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Old 01-24-2006, 04:51 PM   #1
SelzShoes
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Join Date: Apr 2005
1946: Chaos in Elysium

The White House
Washington

January 15, 1942.

My dear Judge:

Thank you for yours of January fourteenth. As you will, of course, realize the final decision about the baseball season must rest with you and the Baseball Club owners -- but what I am going to say is official and not a solely a personal point of view.

I honestly feel that it would not be best for the country to keep baseball going. There will be many tasks at hand and everybody must work longer hours and harder than ever before.

And that means sacrificing recreation and taking minds off work; this could be the price of victory.

As to the players themselves I know you agree with me that individual players who are of active military or naval age should go, without question, into the services. If any individual has some particular aptitude in a trade or profession, he ought to serve the Government. That is a matter which I know you can understand with complete justice.

Here is another way of looking at it -- if 300 teams use 5,000 or 6,000 players, are these players an asset to at least 20,000,000 of their fellow citizen? In my judgment, the wants of a single industry are outweighed by the needs of the world.

With every best wish,

Very sincerely yours,

{Signature} Franklin D. Roosevelt {End of signature}

Hon. Kenesaw M. Landis,
333 North Michigan Avenue,
Chicago, Illinois.

actual text of letter by FDR


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Old 01-24-2006, 05:30 PM   #2
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May 8, 1945

[Newsreel footage with narration] Victory In Europe. The streets of New York fill upon word of Germany’s surrender! Word from Allied command relates the German war machine’s unconditional capitulation, and the joy can not be contained. This sailor knows the way to celebrate. Now with the Nazis smashed, our boys can focus on delivering the final blow to Tojo’s minions in the Pacific. After four long years it seems America can get back to the business of being America. [/end newsreel]

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Old 01-25-2006, 12:27 PM   #3
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May 9, 1945

[Newsreel footage with narration]While sports fans were entertained by the collegiate ranks during the war, it looks like the professional games are set to resume. Commissioner Bert Bell announced yesterday the National Football League would resume play this fall. The National Hockey League is expected to resume play in the United States after 4 years of being confined north of the border. And what’s this? Two competing pro cager loops as well. But the big question on fans of sport is the return of baseball. Since the passing of Judge Landis last year, there is no one to give the official word of the status of America’s pastime. Too late to start up this season, but by 1946 every red blooded American man and boy hopes to see the old favorites return to the diamond. [/end Newsreel]

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Old 01-25-2006, 04:05 PM   #4
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The Return of the Babe, part 1

The room came into slow focus; hazy--enough to make him believe the doctor's request he wear spectacles, then melting into soft clarity. Just like every other morning for as long as he wanted to remember. His wife still lay motionless; her constitution was unfamiliar with the rigors of such celebrations. She was not dry, just not accustomed to the lifestyle. Truthfully, his body was not as young as it once was. Back in the Twenties, last night's celebration would have been a warm up; a Tuesday night. Now, he really felt like an old man. Bones and muscles cricked and cracked as he lumbered towards the basin.

It was hard to believe anyone could have slept with all the celebrating; a city, a nation, had exhausted itself with the collective explosion of joy. People were offering champagne, the real thing, in beer glasses to strangers. Hell, he had passed out at least a dozen of his best cigars to random people. Gave them a great story: "Yeah, the Babe gave this smoke to me, can you believe it! Peach of a guy, said not to be surprised if he's managing the Yankees next season. Still looks like he could clout 30 easy." Imagining the last line made Ruth chuckle slightly. With all the weight he had lost, he doubted the power was still there. But he did still strike an impressive figure moving through the city in his camelhair coat. Amidst all the confetti and huzzahs people would reach out to him; not to shake his hand or pat him on the back--just to touch him. Hell, to come close to touching him.

He dried his face while aches and pains shot through all the usual places. He tried to clear his throat; damn tickle was back. Babe buzzed his manservant, "Bring me a hot brandy." It had been years, the glory days of Murder's Row, since Ruth had drank this early. The throat pain however had not flamed so intensely in months. "Damn, just overdid it".

The end of the war was great, no more of our boys dying to protect freedom. But, a twinge of guilt sat there and nagged at his selfishness. The first thought when the news came was not joy for victory, but joy for knowing baseball would be coming back. That damn red Roos-e-velt tried to kill the game; telling Landis the players were needed to fight Hitler and the Japs. Krauts and Nips; America could have taken them without sacrificing the game. Most of the players ended up on service teams anyway. It was great for the boys who got to see the games, but it was a shame the fans missed out.

Could not let the fans down; no matter never let the fans down. That is what made all this possible; the comfort and security. Even with rationing it was sometimes hard to tell a war was going on, but he had played the part of a good citizen. The Babe had worn more cotton shirts rather than silk in the last four years since he came to New York. The people needed to know their hero was standing with them. A lifetime of giving them what they wanted, now it was his time to want.

The game is coming back, he thought as the hot brandy hit the back of his throat. Burning the pain away. The game is back and it would need him. He had waited for the call to manage since he retired. "Ten years is a long time," he said to no one. His eyes darted back to the phone; this time it would ring. The greatest game's greatest player leading the greatest team. No more of Fuchs' Funnies and the Dodgers' lies about a future position, "This time it will ring," he assured himself. The tickle in his throat came back (damn summer cold) he called for another brandy. "Can't be sick when they name me manager of the Yankees," he winked at his manservant.

"Of course, sir."

He told himself not to be too impatient. The F------g moneymen would have to bicker about contracts and player assignment and all that sort of crap. Sooner than later, the phone would ring and the Yankees would be asking, no begging for him to manage. After four years of no baseball, they would pull out all the stops to bring the fans back.

"It just has to happen," he said quietly, ignoring the tears in his eyes.

Last edited by SelzShoes : 02-24-2006 at 09:45 AM. Reason: To make it better
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Old 01-26-2006, 04:05 PM   #5
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Which way the wind blows, part 1

Ever since acquiring interest in the Boston Braves along with the American Association Milwaukee squad in January 1944, Lou Perini, along with partners Guido Rugo and Joseph Maney, had patiently waited for the day their investment would pay off. Now with the war over, Perini felt he was close to being able to place a team on the diamond. The goal however, was not just to be happy in the fraternity of owners; no, the goal was to build value in a value-poor asset. There was only one obstacle to the Braves becoming the profitable in Boston: it was a Red Sox town.

In all of the two team cities—except New York—one club was seemingly fated to playing the role of the poor sibling; squeezing out an existence and hoping for that one or two year hot streak to capture the imagination of the public. The Braves’ best days were 30 years behind them, and the future, as long as the Sox held the majority of baseball fans’ fancy was equally as bleak. A change was possible; Saint Louis had been a “Brown’s town” for a quarter of a century, until the mid-1920’s when the Cardinals went to the World Series. Lou and his partners did not want to wait 25 years to change the minds of a city to bring crowds to the banks of the Charles River; two years of expenses and little revenue eat at a man’s tolerance.

Perini had, like all the other owners, kept informal contacts with one another; discussing how to handle the resumption of play, rights to players and all of the details necessary to recreate an industry. Until recently, this had all been theoretical—dreaming if you will, especially for the men who had purchased interest in clubs during the shutdown. Now, opportunity was at hand, and Perini felt he had the vision of what baseball could look like not only for the upcoming season but the decades over the horizon. “This war is going to change America,” he would tell his partners, “if we don’t strike fast our opportunity to change baseball will pass.” To return baseball to it’s prewar station, with no attempt to correct mistakes both geographical and economic, would be lunacy in Perini’s eyes. The four year hiatus was a blessing to a man with such grand plans; several prewar owners had sold out rather than risk losing more money. The public should be open to new ideas; while the time off had not erased memories of what had been, the vacuum of the war years had created a desire for recreation. In the public lust for baseball, John Doe and his brethren would be more accepting of new ideas that would have been baseball heresy at the start of the decade. While the new war time owners, Cox of the Phillies for example, would need little prodding to accept his ideas to increase franchise values and opportunities to win, an alliance with one of the established owners was key to broad support. Baseball owners were notorious for approaching new ideas with all deliberate speed; if one of their own, someone they knew and could rely on was the lynchpin. Fortunately he had one in his own city: Tom Yawkey.

