From the archive: A call for higher salaries– in 1903

Found on Newspapers.com

At some point when I have some time, I’d like to undertake some extended research here. I have this theory that for most of baseball’s history, people– fans, team management and writers parroting front office views– have complained that player salaries are too high. Whether it’s $5,000 a season or per inning, depending on the point in baseball history, it seems like someone’s always been around to decry men being remunerated for playing a game.

Bill James in at least a couple of his books has examples of this, stuff like old-timers complaining about players being around to make “a fast buck” in the 1930s. It’s nonsense, of course. Even stars like Joe DiMaggio earned maybe $25,000 a year then, equivalent to around $400,000 today. I suppose it was vastly superior to the wage of the average employee during the Great Depression, but I also doubt they generated anywhere near the revenue the Yankee Clipper did. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of good stories on places like newspapers.com slamming the Yankee Clipper and other stars of baseball history every time they held out or spoke of striking. I’d like to cull some of these stories together here.

I’ll see if I can get to this research sometime this week. Voting on my project on the 25 most important people in baseball history wraps tomorrow and I know I’m going to be busy getting the November 10 results post ready. Still, research like this keeps me going. It’s fun. Also, offering original, insightful research is a core value of this site. It’s not that hard to do, anyhow. We’re in a golden age for research. More historical data and primary source material is being digitized than ever.

For now, I’ll offer a player from 1903, Tom Daly of the Cincinnati Reds who suggested players weren’t being well-paid enough. A couple of things worth noting before we get to an excerpt from the article:

  1. It was written in September 1903, months after the National and American leagues declared an end to the open war that had existed since the junior circuit began play in 1901.
  2. As the article notes, the National League in 1903 had a maximum salary for players of $2,400 per year, about $61,300 in 2013 dollars. It’s why so many players jumped their contracts and went to the American League in 1901 and 1902.

Daly was one of those players, playing with the Chicago White Sox in 1902 and 1903 before finishing the last half of the second season with the Reds. Late in the year, he gave an interview as noted above. Most of the piece is a long quote from Daly, including:

It is only in exceptional cases that a ballplayer’s life in fast company is for more than ten years. If he is to receive only $1,500 or $1,800 a season for giving the best years of his life to the game, what inducement is there for him to play ball?

Interestingly, Daly’s last game in the majors came on September 27, 1903, just a few weeks after he spoke out in this article. Granted he was 37 and in his seventeenth season. All the same, I can’t help but wonder if Daly’s candor accelerated his departure.

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“From the archive” is a weekly series here that highlights old baseball-related newspaper clippings.

Others in this series:

From the archive: Baseball's eternal debate

Bill James has a recurring feature in at least a few of his books called “Old Ballplayers Never Die.” The idea is that for almost as long as baseball has existed, former players have lamented the decline in play. For instance, in his 2001 historical abstract, James included an excerpt from an article 1890s standout Bill Joyce wrote for the 1916 Spalding Base Ball Guide. Joyce concluded:

“It makes me weep to think of the men of the old days who played the game and the boys of today. It’s positively a shame, and they are getting big money for it, too.”

Conversely, James also notes that for almost as long as baseball has existed, there have been people who would say that the latest version of the game is the greatest. Today’s edition of this column concerns an example of this latter trend, from a 1908 article in the Oakland Tribune. It begins:

“No matter what they tell you about baseball going back and not being as spectacular, etc., as it used to be in the good old days, you just tell them that baseball, as a whole, is a mighty improved game over what it was ten, aye twenty years ago, and you’ll not be more than a mile wrong.”

The article and several accompanying pieces then highlight several stars of the late 19th century. It’s a neat series of articles.

I go back and forth on the question of whether today’s player’s are better or worse. To be blunt, I don’t know if it matters. Every generation of baseball has had players worth celebrating, ones who could perform astonishing feats. Near every generation of baseball has also been vastly different than the one that preceded it. I think that various individual statistical feats that seemingly point to declines or increases in quality of play are more evidence of whatever the current rules and trends are in baseball.

There is, of course, a far broader debate that could be had here. I’ll look into this more another time, though the comments are open.

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“From the archive” is a Friday series that highlights old baseball-related newspaper clippings.

