1952 Winter Meetings: Changing Demographics and Broadcast Challenges

This article was written by Gregory H. Wolf

This article was published in Baseball’s Business: The Winter Meetings: 1901-1957

Described by Edward Burns of the Chicago Tribune as “one of the most important meetings in baseball history”1 and “one of the most harmonious sessions”2 by New York Times sportswriter John Drebinger, the 1952 Baseball Winter Meetings took place in Phoenix from December 1 to 7. “Never before, perhaps,” wrote The Sporting News, “has the agenda of both the National Association and the majors been so tightly packed.”3 More than 1,000 representatives from the minor and major leagues, led by Commissioner Ford Frick, National League President Warren Giles, American League President Will Harridge, and minor leagues President George M. Trautman, convened in the desert city to discuss issues facing baseball and consider at least 29 amendments to the Major-Minor Rules and 17 changes to the National Association Agreement.

To the casual fan, 1952 seemed like another fine year in major-league baseball. The Brooklyn Dodgers, led by Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, and Gil Hodges, won a big-league-best 96 games to secure their third NL pennant since integrating baseball in 1947. Their crosstown rivals in the American League, the New York Yankees, held off the pitching-strong Cleveland Indians in an exciting pennant race to capture their fourth consecutive flag under skipper Casey Stengel. The Bronx Bombers extended their stranglehold on the World Series title, claiming their 18th championship in 31 seasons in dramatic fashion by winning Games Six and Seven of the fall classic at Ebbets Field behind the hurling of Vic Raschi and Allie Reynolds. 

Notwithstanding the excitement generated by the World Series, the major and minor leagues were concerned about the financial integrity of the sport. The big leagues were distressed by the continued precipitous decline in attendance. After a record 20,938,388 spectators had passed through the turnstiles in 1948, attendance then dropped in each successive year. The number for 1952 stood at 14,005,094, a decline of more than 1.6 million from the previous year. The situation in the minors was equally grave. In 1949 there were 59 leagues with teams in a record-high 448 cities; by 1952 there were 43 leagues with teams in 324 cities. During that three-year span, attendance dropped from 41 million to 25 million.4 Given the context of declining attendance throughout Organized Baseball, it is no wonder that many of the amendments and much of the discussion at the winter meetings focused on measures designed to improve the financial well-being of the sport.

Racism: A Brouhaha as the Meeting Convened

Five years after Jackie Robinson integrated baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers, African-Americans comprised only 2.9 percent of all major leaguers in 1952. They had debuted on only five teams (Dodgers, Indians, St. Louis Browns and Cardinals, and the Boston Braves); in addition, Minnie Miñoso had become the first black Latino player when he debuted with the Chicago White Sox in 1951. On the eve of the winter meetings in Phoenix, Jackie Robinson, speaking on the television program Youth Wants to Know, charged the New York Yankees’ baseball executives with prejudice and racism. “It seems to me the Yankee front office has used racial prejudice in its dealings with Negro ball players,” he said on November 30.”5 Robinson made it clear, however, that he did not think that the players were prejudiced.

Robinson’s comments, widely described in media outlets as controversial, caused a brouhaha just as baseball owners and executives were arriving in Phoenix. George Weiss, GM of the Yankees, went on the offensive. “The Yankees are not going to promote a Negro player to the Stadium simply to say that they have such a player,” he said unapologetically. “We are not going to bow to pressure groups. And we are not going to bow to Jackie Robinson, either.”6 The charge of racism was not new to the Yankees, who had had pickets outside Yankee Stadium in 1952 demanding that the team sign and promote black players. New York had yet to invite a black player to its spring training. The team’s top candidate, Victor Felipe Pelot, whose Puerto Rican origin was masked by the Americanization of his name to Vic Power, was considered by some team scouts as a marginal talent at best even though he was an All-Star with Kansas City in the Triple-A American Association. (He would go on to have a fine big-league career, collecting 1,700 hits and compiling a .284 career batting average, while earning seven Gold Gloves and being named to four All-Star teams.) Three years later, in 1955, Elston Howard became the first black American to don the Yankee pinstripes. According to scholars such as Lee Lowenfish, the integration of baseball was further exacerbated by an emerging quota system throughout the 1950s which limited the number of African-Americans in organizations’ farm systems and teams.7