Yawkey had purchased a Red Sox club as uninspiring on the field as it was at the gate. Fenway Park, a jewel when opened, had deteriorated to an ad plastered dump unfit for man, beast or New Yorker. The money and enthusiasm brought to the forlorn club in 1933 changed the philosophy and direction of the club. When the war hit the Sox were on the verge of challenging Yankee dominance, something unheard of since the days before Frazee. Even the four years off had not dampened Red Sox fever in the city and sport pages. Yawkey’s fortune and the batting eye of Theodore Williams lead many to hope a pennant would fly over Boston when the game returned. Perini had the bait to catch the noted sportsman’s attention. Once hooked, Perini was sure most of his plans would find favor with Yawkey, and a true new era of baseball would begin. “This is not for us alone,” Perini would tell his partners, “this is about what is best for the game.”
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Old 01-27-2006, 11:20 AM   #6
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Which way the wind blows, part 2

“I appreciate the visit, but Lou, don’t you think we should wait until we have a formal owner’s meeting to talk about the future of the leagues.” Yawkey and Perini had met several times since Perini’s group had bought the Braves. It was an uneasy relationship for Tom Yawkey, a man competing for the same dollars attempting to be ‘friends’. Yes, they had similar interest in getting the leagues started again, but this was a man who apparently was willing to spend money to bring a competitive squad to Braves Field. Despite the smarmy sentimentality of that one movie, Gimbel’s and Macy’s did not really get along. Boston did not lack for baseball fans, but Tom Yawkey felt it could use more Red Sox fans. Perini wanted something; it bothered Yawkey tremendously to not know what.

The meeting was barely old enough for idle chatter, let alone jumping right to the point. Lou could sense the unease in Yawkey’s words. Their previous meetings had been friendly, if a bit sterile. Perini understood the manufactured distance; if the Braves were the baseball power in town, his reaction would be the same. “Well Mr. Yawkey,” Perini spoke slowly and deliberately, uncertain of how warmly his ideas would be received, “perhaps we don’t want all the owners involved with this.” Yawkey sloshed his drink around in his glass, letting the word soak through.

“Go on,” curiosity had been piqued. Perini’s heart jumped; the concept of exclusion, even if the extent unknown was not rejected out of hand.

“It seems to me if, speaking theoretically, if we wanted to make changes to baseball, its structure if you will, now would be the time to do it, right?” A tentative nod answered as Yawkey tried to get a handle on how sweeping of change the Braves chief was looking at. “Say a team wanted to change its situation, like getting out of a two team city . . .”

“Like Boston?”

“Yes, like if we wanted to move the Braves to another city, now would be an ideal time to do so.”

“Because the Red Sox aren’t going anywhere.” Yawkey was clearly pleased with the thought of having Boston to himself, no longer needing to worry about if the other team in town should steal patrons from his park. All the press, all the fans would Red Sox focused. “But are you going to convince the Phillies to move as well, because Mack isn’t going anywhere.”

“Maybe we don’t give Mack a choice. Maybe we don’t ask the Athletics back and just let them fade out of existence.”

“Are you suggesting we tell Connie Mack to get out of baseball?” The idea of the grand old man of the game being forcibly retired was nothing short of blasphemy.

“The Depression nearly ruined him and the time off couldn’t have made his financial situation any better. The A’s are done with or without Mack—at least the chap that bought the Phillies has fresh capital to put into the club. Connie, for all he has done for the game just can not field a competitive squad anymore.”

Yawkey sat down; Perini was speaking the truth. Ever since Connie dismantled his dominating club of the late twenties the Athletics had faded to irrelevancy and near insolvency. Mack, unlike other owners, made his living strictly off baseball. His plight, while heartbreaking to those who knew him, was becoming an embarrassment to baseball. “We could convince him to sell, or at least give him a chance to prove to himself he can’t make a go of it?”

“If we resume play and have franchises fold, it would be bad for baseball. Now is the time to make changes.”

“Who else do we not invite back?”

“Both of the Saint Louis clubs.” Perini knew both teams had been eyeing Milwaukee for a possible move; their opposition could prevent his planned move.

“Browns lose, make no money; Cardinals win, and still make no money. Damn shame. But wouldn’t one team do well there?”

“As it stands now, a move requires unanimous approval from a league. If Breadon wants to block a move; then we stay in Boston. But if we reorganize the league into something else, moving a club should not be difficult.”

“So to have Boston, I need to get rid of Saint Louis. Doesn’t seem right.” The conflict in Yawkey’s voice was pronounced. Perini was making sense, from a business standpoint. Connie Mack, St. Louis, getting rid of those clubs only made the Red Sox a more valuable commodity. Still, had the line always been baseball was more than just another business. A public utility of sorts, isn’t that the line always used to gain favor from the neighborhoods and politicians? “That would leave 13 clubs, we’d have to cut at least one more team.”

Perini quickly made the argument for eliminating the Reds, another team on shaky financial footing since nearly folding during the Depression. “But I think you are missing the point on the Saint Louis clubs. We keep them out of the loop while we change the landscape—the only reason to exclude them is to allow the Braves to move without protest.”

“Still, three teams in New York, two in Chicago—goes against your idea of paring down the multiple teams cities.”

“There is a group of actors who want to get into baseball, I think we could arrange a meeting with the Comisky estate—that could open up the west coast for us.”

“And New York?”

“We do something like we’re doing with Saint Louis. Invite one in, and then see who wants to play ball. I suggest the Giants; Manhattan is too valuable a territory to up a leave.”

Yawkey smiled big, “And make the damn Yankees beg to join us. I love the idea.” The American League had tried for years to find a way to check Yankee dominance, they finally had a chance. Play by our rules or don’t play at all.

When he had finished, Yawkey had come around somewhat. “I’ll speak to Briggs and Griffith—I think Bradley wants to sell and this can only assure a higher price for him. The only question mark would be the White Sox, I don’t know if they have ever gotten that mess straightened out since Louis died. How do you think the National owners will go?”

“Cox is like me, bought the interest during the shut down; the Benswenger family wants out like Bradley. Wrigley worries me, he can be forward thinking and stuck in the past all at the same time—but a solid majority should sway him.”
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Old 01-29-2006, 02:29 PM   #7
SelzShoes
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The Legend of the Perfesser, part 1

Braves Field
Boston
May 22, 1945.

Mr. Stengel,

Please consider this letter notice of termination of your services as manager of the Boston National League Club.

We are grateful for your service to the club during this difficult time; however with the resumption of play, we have decided to pursue a different direction.

Good luck with your future endeavors.

Very sincerely yours,

{Signature} Louis Perini {End of signature}

Charles Stengel,
Kansas City, Missouri
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Old 01-29-2006, 11:14 PM   #8
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Which way the wind blows, part 3

[Newsreel with narration]LA is Major League! Here is crooner Bing Crosby and funnyman Danny Kaye signing papers which will bring the new 10 team National-American League to the City of Angels. The complicated transaction costing nearly $3 million, which involved purchasing the Chicago White Sox from the Estate of Charles Comiskey and the Los Angeles Angels of the PCL from Cubs' owner P. K. Wrigley. The Pacific League protest the loss of prime real estate, but the summer of change continues for the big leagues![/Newsreel]
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Old 01-30-2006, 12:11 PM   #9
Wolfpack
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So, let me try to follow here. Braves move to Milwaukee. Yankees, Browns, Cards, A's, Reds, Senators all gone. White Sox move to LA and become the Angels. Let's see, that means...Boston, NY Giants, Brooklyn, Milwaukee Braves, Detroit, Cleveland, Phillies, Cubs, Pirates, and Angels.

It's a bit of a stretch to me to see the Yankees disappear, but it will definitely mean interesting times during the 50s without their domination. Do you plan to stay at 10 teams or will you expand? Are you planning on division play with ten teams, or will it just be two best teams at the top play the World Series?

I assume this will be played out as you see things going, but I assume this will mean the Dodgers and Giants will stay in the New York area instead of heading west. Or at least one of them will because baseball probably needs one NY team to stay in the public eye as much as possible.

My curiosity is piqued.
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Old 01-31-2006, 09:49 AM   #10
SelzShoes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfpack
So, let me try to follow here. Braves move to Milwaukee. Yankees, Browns, Cards, A's, Reds, Senators all gone. White Sox move to LA and become the Angels. Let's see, that means...Boston, NY Giants, Brooklyn, Milwaukee Braves, Detroit, Cleveland, Phillies, Cubs, Pirates, and Angels.

Close: the National American League contains: Red Sox, Giants, Milwaukee Braves, Tigers, Indians, Phillies, Cubs, Pirates, LA White Sox and Nationals. The Cardinals, Browns, A's, Reds, Dodgers and Yankees are the ones left out of the agreement.

Something like this would not be completly out of the minds of the real hardcore baseball fan. In 1920, when the Black Sox scandal hit, the 8 NL clubs and 3 AL clubs had an agreement for a 'new' National League, with Landis as comissioner. Four of the 5 excluded clubs (backers of AL president Ban Johnson) sued for peace and saved thier teams (it was made clear only 1 of the 5 would be allowed to join the new NL).