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From the archive: It will always be 2014 for Travis Ishikawa

This is it for Travis Ishikawa. As I watched replays last night of Ishikawa racing around the bases after his three-run homer to win the National League Championship Series, I found myself wondering if he understood that this was his high point, the greatest moment he’ll have as a baseball player, perhaps the greatest moment of his life. I mean this as no disrespect to a player who’s spent seven seasons in the majors and started for another pennant-winning Giants team. But whatever Travis Ishikawa does the rest of his life, this is what he will be remembered for.

Every baseball generation has one or two of these players, known for a game or instant of playoff glory, from Bill Wambsganss and his unassisted triple play in the 1920 World Series to Cookie Lavagetto’s double to break up a no-hitter in the ’47 Series to Francisco Cabrera’s bloop to win the 1992 NLCS. [I suspect Wambsganss might be somewhat forgotten; Baseball-Reference.com, which sets sponsorship rates for pages based on traffic, has Wambsganss’s page available for $10. And for good reason. Wambsganss ranks among the worst regulars in baseball history. According to Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index tool, Wambsganss’s -19.2 Wins Above Average is 10th worst all-time.]

Names like Wambsganss, Lavagetto and Cabrera would be lost to baseball history if not for their moments. Ishikawa is the latest to join this club. There will surely be more to follow.

Aside from Bill Mazeroski, Carlton Fisk, Kirk Gibson or Joe Carter, Bobby Thomson might be the best player defined by an instant of postseason heroics. While never destined for the Hall of Fame on playing merit, even before a career-altering injury in spring training in 1954, Thomson’s lifetime stats at least place him squarely in the Hall of Very Good: 264 homers, 33.1 WAR and three All Star appearances. But whenever Thomson’s name comes up today, it’s always about his Shot Heard Round the World to send the Giants to the 1951 World Series. Already on social media, people have been comparing Ishikawa’s shot to Thomson’s.

For the remaining six decades of his life, people never stopped talking to Bobby Thomson about his home run. The article I posted above offers a retrospective written by Murray Olderman of the Newspaper Enterprise Association 20 years after. And when Thomson died in 2010, the home run headlined his obituary in the New York Times. “I can remember feeling as if time was just frozen,” the Times quoted Thomson saying. “It was a delirious, delicious moment.”

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“From the archive” is a Friday series that highlights old baseball-related newspaper clippings.

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From the archive: Connie Mack's farm system

[Editor’s note: My latest book review will run next Friday. Going forward, this series will alternate Fridays with my book review series.]

In baseball lore, Branch Rickey is credited with creating the modern farm system, deducing while as general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals that it was cheaper to develop his own prospects than buy established players. It was a brilliant idea and Rickey’s largely responsible for the modern farm system, though he wasn’t the first person to develop cheap young players to save money. In the 20 years or so before Rickey began buying up minor league teams en masse, eventually controlling 800 players and 32 farm clubs, legendary Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack built a dynasty around youth.

Mack’s SABR bio notes:

In the early years of the Athletics, Mack skippered some of the Deadball Era’s best teams, winning six A.L. pennants and three World Series in the league’s first 14 years, primarily with players he discovered on school grounds and sandlots and developed into stars.

The A’s were a young team, with the average player on their 1914 club 25.7 years old, the second-youngest average in the American League. Their 1911, ’12 and ’13 teams were all youngest or second-youngest as well. [For reference, the 2014 A’s were 29.5 years old on average, the fourth-oldest team in the majors. For a small market club with frequent turnover and a penchant for trading stars for prospects, Oakland was peculiarly old this year.]

Mack’s Deadball Era A’s teams featured a number of teenagers. He signed future Hall of Famer Eddie Collins out of Columbia University months before his 19th birthday in 1906. He got Stuffy McInnis, one of the greatest fielding first baseman of the Deadball Era, at 17 in August 1908. Mack also signed a trio of prominent pitchers before their 20th birthdays: Bullet Joe Bush at 19; future Hall of Famer Herb Pennock at 18; and Rube Bressler, whose pitching arm quickly went bust, at 18. All made valuable contributions to the A’s first dynasty that ran through 1914.

Mack dismantled his contender after a few prominent A’s jumped to the upstart Federal League in 1915. He went with a slightly different philosophy in building the A’s second and final great team a decade later. While Mack signed 16-year-old Jimmie Foxx in 1924 and brought in other young players as well, the great A’s teams of the late 1920s featured more veterans with 40-plus future Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Eddie Collins all seeing playing time for the ’28 A’s.