Rule 5 Draft

The winter meetings kicked off with the Rule 5 draft on Monday, December 1, marking the first time that the draft took place at the annual winter extravaganza.8 Major-league teams could draft minor leaguers who were not on a club’s 40-man roster for a set price, ranging from $15,000 for the Open Classification Pacific Coast League and $10,000 for the two Triple-A leagues (American Association and International League) to $7,500 for lower leagues. The acquisition price, as well as the stipulation that the drafted player must be added to the new club’s 40-man roster, made the draft a risky proposition. At the draft, attended by more than 400 representatives and lasting a brief 22 minutes, only 11 players were chosen, all but one from second-division clubs, in the smallest draft since 1943. The most prominent name was right-handed pitcher Elroy Face, whom Branch Rickey, GM of the Pittsburgh Pirates, selected from Brooklyn’s affiliate in the International League, the Montreal Royals. The minor leagues conducted their draft the next day, beginning with the PCL and progressing through lower leagues.

Two Bombshells

On December 3 the meetings were sent into an uproar by proposed amendments that had drastic implications for the major and minor leagues. The Dallas Eagles of the Double-A Texas League, one of the few independently owned minor-league teams, offered what John Drebinger called a plan “that would just about overthrow the entire structure of the farm system in organized baseball.”9 Presented by Prentice Wilson, legal counsel for the Eagles, the amendment sought to set up a committee to review the major-minor league agreement and establish a new pact the following year. According club owner Dick Burnett, the amendment aimed to end the major leagues’ control of the minor leagues. “What we want,” he said, “is for no one man at one desk to control 500 players,” a not-so-subtle reference to clubs like the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Pirates, each of whom fielded at least 15 minor-league teams.10 Complaints about big-league clubs’ “chain gangs” in the minors had been levied for two decades; however, Burnett caused an uproar when he threatened legal action to achieve his goals. When the amendment was defeated 27 to 16, Wilson was undeterred, asserting, “The vote today clearly reveals the domination of the minors by the majors.”11

Bill Veeck Jr., controversial owner of the St. Louis Browns, offered an equally earth-shattering amendment. Presented on behalf of his affiliate, the San Antonio Missions, also in the Texas League, Veeck’s amendment forbade major-league teams to sign any player without previous professional experience. In essence, only minor-league clubs could sign amateurs while big-league teams would be required to exclusively draft minor-league players. Furthermore, to increase the opportunity for each player to have a shot at the big leagues and keep any team from stockpiling players, every minor-league player would be eligible to be drafted after one year of service. By all accounts, Veeck’s amendment took the meetings by surprise and angered many. Members of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minors’ umbrella organization, voted down the proposal without even discussing it.

Two-League Waiver Rule

Arguably the most important new amendment passed at the winter meetings was the two-league waiver requirement for big-league transactions after the June 15 trading deadline. Under the previous rule, players involved in waiver transactions after the June 15 deadline had to pass through waivers only in the league in which they played before they could be acquired by the highest bidder in the other league. Teams had exploited this loophole for decades, but the recent success of the New York Yankees’ acquisitions drew the ire (and jealousy) of owners. Flush with cash, the Yankees had acquired Johnny Mize from the Giants (1949), Johnny Hopp from the Pirates (1950), Johnny Sain from the Braves (1951), and Ewell Blackwell from the Reds (1952) for between $25,000 and 50,000 and well after the trading deadline. Each of those players subsequently played a role on Yankees’ pennant winners.

The new rule stipulated that waivers by all teams in both leagues had to be obtained before a team could acquire a player. The original amendment had proposed a new date for the trading deadline (July 15), but the National League protested vehemently; consequently, the June 15 trading deadline remained in place. In addition, waiver claims were prioritized in reverse order of the team’s record to give less-competitive teams the first opportunity to acquire a player.12