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfpack
It's a bit of a stretch to me to see the Yankees disappear, but it will definitely mean interesting times during the 50s without their domination.
Yankees aren't gone; they just haven't been asked to join the NAL. Obviously the hope is that leaving the Yanks out will break the franchise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfpack
Do you plan to stay at 10 teams or will you expand? Are you planning on division play with ten teams, or will it just be two best teams at the top play the World Series?
Right now the plan would be for 1 10 team division, but the question of the World Series will become an important one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfpack
I assume this will be played out as you see things going, but I assume this will mean the Dodgers and Giants will stay in the New York area instead of heading west. Or at least one of them will because baseball probably needs one NY team to stay in the public eye as much as possible.

My curiosity is piqued.
If you are familiar with my other dynasty here, you are going to be shocked how slowly this one unfolds. All the moves to set up the season are not done yet.
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Old 01-31-2006, 11:36 AM   #11
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Yeah, I know you tend to putter rather than race through things, but I don't mind much. You put such a good amount of detail into things that it reads like a good history.

Judging by what you are saying, I'm gathering the Yankees are the only team who get "left out" rather than folded, then? Interesting. (Must stop speculating about what's going to happen...many questions to ask, but that's unfair to you and your storyline development.)
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Old 01-31-2006, 11:43 AM   #12
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As promised, I'm here, reading and enjoying it so far!
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:28 PM   #13
SelzShoes
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Faith as a grain of mustard-seed, part 1

General Manager Branch Rickey picked over his breakfast trying to imagine a worse situation for his Saint Louis Cardinals. Sam Breadon’s club had value, but little capital. The Browns were insisting if anyone moved from Saint Louis, it should be the Cardinals, because, after all, the Browns owned Sportsman’s Park. Breadon and Rickey hardly spoke as relations between the two men had deteriorated over the hiatus. Crosley refused to deal with Brooklyn because of GM Leland MacPhail. Leland MacPhail would not speak to Saint Louis because he, quiet rightfully, thought Rickey wanted the GM job in Brooklyn. The Yankees were still tied up in the Estate of Colonel Ruppert and Connie Mack, well, was Connie Mack—trying to make a living from a failed club in an unforgiving city.

The only way the situation could be worse is if there were only four of us and not six, Rickey pondered over his tea. Six could make a league, especially if the Yankees were one of the six. “Judas Priest, they’ll let it all fall apart for weak held principles.” As rewarding principles are for the next life, an attorney friend once told him, are sometimes are prohibitively expensive in this one. For one of the few times in his life, Rickey was inclined to agree.

The problem, as Rickey saw it, every one of the owners (with the exception of Mack) felt the longer they held on, the more likely it was for them to be invited back into the fold. The hue and cry around the country about the Yankees not being invited to join was telling. The pressure could become so great the NAL would have to take in the Yankees and at least one more. “Then we would be four, and be forced to fold.” He scribbled on his legal pad for a few moments. Realistically only Brooklyn, Cincinnati and the Cardinals had a chance of being invited in with the Yankees. He laughed quietly, all we have to do is find buyers for the Browns and A’s, and convince everyone else it is in our best interest to form our own league.

It could be done, with enough work and sweat, it could be done. But someone would have to make the first step in bringing about order. “If you wait for someone else to save you; someone else will save himself and leave you to die. I do not intend to die.”
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Old 02-02-2006, 03:30 PM   #14
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Faith as a grain of mustard-seed, part 2

“You know, when all is said and done, you’re going to wish you were nicer to ol’ Larry.” MacPhail was even more full of himself than usual; and with good reason. With Dan Topping and Del Webb he had just purchased the Yankee Empire for an unbelievable $2.4 million dollars. (“Less than Ruppert spent on the ground for Yankee Stadium,” he would boast to anyone who would listen.) Even the ice dropped into his glass seemed to be singing his praises.

Rickey’s feud with MacPhail was over a decade old; since McPhail ran the Columbus Redbirds as the Cardinals top minor league club. Rickey resented Leland putting the Redbirds interest over the organization’s; Leland just resented anyone telling him what to do. “Both Crosley and you will end up with a whole lot of nothing, and all I have to do is say ‘the Yankees would love to be apart of the NAL.’ And I’ll just suggest the Browns or Dodgers as the other club, leaving you two out in the cold.”

“Leland, they will only let the Yankees back if they think they can cripple the organization. This whole power play isn’t about the rest of us; it is about bringing the Yanks back to square one.”

“I know,” the smug so and so said between sips. “Still, it is a matter of would I rather screw you and Crosley or be screwed by the rest of those a------s.” MacPhail swung his feet up onto his desk. “Have you dealt with Mack yet?”

Branch shifted uncomfortably, “I’ve been saving that for last. Hard to tell a man like that he isn’t wanted anymore.”

“Well, either you do it or I will.”

“Leland, stop with this.”

“Branch, don’t you get it. I don’t need you. I don’t need the Browns, the Reds, Connie F-----g Mack or any of you. I got the god dammed New York Yankees. And I’m surviving either way.” MacPhail loved watching the pious Rickey flinch at the ‘taking of the lord’s name in vain.’

Rickey rose to leave. “Where the hell are you going?”

“I’m going to report back to Crosley and the rest that the Yankees refuse to work with us. We will fold our clubs, and see how badly the NAL wants you.”

“You’re bluffing.”

“The only leverage you have over the NAL is the possibility of forming a league with us. The Yankees only have value as a major league club—but I dare say you are to be faced with the choice of joining the International League or folding.”

MacPhail laughed. “You are pretty ruthless for a Christian.” He lay back in his chair and pondered for a moment. “I’ll make a deal with you Branch. You get Connie Mack to sell and I’m on board. You have the Yankees as your flagship; Dodgers will go along with whatever we’ll do. And there you have your nice little league.”

“I am not sure Mack wants to sell, he’s been a part of the game so long. . .”

“Damn it Branch, offer to make him league president or something worthless like that. It would be great publicity for us. Means more than the National Commission or whatever those other f----rs are putting forth. Figureheads mean more to the common fan than fancy agreements.”

“We’ll still have the problem of the two Saint Louis clubs.”

“Not my problem Branch. Not my problem. You work it out like big boys so only one of your crap teams is left in the city.” MacPhail worked his way back to the wet bar as Rickey started to leave. “Don’t think this is over Branch; you don’t deal with the devil and expect to get the best of him.”
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:53 PM   #15
SelzShoes
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Faith as a grain of mustard-seed, part 3

“I wish you had come earlier, Dad is much more alert in the mornings,” Earle Mack burned with a cool rage at the guest. After 65 years of play and service to the game, Branch Rickey had arrived to force his father out the door. With no money and no park, Earle knew this was the inevitable outcome of his father’s situation, but the Grand Old Man of the Game deserved; no, earned the right to decide when to close the doors himself. The promise of a buyer for the club and a ceremonial post as President of the Contential League did not soothe the son, only agitated him more. “If Dad wants to fight,” Earle had told his brothers, “then he has every right to.”

“I’ll be as gentle as I can,” the perfunctory politeness of Earle Mack did not set well with Rickey. If this were the best of all possible worlds, Connie Mack would be allowed to run his club into the ground until he had to sell. But MacPhail’s lone demand (“his lone stated demand,” Rickey quickly corrected himself) was Mack was no longer welcome as an owner, not if the Yankees were to play ball, as it were.

The door opened on the cramped modest office. Since the shut down of play, the remains of the Athletics were now collected in this space. No equipment, no accoutrements, just contracts and legal papers residing in boxes and overstuffed cabinets. The old man sat at his desk, moving and wringing his hands purposelessly. “It is nice to know I haven’t been completely forgotten by my brethren.”

“You know why I am here, Mr. Mack?”

“You want me to sell or fold my club. Is that right?” Rickey was actually relieved the conversation had gone on point so quickly. He loathed disingenuous small talk.

“There is a group of gentlemen in Baltimore—they are willing to offer $2 million for all the contracts and rights to the club.”

Mack rose and stiffly walked towards the lone window in the office. “I can see Shibe from here. Athletics used to own that park. Last week, I got a letter from the fellow, what’s his name, Cox, who bought the Phillies, telling me our lease was not to be renewed. And we used to own the place.”

“Things have been tough for everyone the last 15 years, Mr. Mack. You’ve had a good run.” Rickey pulled some papers out of his case. “We would like to offer you the Presidency of the Contential League. It pays well; you won’t have to worry about money anymore.”

“It’s not about the money Branch,” Mack snapped. “You know when I first had piece of ownership? I put $500 into the Brotherhood team in Buffalo. Everything I had, and I lost it. Ruined me—but it did not break me. I withstood the Federals, gambling scandals and the Depression, and now you just walk in and tell me it is over?” Mack slumped against the window, the strain of his anger was becoming too much to bear.

