1954 Winter Meetings: Looking West

This article was written by Bill Felber

This article was published in the


The 1954 Winter Meetings opened on December 6 at New York’s Hotel Commodore with an agenda filled with issues that had plagued the sport for years. They included the ongoing decline of the minor leagues, the increasing misalignment of major-league franchises with the national population, and player-management conflicts. Owners left the meeting two days later – a day before the scheduled conclusion – congratulating themselves on concluding their business so efficiently, although in fact they had solved none of those key issues.

There was reason for industrywide concern. Granted, gate attendance had risen by about 11 percent from 1953 – 15.9 million fans came out in 1954, 1.6 million more than in the previous season. But even the superficial could see how misleading that increase was. Most of it was attributable to the shift of the St. Louis Browns franchise to Baltimore. During their final season in St. Louis, the Browns drew fewer than 300,000 fans; they debuted in Baltimore to more than 1 million. A second big driver was the surprising pennant performance of the New York Giants, who drew 1.15 million to the Polo Grounds, 300,000 more than in 1953.

The more meaningful truth was that half of the 16 major-league teams saw a drop in attendance in 1954. Those suffering franchises included the Philadelphia Athletics, which by the start of the winter meeting had already been sold to Arnold Johnson and transferred to Kansas City. And it was not merely the game’s have-nots feeling pain. The Yankees drew about 60,000 fewer fans in 1954, the Dodgers were down about 140,000, and the Red Sox were off some 95,000 from the previous season. In Pittsburgh, a third consecutive last-place finish prompted just 475,494 fans to pay to watch the Pirates, a nearly 17 percent decline from 1953.

Minor-League Meetings

The major-league meeting was preceded by the annual gathering of minor-league executives, a heated weeklong session held from November 28 to December 2 in Houston. With relations between the two levels of professional baseball strained by years of unresolved disagreements over revenue, financial support, television, and compensation levels for player purchases, the Houston session was a necessary and central precursor to New York.

The session’s predominant issue – the continued decline of minor-league franchises in general – was exacerbated for the third consecutive season by a big-league franchise shift, this time of the Athletics. Because Kansas City had been an American Association city, that shift left one of the premier minor leagues in search of an eighth member. The problem of the 1955 minor-league realignment was even more acute because the Cardinals wanted to move their top farm team, which had been in Columbus, Ohio, to Omaha, a Western League city that it viewed as a more lucrative market. On November 29 the Yankees sold the rights to Kansas City’s Double-A franchise to the owners of the Denver club of the Western League, who announced their intent to join the American Association.

Both by agreement and precedent, the Western League deserved to be compensated for the loss of its two largest territories. But there was no set formula to determine the compensation level. When the Braves’ 1953 move to Milwaukee prompted the American Association to invade Toledo, it paid $50,000 in compensation, and the International League paid $48,000 in compensation for the rights to a territory to replace Baltimore a year later. The Cardinals offered the Western League $35,000 for the rights to Omaha, but Western League President Edwin Johnson, a US senator from Colorado, initially demanded $100,000,1 plus another $150,000 to surrender Western League rights to Kansas City.2

With the compensation issue at a stalemate, minor-league President George Trautman appointed a five-member arbitration panel to settle the differences.

The broader issue of the ongoing decline of the business of minor-league baseball remained unresolved. Minor-league attendance, showing a continual pattern of decline since 1949, had fallen another 6 percent in 1954, with paid attendance for 33 leagues (down from 37) at 19,585,819, a total of 1,218,773 fewer than in the previous year. The Class-B Gulf Coast League and Class-D Wisconsin State League were not able to open at all in 1954, while the Class-B Florida International, Class-C Mountain States League, and the Class-D Tar Heel League all disbanded during the summer.

Minor-league executives saw their problem as one of incursion into their territories by major-league teams via television. “The most important issue before the convention is a reasonable solution to the radio-television problem,” Trautman said.3 On November 22 Frank Lawrence, owner of the Portsmouth (Virginia) Merrimacs of the Class-B Piedmont League, filed suit against Commissioner Ford Frick and the 16 major-league clubs, alleging breach of contract for permitting big-league games to be aired within 50 miles of Portsmouth. Lawrence alleged that his club was “damaged by invasion of minor league territory” by the broadcasts.

“Someone asked me if I was trying to put the major leagues out of business,” Lawrence said. “I replied that a fair exchange is no robbery. They have been trying to put us out, and they have put half our leagues out of business already.”4 In the action, filed in US District Court in New York City, Lawrence demanded $250,000 in compensation. Howard Green, president of the Texas-based Big State League, introduced a resolution that would have put the minors on record in support of the lawsuit. But the resolution was ruled out of order by Trautman.5

Although less litigious, other minor-league owners were equally agitated by the worsening attendance figures. The 33 leagues voted 19 to 14 to terminate the entire major-minor agreement over the TV dispute. Because the resolution required a three-fourths vote for approval, the 19-to-14 majority was insufficient for passage. And even had it passed, the agreement would have remained in force unless also terminated by both major leagues, an outcome considered at the time to be unimaginable. Still, the result had obvious ominous ramifications for any accord between the majors and minors over television.