The $4,000 Bonus Baby

The modern farm system that Branch Rickey had developed as GM of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1920s and 1930s had grown to include to 41 leagues in 1939. After that number dipped during the wartime years, it peaked with 59 leagues in 1949. In an effort to sign players, fill rosters, and stockpile talent, big-league clubs enticed amateur free agents with increasingly large bonuses. The signing of Bobby Brown for a record $60,000 by the New York Yankees in 1946 signaled a breaking point.  For organizations not as well-heeled as the Yankees, the search for talent was now becoming an unsustainable, blatantly inequitable practice, so the major and minor leagues enacted an amendment in 1946 creating the “Bonus Player.” As Brent P. Kelley explained in his authoritative study on the bonus rule, Baseball’s Biggest Blunder: The Bonus Rule of 1953-1957, this amendment defined a bonus player based on the amount of money he received to sign a professional contract: more than $6,000 at the big-league level, $4,000 for Triple-A players, and progressively less for the lower levels. The key to this amendment, explained Kelley, was that “players could not be optioned and assigned to a lower classification without irrevocable waivers first being asked,” which meant that the team would lose both the player and the money it had given to him.  And that player was allowed to spend only one year in the minors before he had to be promoted to the major-league roster.13 Just four years later, after a widespread perception of cheating and paying undeclared bonuses, the majors and minors rescinded the amendment. The result was foreseeable: teams resumed their practice of paying exorbitant bonuses to high-school players and untried free agents.

Recognizing the need to address reform regarding the practice of paying bonuses, the majors and minors passed a new bonus amendment in 1952. It defined a bonus player in much the same way as the previous rule; however, the new amendment differed by levying heavy fines and penalties to enforce it. Under the new legislation, a bonus player was any free agent receiving more than a $4,000 bonus with the majors or top minor leagues; or $3,000 with a Class-B minor-league team or lower. Despite recognizing that the bonus rule of 1946 was detrimental to players’ development by limiting how and when the players could be farmed out, the owners once again decided to insert similar language into the new rule. The bonus baby signed to a major-league contract was required to spend the first two years on the parent club before he could be farmed out; if signed to a minor-league contract, the player could not be moved up or down in the farm system for one year. The commissioner was granted the authority to levy fines of $2,000 or more on clubs and $500 or more on officials who violated the rule, as well as suspend any guilty parties. Baseball clubs, however, still had the right to give free-agent amateurs bonuses as large as they wanted. The new bonus rule failed to deter clubs from paying large bonuses; if anything bonuses increased throughout the decade. At the 1958 winter meetings the stipulation that big-league bonus babies spend two years on the major-league roster was repealed.14

High School Signings

The history of baseball is filled with stories about high-school players who signed a professional contract and subsequently debuted in the majors or minors while still of high-school age. The practice of signing high-school athletes prior to graduation reached its apex during World War II when clubs scouted and searched for replacement talent in every possible venue. Joe Nuxhall, who debuted with the Reds as a 15-year-old in 1944, and three 16-year-olds – Rogers McKee, Ralph “Putsy” Caballero, and Carl Scheib – debuted as wartime players.

The major leagues enacted an amendment in 1952 to prohibit the signing of high-school players until their class had graduated, though teams and scouts were permitted to speak to and negotiate with them. Violation of the high-school signing rule could lead to the commissioner declaring the illegally signed player a free agent and levying a fine on the club.15

24-Hour Recall and July 31 Date

A sore spot for minor-league teams had been the practice of major-league clubs recalling players they had sent to the minor leagues. Especially troublesome was the practice of assigning a player to the minors on 24-hour recall notice, thereby limiting a minor-league team’s ability to plan ahead. Minor-league teams resented losing a player who might be in the middle of a hot streak, or who was an important player during a pennant drive or postseason playoffs; both scenarios could affect the team’s attendance and thus the financial bottom line of a minor-league club. This issue also highlighted the growing tension between major-league and minor-league clubs, which over the course of the previous two decades had lost their independence and were attempting to hold on to their last vestiges of autonomy.

According to the new amendment, a major-league player optioned to the minor leagues was required to remain with that club for at least 10 days. Furthermore, he had to be physically fit to play. Any player optioned after July 31 had to remain with the minor-league club until the conclusion of the minor-league season. An exception was granted in the case of an emergency injury on the big-league club which necessitated the immediate recall of a minor leaguer.