Rickey took a place next to Mack. “There are only a handful of us who the Good Lord allows to choose their time. There are changes coming Mr. Mack, some have already started—we need someone who the public trusts, admires, to help make the medicine go down easier.”

“So that is what I am reduced to? Selling the papers other men’s ideas?”

There was no answer; none Rickey could articulate and not insult the Grand Old Man further. Mack started back to his desk, his legs started to give way. Branch assisted as best he could. “I’m just so tired,” Connie mumbled softly. As Rickey eased his host into the desk chair, Mack wondered softly, “Where are we going to find the money to resign McInnis?” Elbows on desk and hands in face, Mack quietly regained control.

“Mr. Mack, I hesitate to keep pressing, but if you do not sell, the Yankees will not support our league. Without the Yankees there is no league.”

“Colonel Ruppert wouldn’t do that.”


“Ruppert is dead Mr. Mack, he has been for years. It is in everyone’s best interest for you to sell.”

Connie hung his head, “Sometimes, I forget when it is.”

The two men sat in uncomfortable silence, while the Grand Old Man considered the situation. Rickey only hoped it was the situation of today occupying Mack’s mind.

“If I do what you ask, can I have your word as a Christian on something?”

Branch nodded.

“Earle wants to stay in baseball; can I have your word he will have a job in the game as long as he wants?”

“As long as I am affiliated with a club, Earle will have a job in baseball.”

“I suppose that will have to do. Set up the meeting with the Baltimore gentlemen with Earle. I should not let my pride ruin the rest of you.” Rickey shook his hand and turned to leave.

“Branch.”

“Yes Mr. Mack.”

“You know, the moment the Yankees feel it is in their best interest to jump leagues, they will.”

Rickey nodded and continued out the door.
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Old 02-07-2006, 05:19 PM   #16
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Faith as a grain of mustard-seed, part 4

Sam Breadon entered the office of his general manager. In the rapid fire month and a half since Germany’s surrender, Rickey had worked tirelessly bringing the “excluded” clubs together in the semblance of a new league. The fragile alliance still faced hurdles, most prominently two clubs still bickering about Saint Louis, but Rickey felt the Contential League was going to make a decent go of it. For now though, Rickey was content of resuming some of the long neglected GM duties.

All of the clubs were facing the same quandary as Rickey; who is on the roster? To that end, Rickey was combing through contracts, both major and minor league, trying to get a handle on who actually was still a Cardinal. Marty Marion had sent notice he was ready to report to spring training when the club needed, but beyond him the roster was a muddle.

Breadon stood in the doorway and cleared his throat. “Have you heard?”

“About the new National Agreement?” The National American League was trying to force through a new arrangement solidifying the majors hold on the minor leagues. In principle, Rickey was in total agreement with what they were trying to accomplish. However, he understood the real purpose of the move was to choke off the pipeline of the minors to any competing League. Word was the minors were heading for a similar spit as the majors as the American Association and International League clubs with working agreement with Contential clubs opposed to its passage.

“The Dodgers have hired Burt Shotton as their GM.” Rickey paused and lifted his head from his work. He had assumed when the matters of league formation were done with, the Dodger job, almost his in 1942, would come to him. “I guess they didn’t know how long you were going to be tied up with me.”

“We still have a team to build here.”

Breadon shook his head. “Branch, if it wasn’t for the shutdown, you and I would have parted company a long time ago. I’m exercising the option in your contract—I’m buying you out. As of midnight tonight you are no longer in the employ of the St. Louis Cardinals. I just had to be sure you weren’t going to a team that I think can beat us. Nothing personal, it is just—I didn’t want you to do for them what you did for me.””

Rickey stood and collected his coat and hat. “I’ll be back to clear out my things in the morning, Sam.”
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Old 02-09-2006, 05:41 PM   #17
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The Return of the Babe, part 2

“Yeah . . . You got him . . . Yes . . . I could be there today if . . . No, tomorrow is fine . . . 10 am . . . Do I know where to go? Hell, I practically built the God dammed place . . . I’ll see you then; sure as sh*t you won’t be disappointed!

They called! The God Dammed Yankees finally called!”
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Old 02-23-2006, 05:38 PM   #18
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The Mahatma and the Master of Ballyhoo, part 1

"Clyde, I've got a scouting job for you. Yes, I know I don't have team right now, leave that to me. I need you to go south for a couple weeks . . .
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Old 03-02-2006, 10:16 AM   #19
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Hey Kids!

Hey Kids! Bing wants your help in finding a name for Los Angeles' new MAJOR LEAGUE baseball club. Bing put together this list of names he likes, but just can't decided which would be the best one for the team. Check the appropriate box and mail this coupon to:

Name Game
c/o Los Angeles Times
Box 74
Los Angeles, CA

10 kids who vote for the winning name will recieve complementary membership in the Los Angeles Baseball team's Kids Club. Benefits include Kids Club Tee-Shirt, tickets to selected games, an autographed team ball and invitation to a special Father's Day picnic at Wrigley Field with Bing and his kids!
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Old 03-03-2006, 12:09 PM   #20
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The Seduction of Joe DiMaggio, Part 1

For a man who was seemingly loved by millions, Joe DiMaggio was never comfortable with the glare of the public eye. The money was great, as was playing ball for a living; but as he became more successful he became more detached from teammates and fans. A lonely man in a sea of seven million who trusted no one he did not know before coming east.

Since his discharge from the army, Joe had spent more time back home on the west coast. Everything was more leisurely, not the quickquickquick of New York. Sure he was recognized when he went out to restaurants and theaters, but he was not mobbed. These people, his people, respected his space and privacy.

More than anything, this is why he was heading to this party. Normally, Joe hated these get togethers; people he did not know fawning over him. Telling him how they “knew what kind of guy he was,” when even Joe did not know what kind of guy he was sometimes.

DiMaggio grabbed the invite and looked himself over in the mirror. “A picture of cool,” he observed to no one. “Well, Bing, let’s see what game you want to play.”
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Old 03-03-2006, 01:42 PM   #21
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A death unmourned, part 1

During the war, while major leaguers toiled for industrial and military teams, one somewhat familiar name kept playing on: the Kansas City Monarchs. Despite fuel and tire restrictions, J. L. Wilkinson and Tom Baird managed to keep the club going and profitable, when all logic dictated the team should have closed operation like every other team. To be sure the Manleys and other still operated their clubs as barnstormers, but the Monarchs were different. The Newark Eagles rarely traveled west of Pennsylvania, the Monarchs covered not just the United States, but Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean too. Of course the Monarchs had the one thing even white folks wanted to see: Satchel Paige.

Paige’s legend was such the Monarchs could pay the most famous Negro hurler in America $37,000 a year with a slapdash schedule and enormous travel expenses. Satch would come on, pitch two or three innings and the crowds would go home happy. It had gotten to the point that if Paige was not able to pitch, it was better to cancel the game and refund tickets than deal with the messy aftermath of a Satchel-less game.

Paige’s presence had drawn many of the top Negro players to the Monarchs. It was, according to some of the top black newspapers, like watching half of the East-West Game when the Monarchs came to town. Now, with the end of the war in sight, the Negro American League and Negro National League were both starting to show signs of life. Wendell Smith of the Pittsburgh Courier spoke for many when he wrote, “It is the hope of the fans of Negro baseball that the moguls involved will use this new beginning to correct the multitude of missteps made before the war.” Smith, and other sportswriters, had been urging the leagues to adopt a set schedule, formalize contracts, employ statisticians and hire a commissioner to oversee disputes between the leagues. With budgets that before the war were on the level of a typical white D league club, some wondered if Negro baseball would ever clean up its own house to get the respect many felt it deserved.

But those were debates for the future—though all too often in Negro baseball the future never came. John “Buck” O’Neil was concerned with the here and now. A tour through the normally unprofitable south was pulling in crowds comparable to some northern cities before the war. The players hated these trips; accommodations and dining were lacking in many towns. And players sometimes skirted the mores that southern blacks and white knew all to well. Difficult trips to make.

"He's here again," Jackie Robinson said to Buck as they left the field. O'Neil nodded; he had seen the white man too. Memphis, Little Rock, Jackson, Birmingham and all the spots in between, there he had been. Furiously scribbling as the games went on with no effort to hide his attendance. "Do you think he's a scout?"

