Clipping:Paying off a wildcat bleacher and a spite fence

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Date Tuesday, April 24, 1888

John Deppert has annoyed the [Detroit Club] base-ball management much by erecting and maintaining a wildcat stand on his grounds, overlooking Recreation Park, to which a large part of the public was admitted for 10 cents, thereby diminishing the park gate receipts. The matter was taken into court by the club and to the Supreme Court by Deppert. President Smith thought the easiest way was to buy Deppert off, and today a financial agreement passed between him and the wildcat-stand man which will result in the stand being taken down. The fence which now incloses a portion of the grounds will also now be taken down. It was put up to obstruct the view of Deppert's customers. Chicago Tribune April 24, 1888

a charge of bad faith in the $2,000 limit discussion

[a note from Frank Brunell] It can be announced that a war is brewing between the Brotherhood of Ball Players and the National League. The cause for action is the existence of the $2,000 limit clause. Until a few weeks ago, on assurances from the League that its members tried to secure its repeal, but had been blocked by the American Association members of the Board, the Brotherhood believed that the League had acted in good faith. It now suspects that the League did not honestly try to secure the repeal of the obnoxious clause, and it suspects aright. Consequently there is a collection of facts going on, and a row will follow the discovery that the diplomacy of the League was so deftly used to nullify the concessions to the Brotherhood. The Sporting Life April 25, 1888

[from an article by Frank Brunell] At the Cincinnati meeting, and in the Grand Hotel, Col. John I Rogers, of Philadelphia, chairman of the Board of Arbitration, favored the retention of the $2,000 limit clause and argued in favor of its retention on the ground that it would still be of assistance in keeping salaries down. John B. Day, of New York, favored the abolition of the clause because it was out of joint with the Brotherhood contract, and the custom of exceeding the amount that was said to exist. Mr. Rogers held his ground as tenaciously and eloquently as he can when he has an interest at stake, and President Young was, as usual, placing himself on the right side of the fence. Zach Phelps, of Louisville, was with Mr. Rogers and they made the fight together, and were able to induce the others not to eliminate the clause. These are the facts as I believe. They do not prove that the Association wanted to clean the $2,000 clause off the books. It is not necessary to prove that. The Association has never professed a fatherly love for the Brotherhood. Neither has it “recognized” or dealt with it. But this does certainly prove that the League committee did not deal with the Brotherhood in the fullness of faith... The Sporting Life May 2, 1888

[Rogers' denial, in which he claims there was no debate.] ...Permit me to add that, shortly after my return to Philadelphia, the president of the League wrote for my opinion as to his right to promulgate a contract specifying a salary in excess of $2,000.

I replied that he could not do so, but that each League club, out of respect to the eighteenth clause of the new (Brotherhood) contract, should recognize its perpetuating provision by making “side contracts” with certain players, whose services were worth more than $2,000, for an additional bonus or gratuity, with a clause giving the player an option of renewing this extra bonus agreement each year, or on the club's refusal, having the right to demand his release from reservation.

And this, while not a universal rule, has been followed by all, or nearly all, of the League clubs in making contracts with players whose ability entitle them to compensation in excess of $2,000. While not as satisfactory as the absolute repeal of the limit clause, and the consequent avoidance of a necessity for side contracts, it is the best that can at present be accomplished.

There is no desire on the part of the League to take advantage of the existing limit rule in its dealings with the players, and I think the Brotherhood are entirely satisfied of this fact. The attempt of Mr. Brunell, therefore, to stir up a war by affecting an inside knowledge of the proceedings of the Board of Arbitration meeting different from what was given out to the public is most futile and slanderous. The Sporting Life May 9, 1888

Source Chicago Tribune
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Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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