Clipping:Ward and Spalding meet

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Date Saturday, December 20, 1890

[reporting an informal meeting between Ward and Spalding 12/13] Spalding-- “Can you offer any suggestion as to the best way to clear up things?”

Ward-- “I should say that settling up the business end of the muddle would be the most important just now. And in doing that you must be very careful how you handle the public. While apparently it is disinterested you will find they are watching with a jealous eye to see that all the arrangements are fair and above board. The game of base ball would amount to very little when stripped of its sentimental features. As a commercial business the game would be a big failure. The patrons of the Players' League must be satisfied or you will have to depend on a new generation for the support of the game. You may replace myself or any of the players at short notice, but you can't replace the patrons of the game so quickly.”

Spalding-- “What do you mean by doing away with objectionable features?”

Ward-- “First of all, you must do away with the sales system or the traffic in players. The 'reserve' rule was a good thing in its original form, when it held a team intact and prevented the wealthy clubs from prowling around among the weaker ones, but when it was used for the purpose of selling players and forcing them around at command, then it became an abuse that was against the best interest of the game.”

Spalding-- “Well, the sale system has been the salvation of the minor leagues. I remember when Des Moines was about $14,000 in the hole a few years ago, and how they held on to their club, paying up salaries, and finally got out whole by7 selling the Chicago Club Hutchinson for $2500 and other clubs three or four players.”

Mr. Spalding then went into the sale of Kelly and Clarkson to the Boston Club. The former was anxious to leave Chicago, and Clarkson went as a result of a big increase in salary by the Boston Club.

Ward-- “While it may have helped the minor leagues to carry on base ball by paying more money for talent than they could afford, I think the money paid out by the major leagues indirectly came out of the players in the major leagues, as their salaries were regulated according to the business done.”

After the meeting the mutual friend [who set it up] would not divulge the private talk between Messrs. Spalding and Ward, but it has been hinted that in case the American Association insists upon placing a club in Chicago Mr. Spalding would like to see Mr. Ward at its head, and there is a possibility that he may have asked Mr. Ward to interest himself in securing capital for the enterprise. It is certain, however, that no definite plans for the short stop's future in base ball were arranged at this meeting.

Source Sporting Life
Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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