"Only two reasons why he'd be following us," O'Neil replied. "And I hope he isn't a private detective." There had been rumblings that Gus Greenlee, a big player in Negro ball in the 1930's, was forming a league that had the formal accoutrements of the white leagues. "I suppose I own it to JL to find out." Buck wrote a note on a scrape of paper and called for an usher. "Take this to the gentleman with the notebook in the section behind home, and please direct him to the team bus." The young man nodded and headed towards the section. "Gene, I need you to take over at first for me--Quincy, run the team for me; make sure Satch gets in by the 6th, let him go as long as he wants--I'll be in the bus if you need me."
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Old 03-03-2006, 01:50 PM   #22
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Drinks with Dizzy, part 1

. . . So the son of a bitch is standing there, holding the girl and he say, "Honest skip, I didn't know she was your daughter." Dumb bastard finds himself on the next train to Georgia and never made it back. So the lesson is never screw some nameless bimbo, at least ask what her last name is before you nail her. Oh brother, can you believe it--KSD wants me to do a baseball show for NBC with Frank Eschen, since the majors or something similar to it at least is going to be starting up, get people back in the mood for the game, that sort of thing. Doing the same thing I'm doing now, 'scept I'd be getting paid instead of buying drinks and steaks for you freeloaders every night. Just telling stories, not the same ones I tell you boys. Thems strictly for the fathers, if you know what I mean. They give me enough trouble with how I talk on the radio; I don't need anymore grief from the teachers and all those other do-gooders. They want something for the kids, I guess—people who don’t have the spirit we’ve got, eh fellers. I’ll drink to that. Anyway, I got to thinking to myself, “Diz, you’ve given that ol’ wing of yours a rest for a couple years, why not see if they can use a wily ol’ vet on the club.” Yeah, I’m serious about that. With all the garbage goings on with the whatever the hell they’re calling the two leagues now—somebody like me, put some asses in the seats to see ol’ Diz; I think I could give a club some wins. You saw how I threw in the War Bond game last year—plenty of zip back on there. Ok, maybe I’m not like I was in 1933 or 34, but I’m at least as good as I was with the Cubs back in 1938. Man, I was a pitcher that year, now if I got the pop back on the ol’ number 1, look out brother I’m coming back. Hell, all I needs is a chance to show what I can do; bet the Brownies would give me a shot, and even if I don’t I got something to talk about in the booth when I get back to call their games. Yeah, I know, I know, they ain’t gonna be in St. Louis next year, that’s flat out bullsh*t, all this hullabaloo, I don’t know what everyone is all up in arms about. This is a Cardinals town now, and there ain’t but room for one club here. Still think of all the ticket I could sell wherever the Brownies end up, man, I’m telling you brother it will be beautiful. Anyway, that reminds me of a story I was told about when the Federals were playing, it seems . . .
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Old 03-06-2006, 03:37 PM   #23
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The Mahatma and the Master of Ballyhoo, part 1

"I must admit, you would make a great salesman Mr. Rickey.” Long time Cubs executive Bill Veeck was intrigued by the Browns’ situation. Veeck had been considering a bid for the Cleveland Indians, but the Browns had the potential to be a more valuable purchase. “Still I’m not wanting to buy a charity case, I’d like to make some money on this deal eventually.”

“Well, Mr. Veeck the Cardinals would love to own Sportsman’s Park; the lease is $35,000 each season.” During Rickey’s tenures with both Saint Louis clubs he had been all too aware of the financial pressures they existed under. Even with the edge in attendance, the Cardinals were always one of the more cash-poor squads in the National League. Rickey, not without reason, attributed a large portion of the Cardinals successes to his superior roster manipulation. “Breadon could buy either directly from DeWitt or from us. Our cost could be as little as $1.5 million.”

“So, where do we move them?” Veeck edged closer to his suitor. The projections in attendance for the three clubs that had already announced were astronomical. The value of the club would at least double from the change in venue. But long term profits were contengent on two main factors: the stadium and the level of play on the field.

“An AA or IL city would make the most sense: Minneapolis, Kansas City or Columbus.” Branch saw a the markets on the west coast as offering even larger profits, but the outcry and threats from the Pacific Coast League over the former White Sox club’s move made it a risky move at the moment.

Veeck slapped his hands in excitement. ”I got it! We buy the club and do a whirlwind tour of interested cities. Check out the facilities, that sort of thing. Tons of press—we go to the city we feel gives us the best chance to succeed.”

“I honestly think that Kansas City may turn out to be our best option.”

“Off the record, I agree with you, but the tour would drum up a tremendous amount of publicity for the Contential League.” The energy suddenly disappeared as Veeck begun to calculate the negatives of the transaction. Most notable of the worries: the quality of the Browns roster. “The thing I worry about most is will the people show up for this club. People won’t go to a loser, even if it is Major League.”

“I have a plan to make this team an instant contender,” Rickey stated calmly.

“You old horse trader. I don’t doubt your talent, but can you give me an idea before I commit?” Veeck knew Rickey could turn a bad team into a elite squad if given the time to build an infrastructure. The Browns would be lacking in the organizational depth Rickey was famous for winning with.

“When Cox bought the Phillies, you had an interest at that time, correct?”

“Yes. Made the mistake of telling Landis what my intentions were.”

”And those were?”

“Are they the same as yours with the Browns?”

Rickey nodded.

“Will Mack approve the contracts? Great baseball man, but he was born during the Civil War, will he be friendly to the idea?”

“I assure you, Connie Mack will do what is necessary to keep this league afloat. Do not underestimate his bitterness towards the NAL teams for taking his livelihood.”

“So, how many negros are we talking about? The public, even in Kansas City or Minneapolis, might not be too supportive of an all-black squad.”

“I have a man on it now, obviously it depends on who is determined to be on the roster.”

“Branch you glorious bastard. You rise to every challenge with something like this. I toast you.”

“So, we have a deal?”

“I think we do.”
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Old 03-06-2006, 04:22 PM   #24
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The Return of the Babe, part 3

The whole ride over, the great Babe fidgeted like a schoolboy. His suit was too tight and his wife kept nagging him to bring along his attorney; the nerves had not been this shaky since he returned from his suspensions back in 1925.

There was disappointment when his arrival was not met with the throng of reporters and photographers such an announcement warranted. “Must want to be sure I want the job first,” he said to his wife to reassure himself. On the way into the offices he obliged a newsboy with an autograph. He signed the sports section with, ‘Babe Ruth, Yankee Mgr.’

As he entered Ruppert’s office (It would always be the Colonel’s office to him) Ruth only recognized MacPhail, Topping and Webb—and that only from their pictures in the papers. The other two men were unknown, “Probably bean counters,” Ruth whispered to himself.

MacPhail, still sober, introduced his co-owners and a Mr. Hoffberger of Baltimore. Leland started to speak of tradition, and how much Ruth meant to the Yankees and Baseball. Droning on and on about publicity and getting things off to the right start for the Contential League—and how the Babe could be a large part of that. “The old traditions mix with the new ones,” MacPhail said. The money talked about seemed low for a man of the Babe’s stature, but they explained he had no experience managing and it was just a starting point, but if he had success . . .

“So, you don’t want me to manage the Yankees?”

The suits looked nervously back and forth at each other. “Babe,” MacPhail said, almost pleading, “We thought you wanted to get back in the game?”

“With the Yankees, not with Baltimore. I don’t think I should have to start in the minors,” Ruth had always felt implying he needed the minors to ‘learn the trade’ was an insult to his intelligence.

Webb shook his head, “No, this is the old A’s squad—it is every bit major league.”

MacPhail raised his hand and asked everyone but the Babe to leave.
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Old 03-08-2006, 09:35 AM   #25
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The Return of the Babe, part 4

The room felt small to Ruth. Not the ‘I’m larger than life’ small he was used to either. No, this was a disquieting small; suffocating and uncomfortable. Leland MacPhail pace around the Colonel’s old desk, clucking his tongue with snide disapproval.

“I thought we could count on you Babe,” MacPhail oozed an oily confidence. “We need star power in Baltimore to put some asses in the seat; and everyone hoped it would be you.”

Ruth dropped his head, the idea that people were counting on him and he let them down bothered him greatly. He took great care to play the part of the beloved superstar; always making sure the reality of the Babe came close to the fans image of him. “I just had thought the Yankees needed me.”

“I know Babe, but look at the League’s situation here. The club in Baltimore, we don’t know if they will be any good. Think how many people will come to see you in uniform again! Think of all the kids who never saw you play who will be able to see you on the field, where you belong.” Leland watched as the great man slowly began to crumble before him.

“I hadn’t thought about the kids,” Ruth muttered softly.

Leland kneeled next to the Babe, placing his hand on the great man’s back. “Babe, the Yankees are asking this one last favor from you: Take the Baltimore job. We need everyone to draw well. The Yanks, we’ll be fine whoever we put in the dugout—but you could be the difference in Baltimore.” MacPhail began to rise, explaining how Ruth was the star who would not just save Baltimore’s season, but possibly the whole league as well.

The Yankees’ GM had a well-deserved reputation as a shrewd trader. He would say, “There is a moment in every negotiation when the other fellow will crack. The key is recognizing that moment, and offering just enough more to have him agree.” The idea was the extra bit would always seem bigger at the right moment in the negotiation; now was that moment with Ruth.

