ask club owners who have spent years of energy and shrewdness, and who have expended thousands of dollars in capital in building up their teams, to turn back to where they started from and divide up their stock in trade among men who have had the same opportunities, but have neglected to improve them. It is a case of “Please help the poor!” “Please help the blind!” said George Munson, the secretary of the St. Louis Club, and he is more than right. ...

There will be a determined opposition to any plan that seeks to rob one club for the benefit of others. There are many other objections in addition to those already mentioned which can be urged against it. It would have the effect of doing away with the training of young players. Under the system proposed how many clubs would take the risk of spending thousands of dollars to purchase new men, and pay their salaries for the season, and then, just as they were becoming of some use, to have them taken away? Not many. There would be no incentive to secure new men. Club managers who had been unlucky in the pool drawing would hope for better luck next time. Some foolish, inexperienced manager might take the risk of training two or three youngster, but when they were taken from him at the close of one season he would hardly care to repeat the experiment in another season. While at present the new “pooling” plan seems to have some adherents, its opponents are in the majority and they will grow before the annual meeting of the Association in December. The Philadelphia Times September 11, 1887

The special meeting of the American Association last Monday may, in future times, be referred to as the most important convention in the history of base ball, inasmuch as by it was taken the first step towards a complete revolution of base ball government, methods and measures. ...the consideration of The Sporting Life's “millenium” plan and the appointment of Messrs. Byrne, Phelps and Von der Ahe as a committee to assist the editor of this paper to formulate the new plan and put it in proper shape for adoption by the Association at the annual meeting in December. …

This committee will, upon the close of the playing season, get the plan so far as it can be applied to the Association individually, i.e., the equalization of playing strength and the regulation and fixity of salaries, into shape for adoption. This equalization can be most easily, equitably and successfully achieved by a

Pooling of players and distribution by lot after classification according to a method which reduces the element of luck to a minimum, and puts every team upon as nearly euqal footing as human ingenuity can plan them.

But this is only a part of the general scheme and can be accomplished by the American Association within itself under the present National Agreement and without the co-operation of the National League. The assistance of the senior organization, however, will be needed if The Sporting Life plan is to be carried out to its full scope and intent, and a conference between the Association committee and the League officials would pave the way for the complete reorganization of the National game contemplated in the plan, an outline of which is hereby given:

1—A system of equalization of playing strength which, while giving the public better ball, will destroy the present unhealthy and demoralizing competition for players.

2—A system of graded salaries and a new method of compensation which, while fair for the players, will enable all Leagues to live.

3—A system for all Leagues for self-sustaining reserve corps for a specific purpose.

4—A system of draft or requisition of rising players by successive stages from minor to major leagues, thus keeping up a regular flow of new blood at small expense.

5—A system of more equitable contracts between players and employers, and for the better regulation and settlement of all differences between player and manager or club and League. The Sporting Life September 14, 1887

Source Philadelphia Times
Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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