Roster Limits

In an amendment that could have had far-reaching consequences on the rosters of major- and minor-league teams, Bill Veeck proposed to reduce midseason major-league rosters from 25 to 23 players.16 The New York Times reported that the proposal would have caused “spirited discussion” had Commissioner Frick permitted action on the floor.17 It was widely believed that the National League was prepared to vote in favor of the change.18

Television, Radio, and Broadcasting Rights

Perhaps the biggest issue facing baseball was television. As with the proliferation of radio broadcasts of baseball games in the 1920s, the major leagues had difficulty determining if televised broadcasts were beneficial or detrimental to attendance. James R. Walker and Robert V. Bellamy have argued in their exhaustive study, Center Field Shot: A History of Baseball on Television, that baseball initially had a favorable impression of television’s effect on the popularity of the sport.19 According to Walker and Bellamy, baseball accounted for more than 50 percent of all radio airtime in June and July in 1947. Record attendance throughout the major and minor leagues in 1948 only heightened the positive impression of television broadcasts. The Sporting News, on the other hand, voiced its concern about the deleterious effects of televised broadcasts by 1949; by the early 1950s, optimism about television broadcasts of baseball waned as attendance in parks plummeted.

In order to protect minor-league clubs, the major leagues had instituted rules that prohibited broadcasting big-league games within 50 miles of a minor-league park without the club’s permission. However, under pressure from the Department of Justice’s antitrust commission, that rule was abolished in 1947, drawing the ire of the minor leagues, whose very existence many felt was threatened as attendance fell precipitously over the next five years.

On the eve of the 1952 winter meetings, Fred Saigh, owner of the St. Louis Cardinals, suggested that major-league baseball broadcasts should be banned for one year “to see if TV really is as harmful as we think.”20 It was an opening salvo that gave rise to heated discussion that week in Phoenix.

Despite Saigh’s suggestions, major-league clubs were hard-pressed to sign television deals that would guarantee much-needed income in light of the decline in attendance. At the winter meetings, seven of the eight AL clubs signed a groundbreaking two-year reciprocal agreement that guaranteed the visiting team a percentage of the radio and television broadcast revenue. The lone holdout was the St. Louis Browns, whose maverick owner, Bill Veeck Jr., refused to sign any contract that did not guarantee that 50 percent of the revenue would be earmarked for the visiting club. The result was disastrous for the cash-strapped owner, who, according to the New York Times, was completely shut out of the television and radio market at home and on the road.21

The situation was murkier, and a lot more contentious, in the National League, where a few teams signed separate deals to pay visiting clubs. The St. Louis Cardinals forged agreements with the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. However, other teams could continue to broadcast games with opponents even if they had not signed an agreement to do so. Fred Saigh of the Cardinals, for example, threatened a lawsuit against the Boston Braves, whose owner, Lou Perini, claimed that he would continue to televise home games with the Redbirds.

Commissioner Frick stood on the sidelines, going so far as saying, “I cannot see how I could become involved” as teams jockeyed for position with their television deals. “I do not know what our policy should be with regard to television. One thing I can tell you definitely,” said Frick. “Neither league can force a member club to accept the telecasting of its games in foreign cities.”22

The Plight of the Minor Leagues

It was no secret that the minor leagues were hemorrhaging. Attendance had declined more than one-third in just three years. Consequently, the minor leagues looked to their big-league brethren for a lifeline. Major-league teams could negotiate exclusive television deals, but the overwhelming majority of minor-league teams lacked that ability. On December 3 US Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado, president of the Western League, gave an impassioned 40-minute speech arguing that the minor leagues will “become saturated with television accounts of major-league games with an increasing detrimental impact on baseball.”23 According to the AP, the influential Democrat offered a resolution calling for all money from the broadcasts of major-league games in a minor-league territory to be placed in a trust fund. “Give us a little help,” appealed George Trautman, president of the minor leagues, to the majors, “before you destroy us.”24

“The major leagues fail to recognize the plight that the minor leagues are in,” opined syndicated columnist Dan Daniel.25 Warren Giles, president of the NL, gave credence to those comments by suggesting that the only way the minor leagues could gain sound economic footing was by contracting to 20 leagues. Far from conceding that the encroachment of major-league broadcasts into minor-league markets was detrimental, Giles claimed that there was a shortage of players to field so many teams, many of which lacked the resources to compete and enjoyed only limited support in their communities. Fred Saigh of the Cardinals suggested that small-town newspapers, whose headlines boasted of the major leagues instead of the local minor-league club, were partly responsible for the lack of community support by ignoring baseball in their own backyard.26

The major leagues rejected Johnson’s proposal, but decided to establish a committee to study the issue. It would join a similar committee made up of representatives from the minor leagues, and present its findings in July 1953.