“Babe, if you take the Baltimore job, I promise you the next time the Yankee job is available, it is yours.”

“Are you serious or are you just jerking me around?”

“The Yankees are always serious. We’ll have to keep this between ourselves, I would hate for you to lose out because of a tampering charge.”

“Well, Bub, if I got you’re word on that, then tell them, the Babe is coming to Baltimore!”
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Old 03-08-2006, 09:52 AM   #26
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The Return of the Babe, part 5

“George, I don’t have a good feeling about this—you really should have got something in writing.”

“But then that would be tampering, and they wouldn’t be able to hire me when the time comes. Look, one year in Baltimore, and then we’re back here, like nothing happened.”

“I wish you would have brought our lawyer and . . .”

“Hey, the day a man’s word isn’t good enough for Babe Ruth is the day I’ll be dead.”
---------------------
“So how did you get him to agree to the Baltimore job, he seems so dead set against it?”

“I told the big monkey that he’s next in line for the Yankee job.”

“My God, you aren’t serious?”

”You think I’d let that buffoon anywhere near our club—give me some credit Dan. With that club, he’ll be lucky to not finish last; then we have all the reason in the world not to hire him.”

“You had me worried there a moment Larry. Great publicity for the league having him as a manager though.”
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Old 03-08-2006, 09:53 AM   #27
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No pinstripes for the Babe then?
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Old 03-08-2006, 11:35 AM   #28
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Karma should be served up in large doses of "Baltimore wins a championship" for this....
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Old 03-08-2006, 12:07 PM   #29
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Unfortunatly for the Babe, he spent alot of his post-Yankee years being lied to. When he went to the Braves in 1935, it was in part because Judge Fuchs promised him the managers job; same with his coaching gig with the Dodgers a few years after that (when he would volunteer to play firstbase in exhibition games despite failing eyesight that put him in serious danger of being hit by a throw). True the Yankees did make the offer of thier top minor league club, the Newark Bears, but rightly or wrongly, Babe wanted that major league job. He is one of those men who did so much for the sport that no one gave him a shot to manage is borderline criminal.
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Old 03-08-2006, 01:49 PM   #30
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A death unmourned, part 3

The two men situated themselves on the benches of the bus. Clyde Sukeforth had suspected the Monarchs were aware of his trailing the club. It was the mores of the South, he thought, had kept any representative of the club from approaching him. They exchanged pleasantries before John O’Neil began the conversation.

“Any of my men in trouble?”

Sukeforth had to hold back a laugh; it never occurred to him that his presence was thought of in such a dark way. “I work for Branch Rickey, I’ve been doing some scouting for him.”

“Answers my second question too,” O’Neil however was more confused now he knew that detail. “So what does a white league GM want to know about us?”

Rickey had given Sukeforth a tremendous amount of leeway in what to say if confronted by members and officials of the teams being followed. He had rehearsed the cover story over and over, but Clyde had expected to be confronted by executives, not the player-manager. Sukeforth started to tell the tale of how the Contential League was looking to add two more teams, and raise the possibility that they could be all-negro teams. Stammering and tripping over his words, it was clear the cover story would fool no one.

“I’m not stupid Mr. Sukeforth, give me some credit.”

“You’re right Mr. O’Neil. I want to apologize for trying to lie to you.”

“I’ll only accept your apology if you give me the truth.”

“Branch is putting a group together to buy the Browns. The plan is to stock the rosters with you fellers.”

Buck’s face lit up, this is what all the struggles of the Negro Leagues had been for. “Just Monarchs?”

“I have a trip to see Newark and the Stars later this month.” Sukeforth saw the joy and hope in the face of his host. He looked down at his shoes on the floor of the bus. “You aren’t one of the players we are interested in.”

O’Neil felt a sharp pain in his heart. He was sitting in on the biggest moment for the black ballplayer, only to hear it was not to be for him. A few awkward moments passed before he softly stammered, “Who?”

“Robinson, Trouppe, Piper—maybe Paige,” Sukeforth had broken many boy’s dreams, but never a man’s. “The idea is for us to sign the best of the colored players and then have a tryout camp for any other club that might want to sign you.”

The two men sat silent until the cheers of the crowd—welcoming Satchel Paige to the mound—broke the tension.

“You don’t want Piper,” Buck finally said. “He’s had some troubles. Artie Wilson, I think he’s with the Elite Giants now, would be a better man. Much more sense about him, especially for dealing with white folk.”

Sukeforth could barely contain his shock. It was beyond what he understood that someone like O’Neil would try to ‘hold back’ one of his own. Buck read the reaction, “You don’t just need good players, you need good men. That’s the only way this will work.”

A half-hour later, Sukeforth stood to leave the bus, with scouting reports of various players O’Neil felt he should consider. “I have you word, John?”

O’Neil nodded, “Yes, this is between us.”

“We should have our decisions made in a couple months. I’ll make sure you get an invitation to the tryout camp. It’s the least I can do.”

”Least you could do is nothing.” The two men shook hands, “All a man wants is a chance.”

“Thanks John, I’ll be in touch.”

”My friends call me Buck.”

“Thanks, Buck.”
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Old 03-08-2006, 06:28 PM   #31
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The seduction of Joe DiMaggio, part 2

“Swinging party, Bing,” after playing under the glare of the New York lights, very little impressed Joe DiMaggio. Still, meeting top star after top star from music and movies was too much for the most stoic men in baseball. “I’m more of a Sinatra man myself, but this has been nice.”

“Oh, I understand—you paisans stick together,” Bing winked as he cleaned out his pipe. “You added much needed class to this little soiree.”

Joe shifted on the couch. He knew what was coming next; it had been coming from the moment he received his invite. “Probably shouldn’t be fraternizing with the enemy. I should be going.” Joe rose to shake his host’s hand.

“Say no more, son. I’d be insulting you if I didn’t try to pitch you to coming to LA, playing for my Lancers.”

“I have a contract with the Yankees, I can’t change teams.”

“Do you? Our attorney looked at the standard Major League contract and he found two very interesting things.” Crosby turned on an overhead projector, putting a photographic image of Joe’s 1941 contract on the wall. “First, the option clause is only for 1 year, you signed this 4 years ago. And second, the organization approving this deal doesn’t exist anymore. The American League is no more. That doesn’t sound like a man who is under contract to me, but what do I know, I’m just a singer.”

Joe started to get up again, the thought of leaving the Yankees making him a little sick to his stomach. “I really need to get out of here, Mr. Crosby.”

“Now, now—wait,” Bing threw up the stop sign like a third base couch. “All I’m asking is you listen, no pressure, son.” Bing walked to the overhead and circled the dollar amount on the photo. “You were paid $37,500.00 in 1941.”

“Yes, sir,” as wrecked his insides felt, he was every bit the cool operator he appeared on the field.

“What are the Yankees offering you for the upcoming season?”

“I don’t know, $40,000, $42,000.”

“Could be more.”

“Sure, it could be more,” Joe didn’t like talking about his money with a stranger.

“Could be less too?”

Joe nodded.

“Joe, you lost four prime earning years to the war. How many years do you have left?” Crosby walked around the room, easy as easy can be. “Me, an actor, singer, I’ve got years to earn my money back, but how long does a ballplayer have?”

“Look, I really need to go.”

“Son, how much did you lose because of the war? $160,000? $250,000? And you think you are going to make that back at $40,000 a year.” Crosby handed Joe a pen and notepad. “Tell me what you are worth.”

Joe wrote a number down and showed it to Bing.

“Think bigger, son. Don’t let those cheapskates make you undervalue yourself.”

Joe pulled the notepad back and crossed out $50,000. He stared at the page, hoping the number would form by themselves. Crosby walked next to the ballplayer, putting his hand fatherly on Joe’s shoulder. “It’s not just the money. You’re a west coast boy, so much closer to your people. You know how your people are treated in New York. Sure they treat you like a king, but you strike out and suddenly your just another God damned wop bastard.” DiMaggio thought about the ‘No Italians Wanted’ some business put on their ‘Help Wanted’ signs. He thought about how much he missed he calm of the Pacific Coast.

Bing reached over a took the pen and wrote a number on the pad. “That is what you are worth to me.”

Joe felt like he was going to faint. He thought about his bitter holdout in 1938 for just over $38,000. He thought about how hard he had to fight the Yankees for every nickel and how the fans gave him the business for it.

“You think that over, son. Give me a call in couple days, no pressure. If you want to stay in New York, no hard feelings—just business. I’ll get one of the boys to show you the way out.”