Ever the skinflint– arguably the most famous one in baseball history next to Rickey, though that’s a debate for another time– Mack had discovered something that still holds true for the A’s today: aging players were affordable, too. Cobb played for $35,000 in 1928, getting a $15,000 pay cut after hitting .357 for the 1927 A’s. Speaker and Collins played for the ’28 A’s for $15,000 apiece. Such salaries boggle the mind today [with inflation, Cobb’s $35,000 is about $480,000 in 2014 dollars] and were in-line, if economical for the era.

A slew of veterans on-hand, the A’s once again became a championship club, thriving until the Great Depression once more forced Mack to sell players off. This time, Philadelphia stayed in the cellar.

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“From the archive” is a Friday series that highlights old baseball-related newspaper clippings.

Others in this series:

From the archive: Honus Wagner spoke German to fool opponents

Baseball players and managers have long since spoken in signs and other secretive code to maintain a competitive edge. Some of this may date to the Deadball Era.

Legendary New York Giants manager John McGraw had his players learn sign language after the team acquired deaf pitcher Dummy Taylor, thus creating the modern sign system in baseball. There’s a famous story of Hall of Fame pitcher Chief Bender, repeated in “The Glory of Their Times” as well as his biography, figuring out how the Giants were tipping their pitches in the 1911 World Series and yelling “It’s all right” to signal that a fastball was coming.

Here’s another story from that era that’s a little more obscure. I certainly hadn’t heard of it.

In 1954, the Associated Press offered a seven-part instructional series from Hall of Fame shortstop Honus Wagner, who would die in December 1955, on how to play. I’ll give that series the longer look it deserves come Monday. For now, I’ll highlight a smaller sidebar from the day the third part of the series ran.

Wagner was the son of German immigrants, perhaps part of the reason he was so popular with fans in the early 20th century when America received a great influx of Europeans. [Many of the great stars in baseball history offered some kind of ethnic appeal from Babe Ruth to Jackie Robinson to Sandy Koufax and more.] Anyhow, Wagner used his parents’ native tongue to trip up McGraw.

The story’s a quick read so rather than rehash it here, I’ll suggest simply reading the original by clicking on the frame above. More to come regarding Wagner’s 1954 series on Monday.
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“From the archives” is a Friday series that highlights old baseball-related newspaper clippings.

Others in this series: Satchel Paige’s shutout inning in 1969‘Is Babe Ruth hurting game?’ | When Mark Koenig pitched | 25 years after Pete Rose, Hal Chase’s story is bleaker | Outrage when the Yankees sold to CBS | Willie Mays’ forgotten last hurrah

From the archive: Willie Mays' forgotten last hurrah

There’s a famous final picture from Willie Mays’ career, included in the article above. It shows the aging superstar on his knees during Game 2 of the 1973 World Series after the 42-year-old future Hall of Famer stumbled on the base paths. That day, Mays also made two fielding errors, helping send the game into extra innings with a 6-6 tie.

That’s not all Mays did in Game 2 of the 1973 World Series, though. There was a better moment for him, perhaps the last great moment of his career that came a few innings later in his second-to-last at-bat ever. It doesn’t get talked about much anymore. Maybe it should.

Mays SABR bio notes:

The story of Mays misplaying two balls in center field in the second game of the World Series against the Oakland A’s is always used when the topic is a star athlete who plays too long past his prime. Exhibit B might be Mays’s ultimately harmless stumble on the basepaths in the same game. What is often forgotten is what happened in the 12th inning, when he duped A’s catcher Ray Fosse into calling for a fastball, telling him, “Ray, it’s tough to see the balls with that background. I hope he doesn’t throw me any fastballs.”65 He bounced a Rollie Fingers fastball over the pitcher’s head and into center to drive in the winning run.

“Those kids look up to me,” Mays told reporters after the game, which the Mets won 10-7. “I can’t let them down. They haven’t seen me when I was young. But they expect me to be an example to them. That’s why it makes me feel so great inside when I can come up with a clutch hit.”

Mays played just once more in the Series, grounding out the following day in a 10th inning pinch hit appearance against Paul Lindblad. The Mets would go on to lose in seven games to the A’s, who were in the middle of a three-year championship run.