The minors did retract for the 1953 season. Gone were the Class-B Interstate League, the Class-C Southwestern International League, and four Class-D Leagues, the Coastal Plain, the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri (KOM) League, the North Carolina State League, and the Western Carolina League. The latter two merged to form the Tar Heel League. Of the 39 leagues set to play in 1953, the following classifications were represented: Open (1), Triple A (2), Double A (2), Single A (4), Class B (7), Class C (10), and Class D (12), plus the independent Mexican League.

A Fourth Major League?

At the 1951 winter meetings, the Pacific Coast League, one of the three Triple-A leagues along with the International League and the American Association, was elevated to an open classification. Nominally above Triple A, the PCL was considered by many to be on its way to becoming a third major league. When postwar America’s shifting demographics brought a population boom to the West Coast, the PCL, with clubs in large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Seattle, filled a natural void as big-league clubs remained concentrated east of the Mississippi River save for the two St. Louis teams.

At the advent of the 1952 winter meetings, there was considerable discussion among IL and AA executives about creating another open-classification league which would eventually become the fourth major league. Frank Shaughnessy, president of the IL, suggested that the largest cities in those two circuits, like Kansas City, Milwaukee, Montreal, and Baltimore, could support a new major league, which he predicted could become reality in the next five or six years.27

The discussion about a fourth major league, however, gained little traction among NL and AL executives. Instead of focusing on a new league, they focused on legislation making relocation of current big-league teams easier, and also developed a contingency plan for the minor-league team that would be displaced by the relocation.

Prelude to Relocation

No major-league team had relocated since 1903, when the AL Baltimore Orioles moved to New York and became the Highlanders (renamed the Yankees in 1913; and, in reality, this move was not so much a relocation as much as it was a replacement of a team that went out of business). En route to the winter meetings, Dodgers president Walter O’Malley recognized that a franchise shift, either Lou Perini’s Boston Braves or Bill Veeck’s cash-strapped Browns, was imminent. “I think there is a call to action on our part,” he said. “Should an American League club wish to move to a city in which the National League has no franchise, the latter league should have no vote in the matter.”28 Recognizing the need for one of those teams to escape a two-team city, the major leagues ultimately passed legislation that paved the way for the relocation and realignment of franchises. Sportswriter Joe King lauded the liberalization of relocation laws as the “most exciting rule change enacted in baseball in many years.”29 The former rule required majority approval of all eight clubs of the league involved and a majority of clubs in the other circuit to approve a franchise shift; the new rule stipulated that if a big-league club transferred to a city that did not currently have a major-league team, approval was confined only to the league of the relocating team. Furthermore, a majority of five teams in the NL and six teams in the AL was required. If, however, a major-league club wanted to relocate to a city where there was already a big-league team, unanimous consent of all 16 clubs was required.30

Major-league executives recognized that Milwaukee, with its new 28,000-seat stadium, was the most likely choice of a team looking to relocate; however, few of those executives could have guessed that it would be happening just three months later. The St. Louis Browns, one of the prime candidates, found themselves in a conundrum. Owner Bill Veeck also owned Sportsman’s Park, where both the Browns and Cardinals played. Veeck had voiced his interest in moving to Milwaukee, where he had owned the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association in the 1940s (an irony because, in 1902, the Milwaukee Brewers relocated to become the St. Louis Browns), but according to The Sporting News, he could not make any public remarks about transferring his club until he sold Sportsman’s Park.31