DiMaggio nodded and started towards the door. He dropped the top page from the note pad into a trash bin as he walked out. If one looked into the bin, the figure Crosby wrote remained visible: 200,000
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Old 03-08-2006, 06:46 PM   #32
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The Mahatma and the Master of Ballyhoo, part 2

[Newsreel with narration] Just days after purchasing the St. Louis Browns, Bill Veeck and Branch Rickey start a cross-country tour to find a home for the beleaguered club. Toady they are in Columbus, Ohio; touring the facilities of the Columbus Redbirds. With Milwaukee, Los Angeles and Baltimore adding their names to the roster of Big League Cities, the next in line is soon to arise to the occasion. With Newark, Minneapolis and Kansas City scheduled for stops, another of America’s great cities will be able to boast, “We’re in the Majors!”[/newsreel]
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Old 03-09-2006, 10:33 AM   #33
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Which way the wind blows, part 4

“Does anyone have any additional comments? Mr. Perini.”

Lou Perini stood before his fellow NAL owners. “Please, we have to be patient. Yes the press is hard on us for excluding the Yankees, and it appears the Contential League is getting the positive press—but if we just wait a couple more months, I’m telling you the Yankees will come to us. The plan is not to exclude them, but to wait until we have the upper hand.”

“My God, do you hear what the New York papers are saying about me,” Stoneham of the Giants yelled. “I will not have me and my club savaged so.”

“And what kind of hero will you be when we let the Yankees in? All the people care about is if the Yankees are part of our league—the date of admittance does not matter. Have you given thought to who the second team added should be?”

Phil Wrigley chimed in, “It should be a National League club. St. Louis seems to be stable now.”

Perini was red with rage, “There is no National League. The only thing that matters is this league right now, the old structures, rivalries, they are dead now.”

“Since this discussion is going nowhere, I suggest we vote: Do we approach the Yankees to join us.” Briggs of Detroit suggested. After a seconding, the matter went to the owners. Fourteen to two to invite the Yankees back, with only Milwaukee and Los Angeles against.

“Tom, I thought you understood what we were trying to do here?” Perini pleaded with Yawkey.

“Lou, the papers are just ripping us. I can’t take that kind of negative press.”

Perini stood, “Fine, go find out what they want to join. If you had just waited, we could’ve dictated the terms, but now. You are right back where we started on this. Don’t bitch to me when the Yanks have left us all in the dust because of your cowardice.”
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Old 03-10-2006, 01:05 PM   #34
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Just a note

Just a note to anyone reading on what is going on. Right now, I have only two post close to ready. Since I have three more storylines I'd like to start building before I start the season, I'm putting this thread aside until at least next weekend. I will update the roster thread (linked in my last post).

Ultimately, there will be a couple CIE threads on the board. This thread will be the main one, telling the story of the leagues. The TSN Roster thread will be used for transactions and roster commentary (that is, commentary not part of the storyline). When I start the season, I plan on keeping the game reporting in another thread as well; I don't like scrolling through a week of game reports before a storyline post--keeping them seperate will make it easier to follow. And there will be occasional supplements like "Hey Kids" for things that don't quite fit anywhere else.

Anyway that is the direction this is heading; I hope you stay with us awhile.
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Old 03-10-2006, 06:29 PM   #35
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Good luck. You've got a reader.

Sports and alternate history in one storyline. Good stuff.
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Old 03-11-2006, 07:34 PM   #36
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Amazing read. You are a wonderful writer and had me at the edge of the seat a few times. Great job in mixing in actuality within a new scenario - the mark of a true alternate historian. When you get back, can you provide us with a summary of where the two leagues stand?
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Old 03-13-2006, 11:39 AM   #37
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Clyde Sukeforth's Scouting Reports

Robinson, Jackie: Possibly too muscular to play short regularly, has shown himself to be adequate defensively all over the field, best bet would be on the corners somewhere. Seems to be good for 12-15 HR a season, with plenty of doubles. Not the fastest of the negroes I’ve seen, but a very cunning base runner. Was All-American at UCLA, has shown ability to thrive while playing in mixed situation. Articulate. Temperament is well suited for the increased pressure. No ‘set’ position, but versatility makes him an asset

Davis, Piper: No power. Style of play would have fit with the McGraw/Speaker era. Cat quick and sure handed on diamond. Risk taker on base paths and in field; not sure how well that will translate with faster opponents. Personal life does not bear well under close scrutiny. Loses focus in lop sided games; a little too much ‘fancy dan’ play. Could hit .300, but it would be a very empty .300.

Trouppe, Quincy: Very good bat for a catcher, not elite, but the next level down. Lifestyle of the barnstormer begs the question: but for how long? Strong throwing arm, but again, how will that translate with faster, smarter base runners. Adaptable—handles 2-3 pitchers a game. Good feel for the game, has understanding of fielder placement—makes in game adjustments because of lack of scouting reports. Game calling ability still unknown—level of opposition makes strategic pitch calling useless.

Paige, Satchel: At least 40, but still a formidable presence on the mound. Durability is a question—has only had a handful of appearances over 3 innings since the war. Probably more useful as a Fred Marberry type pitcher than regular starter. Motion is clearly a balk; don’t know how effective he could be under major league rules. Control is still impeccable, but may throw too many strikes. ML hitters could foul off his borderline pitches. Being paid $37,000 by Monarchs, might not be worth it as a sometime pitcher.
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Old 03-15-2006, 09:48 AM   #38
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The Seduction of Joe DiMaggio, part 3

Yankee Stadium
New York, NY
August 15, 1945.

Mr. DiMaggio,

Please find enclosed a standard Contential League contract for you to sign. Our offer of $40,000.00 for the 1946 is more than fair, given the financial difficulties of our club during the break in play.

Return the contract in the enclosed envelope as soon as possible. Postage must be included for proper return.

Respectfully,

{Signature} Larry MacPhail {End of signature}

Joseph DiMaggio,
San Francisco, California
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Old 03-15-2006, 03:15 PM   #39
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Which way the wind blows, part 5

The faces of most of the 11 other National American League owners were white with terror. Phil Wrigley finally said what they all were thinking, “Bing, what have you done.”

“I signed the best player I could for my team,” Crosby stated matter of factly. “We’re doing what we can to win. Look, fellas, the Yankees are only popular because they win—they start losing players, losing games, then no one will care the if the Yankees are big league or small time.”

“Bing, we’re near a deal to have the Yankees jump—we already have the Cardinals on board, this ruins everything,” Briggs of Detroit was near tears.

The only other owner smiling was Lou Perini. Cries of player raids and lawsuits were shouted across the meeting table. When the noise had settled, Perini rose to speak, “I assure you there will be no lawsuits gentlemen. MacPhail may bark, but the risk is too much.” Insults were spat at the maverick owner with little regard to offending anyone.

“Bub’s right about that one,” Bing cheerfully volunteered.

“What do you know about anything Crosby, you’re new here.”

“Well I do know that if the Yankees sue, and we win, then the whole idea of the reserve clause could be overturned. It’s in there best interest to shut their yaps.”

Perini continued the thinking, “A player without a signed contract is fair game. Excuse me; a Contential player without a contract is fair game.”

“But what is to stop them from raiding our players?” Phil Wrigley looked like he was going to be ill.

“Nothing, but our clubs are in better financial shape. The better players will come to us; the Contential will wither and die. And then we take the Yankees back, if it is worth it to us.”
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Old 03-15-2006, 07:00 PM   #40
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The Man from the Bronx comes home, part 1

The Man from the Bronx comes home, part 1

"Hank, the phone," Carol Gimble, heir to the Gimble Department Stores called for her fiancée. Hopefully, this was the call telling him Rudy York had finally been traded. "I'm almost 35 and spent four years in the army," he had told Walter Briggs, "I'm not running around the damm outfield anymore." The Tigers weren't even willing to give something similar to the 'position change' bonus he had received in 1940 when Baker put York at first. Greenberg had managed to get some leverage, threatening to retire if forced to play left again; no signature on the contract until Rudy was an ex-Tiger.

"It's the Yankees," she whispered, huge smile on her lips. Greenberg snatched the phone quickly.

"Greenberg, Larry MacPhail here-I want you to come down to my office. We want to find out what it will take to bring you to the Yankees," the voice on the other end was liquor quick and full of venom. With DiMaggio jumping to the Lancers, the Pinstripes had a massive right-handed void in their line up.

"Mr. MacPhail, I'm here with my fiancée, I don't really want to make a trip if it isn't worth my time. Unless you are willing to start at $75,000 and a guarantee of not having to play anywhere other than first, I won't even come down."

Hank was surprised; MacPhail answered without a pause. "Hell, I was going to start at 100 grand, but if you want to go lower, fine by me." The bourbon was thick in the GM's voice. Larry MacPhail was notorious for trying to negotiate deals and contracts while three sheets to the wind; then not recalling any details, sometimes not even remembering there were negotiations at all.