On more mundane matters, minor-league teams held their annual draft. A total of just 44 players were drafted from lower classifications, costing $132,950, the least draft activity since the end of World War II.6 By comparison, one year earlier 84 players had been drafted. Among the 44 taken at the 1954 meeting were four who had at one time been on major-league rosters: shortstop James Clarkson, by Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League from Dallas of the Texas League; first baseman Ed Mickelson, by Portland of the Pacific Coast League from Shreveport of the Texas League; left-handed pitcher Larry Lassalle, by Fort Worth of Texas League from Waco of the Big State League; and right-handed pitcher Lazaro Naranjo, by Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League from Chattanooga of the Southern Association.7

Finally, the minors requested that major-league teams reduce rosters from 25 to 23, presumably to infuse more talent into the minor-league system.8

Majors’ response

When the major-league meetings opened in New York, club owners made short work of that part of the agenda pertaining to minor-league teams. They approved a new working arrangement by which Class-B teams would get $3,500, Class-C teams $3,000, and Class-D teams $2,500 in exchange for signing working agreements that would let major-league teams select players from their rosters at the end of a season. Previously, lower-level teams had been paid as little as $100 annually for that privilege. The big-league clubs also agreed to underwrite most of the costs of minor-league spring training, including transportation, and to pay part of the minor-league manager’s salary.9

Major-league executives and close observers were effusive in praise of the owners’ farsightedness. Dodgers farm director Fresco Thompson said the changes would cost Brooklyn $30,000 a year but “it will be money well spent, especially so where the money is used for managers.”10 Frick called the new agreement “by far the most important piece of legislation passed at these meetings … the means of survival for many clubs in lower minor-league categories.”11 White Sox GM Frank Lane called it “the greatest thing the major leagues have done for the minors since I’ve been around baseball.12

The Sporting News editorially lauded the deal with the minors, saying it “should dispel much of the erratic thinking which pictures the major league club owner as a heartless bogeyman willing to see the minors in constant and sometimes fatal trouble brought on by his own indifference to their plight.”13

That was, however, all the minor leagues obtained. On a split vote, major-league owners defeated the proposal to shrink rosters. A majority of National League club owners agreed to do so, but American League owners unanimously rejected the idea, and Frick – tasked with breaking the tie between the leagues – went along with the majority of club owners in opposing a reduction. Then they adopted a rule prohibiting any major-league club from signing a college player who had completed his freshman year until after his class had graduated or until he turned 21. Again fearful of a talent drain, minor-league executives had voted down such a restriction.

There was no disagreement about the minors’ appeal against television’s incursion into their territory. Team owners took up the question and unanimously squashed it. In doing so, they cited legal uncertainties regarding their ability to restrict telecasts. It was noted that a TV/radio ban had been rescinded a few years earlier when federal officials told magnates it would not stand up to a legal challenge.14 In addition to the Portsmouth suit, the Liberty Broadcasting Company had already filed a second suit, claiming its freedom to broadcast baseball games was being proscribed by regulations limiting the reach of such telecasts. “These two views are directly contrary, and where does that leave us, the major league owners,” said Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley in defending the majors’ reticence to act.15 The Sporting News editorially gave minor-league owners little sympathy. “If a change in airways policy would bring the majors in conflict with the laws of the land as interpreted by the Justice Department, the majors hardly could be expected to make such a change,” it contended. It characterized other negative impacts on minor-league gates, citing “the automobile, the television set and many other new factors,” as social changes which must be accepted.”16

Pirates general manager Branch Rickey dressed down minor-league executives for their reluctance to recognize that some communities simply wouldn’t support minor-league ball. “Radio and television have nothing to do with the merits of the farm system,” he said, claiming that the major-league teams were doing plenty to help the minors. “The minors are continually asking for help, but their narrow vision has hindered any progress in solving their problems,” he asserted.17

The minors, the creator of the farm system said, “must help themselves.”18

Expansion

American League owners took up a proposal by Indians GM Hank Greenberg to expand to 10 teams for the 1956 season. Greenberg sought creation of a four-member committee to report on the practicality of expansion at the league’s 1955 summer meeting.

This was a catch-up step for the AL, given that the National League had already authorized a similar committee, which was to report in February. The chief target of both leagues was no secret: Los Angeles, with close to 2 million residents, headed both leagues’ wish lists, while others being mentioned included San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Toronto, Montreal, Houston, Dallas, and Indianapolis. Proposed 162-game schedules were reported to have already been drawn up by both leagues.