But the machinations for relocation were already under way. In 1952 the Boston Braves drew a major-league low 281,278, an average of just 3,653 per game, to Braves Field. According to an AP report, the club had lost approximately $600,000.32 News broke just days before the winter meetings that majority owner Lou Perini had purchased the remaining 40 percent of the team from its minority stockholders. According to author Saul Wisnia, many speculated that it was a prelude to the club’s sale or relocation, possibly to Milwaukee, where Perini owned the Triple-A Milwaukee Brewers and had pledged to help the Midwestern town secure a big-league team.33

A Conflict in Cleveland

Owners of major-league teams belonged to an exclusive fraternity, and it was big news any time a principal owner sold his shares of a club. In late 1949 insurance magnate Ellis Ryan had led a syndicate in purchasing the Cleveland Indians from Bill Veeck. But in reports published prior to and during the 1952 winter meetings, club president Ryan had apparently lost a power struggle with other principal owners, including GM Hank Greenberg. The source of the conflict, reported the AP, was Ryan’s decision to purchase the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association, which lost money, as well as Ryan’s demand for more authority in running the Indians. Ryan abruptly left the meetings on December 4 to return to Cleveland to “straighten out the difference of opinion existing on the Tribe’s board of directors.”34 Ryan resigned on December 18, paving the way for Myron Wilson to purchase his shares and become president and principal owner.


Given the amount of business the major and minor leagues conducted, teams had time to complete only three trades. The most significant involved the Detroit Tigers, who sent right-handed pitchers Virgil Trucks and Hal White and outfielder Johnny Groth to the St. Louis Browns for outfielder Bob Nieman, infielder Owen Friend, and utilityman Jay Porter. The Senators and White Sox exchanged pitchers, with Washington giving up right-hander Mike Fornieles and Chicago parting with southpaw Chuck Stobbs. And Pittsburgh traded catcher Clyde McCullough to the Chicago Cubs for right-handed pitcher Dick Manville.

In what would have been the biggest trade, the Boston Braves agreed in principle to send pitcher Warren Spahn to the Brooklyn Dodgers for various combinations of players. According to Al Wolf of the Los Angeles Times, the blockbuster fell apart at the last minute.35 Spahn would go on to win more games than any other left-hander in major league history.

Minor Business

Several additional items deserve mention. The major leagues agreed to increase World Series umpire salaries by $500; regular umpires would now earn $3,000 and alternates $1,500. Up to $50,000 was allocated to support American Legion baseball, and the same amount was authorized to the Association of Professional Ball Players of America, which aided ill or indigent players.36

Voting for the MVP Award

The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) had awarded the MVPs in each league since 1931. Beginning in 1938 a group of 24 sportswriters (three members from each league city) cast votes for the MVP of each league. The method of voting and the corresponding results had periodically given rise to criticism. The selection of Chicago’s Hank Sauer as NL MVP reignited calls for reforming the voting procedure. While Sauer led the league with 37 home runs and 121 runs batted, his Cubs had finished fifth in the league, and many felt that the Philadelphia Phillies’ ace Robin Roberts deserved the award on the strength of his 28 wins, the most in the NL since Dizzy Dean’s 30 in 1934. Roberts finished second in the voting, though he was named major-league player of the year by The Sporting News.

Though some selections had been closer since the format change of 1938, such as when Joe DiMaggio beat Ted Williams by one vote in 1947, there had never been a year when only 18 points separated the top three candidates. (Brooklyn’s rookie reliever, Joe Black, was the third man.) In response to renewed criticism the BBWAA, in its session at the winter meetings, created a committee to scrutinize the methods and voting system used to select the MVP and Rookie of the Year award winners in each league. Named to the committee were three highly respected writers: Dan Daniel of the New York World Telegram & Sun, Ed Burns of the Chicago Tribune, and J. Roy Stockton of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Baseball Writers Protest

At the end of the weeklong meeting, the Baseball Writers Association of America lodged a complaint against Organized Baseball, whose sessions took place in hotels in Phoenix spread out over at least 14 miles, a considerable distance without adequate public transportation. Representatives from NL clubs met at the historic Adams Hotel, located in downtown Phoenix, while the AL contingent was housed at Philip K. Wrigley’s luxurious Arizona Biltmore Hotel on the outskirts of town. Other sessions and conferences took at the Western Ho, the Royal Palms, and the Camelback hotels.