"Can we set up a breakfast meeting Mr. MacPhail, I do have a very busy day before me," Greenberg hoped catching Leland early would mean a sober MacPhail. The two made plans and exchanged good byes. Carol was next to him in an instant.

"The Yankees want you to play in New York?" Her faced glowed with anticipation. "That would be most wonderful.

"Yeah, I guess. Hard to tell, the guy was drunk," Carol's smile faded somewhat. "But I do have a meeting, so they must be serious."

"I do so hope it is true, I don't really want to live in Detroit."

"Hey, that town's been good to me," he playfully snapped at his bride-to-be, grabbing her around the waist. He looked into her eyes, "They gave DiMaggio $200,000, what do you think I'm worth?"

"You are every bit the romantic, Mr. Greenberg."
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Old 03-15-2006, 07:16 PM   #41
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Just a note

I'm going to be away from a computer for a few days, so this should be the last post for a few days. Might do some editing of the last two post, but definately will be making a lengthy post (or series of post) that sets up the next act of getting ready for the season.

Thank you again for your readership.
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Old 03-20-2006, 11:09 AM   #42
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Reader Mail

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoyalReader
OK, I think you lost me or at least I'm getting confused after reading your latest posts.

I wanted to address this part of a PM from a LoyalReader. If that is how you are feeling, then I’ve done part of what I wanted to accomplish in this first part of this dynasty. The “who is playing where” in the pre-television day would have been acute in a quickly shifting scenario like this one. The movement of teams and players, especially in a situation where status quo would have been assumed, would have confused the ‘typical’ fan. I’m not saying they wouldn’t be able to understand what was going on, but they would not had anywhere near the information we take for granted.

So we are done with phase 1: League building. The next post, which will be coming later, closes out phase 1 and starts on the team building aspects of the story. Hope you stick with us.
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:42 PM   #43
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Interlude: The Sporting News Reports, part 1

Without a pitch being thrown; one of the most monumental summers in the history of baseball has just ended. More ‘experienced’ writers whose memories extend back to the days of the Federal challenge can not remember a time of such upheaval and displacement. Only the wake of the Black Sox controversy pushed the structure of the game to such a breaking point; and even then, calmer heads prevailed. The basic fabric of the game had not been broken.

Now with spring training a mere four months away, the geography of the game--a static comfort for almost fifty years--has shifted dramatically. From a steady eleven cities to a teetering giant of nineteen, the national game truly is that for the first time.

However, as the reach of the highest level of baseball extends westward the question of quality rises in even the most casual of fan. Bigger is not always better to Mr. and Mrs. Sportfan, the proof will be in the play. We here at The Sporting News have prided ourselves on being the best source for baseball news and notes. So, for you fans who find the shifting of teams and players as hard to figure as we do, we offer the following recap of the last half-year.
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Old 03-22-2006, 06:18 PM   #44
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Interlude: The Sporting News Reports, part 2

Interlude: The Sporting News Reports, part 2

Just when sanity seemingly was restored with a 10 team and a 6-team league, a trio of announcements shook the game further.

The conference was, obstinately being used to announce the final destination of the former Saint Louis Browns. Owner Bill Veeck and General Manager Branch Rickey had more in store for the assembled press. In addition to announcing the agreement to bring the club to Kansas City's Ruppert Stadium, Rickey and Veeck announced the signing of seven Negro ballplayers to the club. League President Connie Mack, in attendance, confirmed he had approved the contracts for the upcoming season. The seven players added-infielders Jackie Robinson, Ray Dandridge and Artie Wilson; outfielders Monte Irvin and Willard Brown; pitchers Leon Day and Satchel Paige-are by all accounts, decent ballplayers. With Paige being the most well known of the lot. Even though Veeck has a reputation as the type of man who values publicity more than results, the pair insists the signings are not for press alone. Rickey, who indicated more Negroes could be signed, stated emphatically the goal is the fly the Contential pennant over Ruppert Stadium.

Rickey further noted a try out camp would be held in the Kansas City area for Negro players, for any club-from either league-interested in tapping this source of players. As of press time, no NAL club and only a handful CL clubs have accepted the invitation.

Less than a week later, a story broke in the St. Louis Post: the Saint Louis Cardinals were preparing to switch leagues. In an unfortunate account of race relations in the Gateway City, owner Sam Breadon stated he did not believe the City of Saint Louis would take to integrated ball. The Cardinals' ownership, whose Sportsman's Park is the only major league field left with segregated stands, felt "now is not the time for mixed race baseball. "

Eyes moved east, as the public fully expected the Yankees to jump as well, and ending the tradition of two-league baseball. The public outcry over the Yankees' exclusion had consumed more newsprint than any story since the Babe swatted 60. This seemed to be the best solution for all fans; eliminating four bad clubs seemed to be in the offing. General Manager Larry MacPhail was coy about the Yankees' intentions, but the rumble of rumor said it was a done deal. Until Joe DiMaggio signed with the Los Angeles Lancers for a record $200,000. The Yankees publicly demanded the return of the superstar as price of their entrance into the NAL. When LA owner Bing Crosby refused under any circumstances to do so, MacPhail withdrew back into the Contential. Within days, the Yankees in revenge had signed Hank Greenberg and Bob Feller. Ted Williams reportedly turned down $175,000 to jump from the Red Sox to the Yankees. And the final act of vengeance came with the Contential announcing Buffalo, Columbus and Minneapolis would be added to their roll. The three cities just happened to house the number one farm team for Detroit, Saint Louis and the Giants respectively.

The NAL has since convinced the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League to make the jump the major league level, bringing their number to 12. The PCL had already approved a squad for Phoenix to replace the valuable Los Angeles territory; now they face the decision of whether to find another city for expansion or fold one franchise.
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Old 03-22-2006, 06:20 PM   #45
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For those scoring at home

Code:
National-American League Contential League Pacific Coast League Boston Red Sox Baltimore Athletics Hollywood Stars Chicago Cubs Brooklyn Dodgers Oakland Oaks Cleveland Indians Buffalo Bisons Phoenix Senators Detroit Tigers Columbus Red Birds Portland Beavers Los Angeles Lancers Cincinnati Reds Sacramento Solons Milwaukee Braves Kansas City Blues San Diego Padres New York Giants Minneapolis Millers Seattle Rainers Philadelphia Phillies New York Yankees Pittsburgh Pirates Saint Louis Cardinals San Francisco Seals Washington Nationals
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Old 03-22-2006, 10:10 PM   #46
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Geez, the Yankees truly are carrying the Continental League at the moment, aren't they? Anything less than a league championship every year ought to be considered a failure. Brooklyn probably is the only team who could realistically compete yearly with them. Then again, if all the best teams are elsewhere, it will eventually have to start dragging down the Yankees at some point in the future.

Will the NAL split into divisions? (I know, all in good time....)
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Old 03-23-2006, 03:41 PM   #47
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Dissent in the Empire, part 1

Anger did not begin to explain how Jerry Priddy felt. For the latter part of the 1930’s it was he, not that upstart Rizzuto, who was the darling of the Yankee system. The keystone sacker so smooth he forced Joe Gordon to move to first base. Unfortunately, the bat could not catch up with the glove, and by mid-season, Priddy rode the pine. Now, if only he had known not to sign that f-----g low ball contract. $6,000.00, barely over the minimum. Some n-----s had signed for more than that; wasn’t he worth more than one of them?

Options were limited—at this point a hold out seemed like the only choice, but that did not have much bite with a signed contract for the upcoming season. The only choice would be to force a trade, or better yet, his release. “Marse Joe don’t take crap from anyone,” Priddy thought to himself, “but Job he is not.” The first smile in months crossed his face, “make their lives hell to make me free.”
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Old 03-23-2006, 03:46 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfpack
Geez, the Yankees truly are carrying the Continental League at the moment, aren't they? Anything less than a league championship every year ought to be considered a failure. Brooklyn probably is the only team who could realistically compete yearly with them. Then again, if all the best teams are elsewhere, it will eventually have to start dragging down the Yankees at some point in the future.

Will the NAL split into divisions? (I know, all in good time....)

And how is that different from now? Even the Dodgers can't be put into the 'challenge yearly' column. While 1941 was a pennant year in Brooklyn, dem Bums had always been the 3rd team in New York--the great teams of the mid-40's never happened here.

Yes, all in good time . . .
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Old 03-24-2006, 07:28 AM   #49
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is the 2nd league really the "Continental"?

I only ask because you type 'Contential' every time?

Still reading with avid interest (and another 5* rating!)...
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Old 03-24-2006, 09:20 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fantastic flying froggies
is the 2nd league really the "Continental"?

I only ask because you type 'Contential' every time?

Still reading with avid interest (and another 5* rating!)...
Whoops. I'll have to go back and correct that :o
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