“No I’m not disappointed I didn’t play,” Mays said after Game 7, with papers noting the end of his career. “I don’t think I’m very good at pinch hitting.”

Technically, Mays might have been right. He entered Game 2 in the ninth inning as a pinch runner for Rusty Staub. Otherwise, Mays was selling himself short, as so many others have done since.

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“From the archives” is a Friday series that highlights old baseball-related newspaper clippings.

Others in this series: Satchel Paige’s shutout inning in 1969‘Is Babe Ruth hurting game?’ | When Mark Koenig pitched | 25 years after Pete Rose, Hal Chase’s story is bleaker | Outrage when the Yankees sold to CBS

From the archive: Satchel Paige's shutout inning in 1969

Satchel Paige appropriately titled his 1962 autobiography Maybe I’ll Pitch Forever. The Hall of Famer pitched professionally in five decades, debuting in the Negro Leagues in 1926 and pitching in the minors as late as 1966. He famously threw three shutout innings at age 59— depending on the source– in 1965 for the Kansas City Athletics, sitting on a rocker between innings and sipping lemonade.

As it turns out, Paige had a little more left in his arm.

Newspapers speculated that Paige might pitch again when the Atlanta Braves signed him in August 1968 as a coach so that he could log another 158 days in the majors and qualify for the pension plan. “I’ll just have to see if I can unfold,” the 62-year-old Paige said. “If I can throw half as good as I could last year [in a few exhibition games], then I know I can still get ’em out.”

As Paige biographer Larry Tye noted in a 2010 retrospective for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

They called Satchel a trainer, but “he didn’t do any training,” recalls Dave Percley, the Braves’ real trainer. What he wanted to do was pitch. [Braves owner William] Bartholomay was concerned about his eyesight, “which was going pretty rapidly. We worried that he wouldn’t see a line drive coming back to him.”

Nevertheless, Paige pitched in an exhibition on September 29, retiring future HOFers Hank Aaron and Don Drysdale. He got six outs on just 12 pitches.

Paige qualified for the pension in February 1969 when the needed time of service in the majors was cut from five years to four. Shortly thereafter, Paige announced he would make a series of one-inning appearances in a few exhibitions and then retire again. “I can still throw harder than half the pitchers here,” Paige said. “I can still pitch. You better believe it.”

Paige’s chance came April 3 during an exhibition between the Braves and their Triple-A Richmond team. Paige pitched for Atlanta and overcame a fielding error from Aaron that allowed a runner to reach third. He worked his way out of the jam by striking out two Richmond batters, getting credit for the victory. The following day, he threw another scoreless inning.

Paige being Paige, his talk of retirement didn’t stick. He pitched again on June 5, this time for Richmond in an exhibition against the Braves. He allowed two runs in one inning.

The following week, The Daily Times of Salisbury, Maryland carried an interview with Paige where he spoke of wanting to be in the Hall of Fame:

The whole world wants me in it. But I didn’t play in the major leagues long enough– that’s how it’s wrote up even though for years and years I was the world’s greatest pitcher.

Maybe some day I’ll fall into the Hall of Fame, like I done the pension. But I’m not sayin’ they’d change the rules for me. Maybe some day before I die I could sorta sneak in. You know, for good conduct or something like that.

Paige got his pension. The same year the salary kicked in, 1971, he became the first Negro League inductee in Cooperstown.

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“From the archives” is a Friday series that highlights old baseball-related newspaper clippings.

Others in this series: ‘Is Babe Ruth hurting game?’ | When Mark Koenig pitched25 years after Pete Rose, Hal Chase’s story is bleaker | Outrage when the Yankees sold to CBS

From the archive: When Mark Koenig pitched

I’ve known of Mark Koenig as a shortstop from the Murderers Row Yankees of the late 1920s. One of my acquaintances through the Society for American Baseball Research, Rick Cabral even got to interview Koenig in the early ’90s when he was the last-living member of the team. Therefore, I was struck during my research a few weeks ago on position players who’d pitched to note that Koenig had made a few mound appearances in the 1930 and 1931 seasons. As has happened with so many position players who pitched, Koenig got rocked.