According to most reports, the 1952 winter meetings were one of the busiest and most successful on record. America was changing and baseball was attempting to keep up with those changes, if not stay a step ahead. The new legislation adopted on the two-league waiver rule, the bonus rule, and the banning of the 24-hour recall of players were hailed as major milestones, or as Commissioner Frick suggested, “in the best interests of the public.”37



In addition to the sources listed in the notes, the author consulted a considerable number of other articles.



1 Edward Burns, “Majors Agree on $4,000 Bonus Player Limit; Retain Prep Rule,” Chicago Tribune, December 7, 1952: B1.

2 John Drebinger, “Majors Adopt Two-League Waivers, End 24-Hour Recall in Options,” New York Times, December 8, 1952: 36.

3 The Sporting News, December 3, 1952, 12

4 United Press, “Senate Group Votes to Restrict Radio, TV Game Coverage,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 11, 1953: 12.

5 “Robinson Charges Yankee Race Bias,” New York Times, December 1, 1952: 31.

6 The Sporting News, December 10, 1952: 3.

7 Lee Lowenfish, “The Rise of Baseball’s Quota System,” Nine, Spring 2008.

8 Associated Press, “Major Moguls Draft Only Eleven Minor Leaguers,” HartfordCourant, December 2, 1952: 15.

9 John Drebinger, “Dallas Threatens Court Action as Move to End Baseball Farm System Fails,” New York Times, December 5, 1952: 37.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

12 “Majors Adopt Two-League Waivers, End 24-Hour Recall in Options.”

13 Brent P. Kelley, Baseball’s Biggest Blunder: The Bonus Rule of 1953-1957 (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow, 1996), 4.

14 The following sources were used for this information: “Majors Adopt Two-League Waivers, End 24-Hour Recall in Options,” and “Majors Agree on $4,000 Bonus Player Limit; Retain Prep Rule.”

15 Ibid.

16 Associated Press, “Baseball Magnates Have Many Important Problems to Solve at Annual Meeting,” Hartford Courant, November 30, 1952: C4.

17 “Majors Adopt Two-League Waivers, End 24-Hour Recall in Options.”

18 Associated Press, “Veeck Would Prohibit Majors Signing Players Without Previous Pro Experience,” Hartford Courant, December 5, 1952: 18.

19 James R. Walker and Robert V. Bellamy, Center Field Shot: A History of Baseball on Television (Lincoln, Nebraska: Bison Books, 2008).

20 Associated Press, “Saigh Suggests Year Blackout of TV for Test,” Chicago Tribune, November 27, 1952: G4.

21 “Majors Adopt Two-League Waivers, End 24-Hour Recall in Options.”

22 The Sporting News, December 17, 1952: 1 and 4.

23 “Trautman Urges Majors to Help Minors ‘Before You Destroy Us,’” New York Times, December 5, 1952: 37.

24 Ibid.

25 The Sporting News, December 3, 1952: 3.

26 “Saigh Suggests Year Blackout of TV for Test.”

27  Associated Press, “Top Minors Plan for 4 Big Leagues,” New York Times, November 29, 1952: 21.

28 Roscoe McGowen, “Weiss Seeks Adoption on Yank Bonus Rule Plan,” New York Times, November 28, 1952: 34.

29 The Sporting News, December 17, 1952: 2.

30 “Weiss Seeks Adoption on Yank Bonus Rule Plan”; The Sporting News, December 17, 1952: 2.

31 Multiple issues of The Sporting News, including December 3, 10, 17, 1952.

32 Associated Press, “Perini Family to Buy All of Braves Stock,” Chicago Tribune, November 27, 1952: G5.

33 Saul Wisnia, “From Yawkey to Milwaukee: Lou Perini Makes His Move,” in Gregory H. Wolf, ed., Thar’s Joy in Braveland. The 1957 Milwaukee Braves (Phoenix: Society for American Baseball Research), 2014.

34 The Sporting News, December 10, 1952: 7.

35 “Major Moguls Draft Only Eleven Minor Leaguers.”

36 “Majors Adopt Two-League Waivers, End 24-Hour Recall in Options.”

37 Associated Press, “Two-League Waivers Voted; New Bonus Rule Adopted,” Washington Post, December 8, 1952: 11.