There was still some optimism when this piece ran October 11, 1930 in the Winnipeg Tribune. Never mind that Koenig was the owner at that point of a 10.00 ERA after nine innings spread through two appearances for the Detroit Tigers at the end of the 1930 season, including a September 27 loss to the lowly Chicago White Sox. Optimism springs eternal during the offseason in baseball, when every player seemingly resolves to return the next spring in the proverbial best shape of their life. Koenig’s pitching career lasted three more appearances the next season, with him walking 11 batters over seven innings.

In a sense, though, Koenig got lucky. The article above mentions that Koenig was switching to pitching because failing eyesight had ruined his batting vision. Over the remainder of his career, Koenig offered just a .662 OPS and 78 OPS+. But these stats didn’t exist in the early 1930s, of course and the high scoring environment of that era also helped mask Koenig’s offensive deficiencies. He hit .277 over his final six seasons, a respectable figure for a shortstop in those days, retiring in 1936. Near the end of Koenig’s career, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle celebrated the veteran, suggesting his mental reactions, rather than his eyesight had been at the root of his hitting problems.

The Eagle also noted of Koenig:

With the idea of ailing eyesight preying on his mind, he decided to try pitching, where you didn’t have to have such sharp sight for snaring hot grounders. He started a few games on the mound for the Tigers, but didn’t do very well, although he claims he would have got by if he had concentrated on his hurling. But Mark wasn’t that kind of ballplayer. He was always being shoved into some spot in the infield when the occasion arose, and the occasion arose very often.

Ultimately, as it’s been for so many position players who’ve taken to the hill, pitching proved but a footnote for Koenig’s long tenure in the majors.

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“From the archives” is a Friday series that highlights old baseball-related newspaper clippings.

Others in this series: 25 years after Pete Rose, Hal Chase’s story is bleaker | Outrage when the Yankees sold to CBS

From the archive: 25 years after Pete Rose, Hal Chase's story is bleaker

Fred Lieb devoted a chapter in his memoir Baseball As I Have Known It to Hal Chase. Titling the chapter “Hal Chase: He had a corkscrew brain,” Lieb wrote about the troubled career of the once-great first baseman, banished from baseball after 1919 for fixing games. Lieb included a euphemistic mention near the end of the chapter that Chase died at 64 in 1947 “in dire straits.” The story of Chase’s years after being cast out of baseball is one of the bleaker tales in baseball history. It far surpasses that of Pete Rose, who’ll mark the 25th anniversary of his lifetime ban on Sunday.

If not for Chase’s many transgressions– according to Ken Burns, three managers publicly accused Chase of throwing games– he’d have been in the Hall of Fame decades ago. Even with his ban, Chase finished 25th and 22nd in the first two writers votes for Cooperstown. He’s still considered one of the best-fielding first basemen ever. Lieb wrote that Chase played the position off the bag like an infielder. Grantland Rice ranked Chase in 1942 with George Sisler and Lou Gehrig as one of the three best first basemen of the past 40 years, writing, “Hal could make plays around first base that no other ballplayer would even try to make.”

Rumored to have been the go-between who introduced players and gamblers before the ill-fated 1919 World Series, Chase’s SABR bio notes a couple of interviews he gave late in life to the Sporting News where he denied any role in the fix. He admitted to knowing of the plot ahead of time saying, “I did not want to be what I then called a ‘welcher.’ I had been involved in all kinds of bets with players and gamblers in the past, and I felt this was no time to run out.” But persistent rumors of his wrongdoing were enough to prompt his lifetime ban.

Chase kept playing baseball for years after his ban from organized ball, turning up in a semi-pro league in California in 1921 and continuing an itinerant career into his 50s. Chase, it should be noted, is far from the only man of his era to play well past his time in the majors, the wealth of minor and semi-pro circuits back then offering ample work for ex-big leaguers. Three Finger Brown, Chief Bender, and Iron Man Joe McGinnity, to name three, all pitched into their 50s. I suspect some players continued their careers for love of the game. Others like Chase clearly needed the money.

His run of bad fortune, random and self-imposed followed. He suffered lacerations after being struck by a car in 1936 and was hospitalized again in 1941 with a stomach ailment. Chase gave an interview to the United Press from the hospital after the latter incident, estimating that he’d earned $150,000 during his career but neglected to save it. The following year, he was written of again for telling police during a DUI stop,  “You shouldn’t arrest a man as famous as I am. I’m Hal Chase, the baseball player.” [Oddly, the story lists Chase being booked into jail as Elmore Axel Chase, a salesman from Huntington Park, California. Baseball-Reference.com lists Chase with a full name of Harold Homer Chase.]

Then there’s the story shown above, from the Santa Cruz Sentinel on August 1, 1942. It details Chase winding up in Highland Hospital in Oakland after being found on a lawn in nearby Alameda. The story notes a woman telephoning police that a “ragged and tattered man was wandering on her lawn.” The story said Chase had been en-route to a wartime defense job from his San Jose home and “was, and perhaps still is, a victim of amnesia.” Another paper reported that the hospital offered this diagnosis came after Chase was initially diagnosed with a brain stroke. Candidly, his story reads a lot like one of prolonged alcoholism.

The baseball world will be sympathizing with Pete Rose over the next few days, issuing renewed pleas for his Hall of Fame induction. ESPN.com already has a lengthy article on Rose’s “25-year exile” on its homepage. It’s been a long time since anyone offered Hal Chase any sympathy.

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“From the archives” is a Friday series here that highlights old baseball-related newspaper clippings.

Others in this series: Outrage when the Yankees sold to CBS

From the archive: Outrage when the Yankees sold to CBS

Editor’s note: I’m pleased to introduce a new Friday column here, “From the archive.” I recently re-upped my subscription to newspapers.com, a paid archive service. I’m the kind of person who can kill several hours combing through old newspapers. (Seriously, it’s fun for me.) As a writer, I’m also always in search of information beyond what’s quickly available on the web.

I both enjoy and value newspapers.com as its database goes back as far as the 1700s, with a range of big-name and defunct papers, both from big cities and rural areas. It’s great for re-discovering forgotten stories or players.

I’ll aim each week to highlight at least one interesting piece that I come across. Please feel free to email research suggestions to thewomack@gmail.com.

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Found on Newspapers.com

Why this story sticks out: Television revenues have revolutionized baseball, and sports in general, transforming a modestly-profitable enterprise into a multi-billion dollar industry. Many teams have aligned themselves with cable networks with great success, teams like the New York Yankees whose relationship with the YES Network is a major reason the franchise is valued at $2.5 billion today. It’s also forced many fans to purchase cable packages to see games.

It makes the story above seem quaint, humorous even. But, in 1964, the Yankees selling for $11.2 million (about $86 million in 2014 dollars) in a hastily-brokered deal to the Columbia Broadcasting System created no small amount of controversy. It  stirred renewed questions about baseball’s informal exemption from anti-trust laws and irked a number of baseball owners from the era.

“Those big companies can lose a half-million dollars in baseball without feeling it,” former Yankees co-owner Larry MacPhail said in the story, an Associated Press piece that ran August 16, 1964 in the Kansas City Star and elsewhere. “It’s unfair to other owners.”

CBS for its part denied anything untoward, saying in a statement quoted in the article, “Pay television was in no way a motivating consideration in our decision to invest in the New York Yankees.”

Given all the that changes paid television has wrought in baseball since 1964, I’ll call a rat on that quote. I think this sale foretold a lot to come over the next 50 years.

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UPDATE: Longtime reader Vinnie, who grew up a Yankee fan emailed me shortly after I published this post. With Vinnie’s permission, I’m sharing his email:

As best I recall, the purchase did nothing to effect the free broadcast of the Yankee games on, I believe, WOR in NYC and on the station I picked up the weekend and holiday feeds from. If anything, the purchase instead of putting new life into the team, signaled the end of the dynasty and almost a distant, hands off, benign neglect by general partner mike burke that insured mediocrity until the boss bought the team from them.
To begin with, CBS had no business owning a team. They had no idea how the business worked and no idea of any kind of a business plan or model to follow. The great Yankees had either retired, grown old and suffered injuries, and were reduced to hollow shells. (See Tom Tresh and Joe Pepitone) The farm system with the exception of a Roy White, a Bobby Murcer, was supplying such as Roger Repoz, Jerry Kenney, Jake Gibbs, Steve Whitaker, and yes; even Bobby Cox. Trades brought in Bill Robinson and Charlie Smith. The draft had cut off their ability to sign the best young talent and left them a shambles, with no direction and no one who had any knowledge of baseball running the team.
There was no special tv deals and I don’t think that even crossed anyone’s mind. If there was a plan for pay tv, with the product on the field, no one would have watched and no sponsors would have bought air time.