With the National League already focusing on Los Angeles and San Francisco, published reports suggested that the American League’s top targets were probably Minneapolis-St. Paul and Toronto. But there was widespread debate about whether expansion should or would take place. “Geographically it offers too many obstacles,” said Yankees owner Del Webb. Instead, he advocated for realignment of the existing 16 franchises into Eastern and Western leagues, the Alleghenies serving as a rough boundary. Webb didn’t specify the makeup of the leagues, but logically his idea would have created an “Eastern League” consisting of the Dodgers, Giants, Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles, and Senators. The “Western League,” would have been composed of the Tigers, White Sox, Indians, Athletics, Reds, Braves, Cardinals, and Cubs. “But I’m afraid that would take a bit of doing,” Webb added.19

Webb said he found no strong sentiment among club owners for more than eight teams. “Some of the magnates believe that a 10-club league would be whittled down to eight by a process of elimination at the turnstiles within a few years,” he said.20 

Cubs owner Phil Wrigley took the lead in arguing the case for expansion. Wrigley, who also owned the Los Angeles Pacific Coast League franchise, had submitted a detailed expansion plan at a secret meeting of NL owners on November 22. That report included such practical details as railroad mileages, transportation costs and a sample schedule.21 He assured reporters that the major leagues would be in Los Angeles in less than two years. “It’s coming awfully fast,” Wrigley said.22

Lane agreed. “I can’t understand why so many people believe a league of that size (10 teams) would be unfeasible,” he said. “It would give baseball a much-needed shot in the arm.”23

For its part, The Sporting News egged on the American League’s expansion study. The league, it asserted, could operate indefinitely profitably with its present membership. “But if it did this,” it added, “it would close its ears against the counsel of … several cities large enough and eager enough to deserve the best that baseball has to offer. There is, no longer … any doubt that the majors, both of them, will become ten-club leagues.”24

Even before the opening of the major-league meeting, though, NL President Warren Giles was openly talking down the prospect of expansion. “I satisfied myself at our owners meeting that (owners) feel it would not be practical at this time to move any of their present franchises (or expand),” Giles said.25 “There just aren’t enough good players around to maintain the high standard of play.”  He said that picture “perhaps will change within five years.”

O’Malley said he saw “no immediate expansion to 10 teams,” but added that “I personally believe that California will have major-league baseball in the near future … certainly in less than five years.”26

He added that other areas would also be scrutinized. “You have to recognize that Minneapolis-St. Paul already has voted funds for a ballpark,” he said. He noted that Toronto, Montreal, and several Texas cities were also working on proposals. “The major-league club owners will have some very enticing offers to consider soon,” he said.

Finally, O’Malley assured fans that the Dodgers would not move to Los Angeles. He did not deny interest in the idea; rather, he said league rules, which require a unanimous vote for a franchise shift, would prevent it. “Horace Stoneham wouldn’t let us,” he said. “The Giants need us and we need the Giants.”

Stoneham was skeptical of the West Coast’s readiness to support major-league teams. The problem, he said, wasn’t population numbers alone, but the demographics behind those numbers. In his mind, much of the westward migration consisted of skinflint retirees. “I’d like to see some figures on what percentage of Californians are living on pensions or paid-up annuities,” Stoneham said. “People in that category live on a tight budget with no provision for buying tickets to ballgames.”27

At the conclusion of the meeting, Frick waved away intimations of a race between leagues for the potentially rich expansion territories, and particularly for California. “I am sure that before long (the leagues will go into joint session) to take up all the angles and all the problems which would have to be met if they were to increase their membership to ten clubs,” he said.28

Frick dangled his own idea, the addition of a brother league to the AL and NL. “It is my firm belief,” he said, “that the true solution of the need for major expansion lies in the organization of a third league.” In 1954, the easiest way to accomplish that would have been to elevate the Pacific Coast League to major-league status; in fact, prior to the 1952 season the PCL’s status had been changed from Triple A to “Open” in anticipation of just such a step. Frick predicted that within four years at least four West Coast cities – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland – would be ready.29

The commissioner added, however, that any initiative for increasing the number of franchises would have to percolate up from the cities; it would not flow down from the existing roster of clubs. “It must be a grassroots enterprise,” he said, emanating from “a deep desire of certain cities to move up with the aid of local capital and local determination.”  Frick said the major leagues “are not on a recruiting campaign.”30

Player relations

Allie Reynolds and Ralph Kiner, representatives of a players committee, met with club owners to discuss requests from player representatives for changes to the basic agreement. For the most part, Reynolds and Kiner got nowhere. The owners heard, and then rejected, a request for a 20 percent increase in the minimum salary, from $6,000 to $7,200 per year. They also voted down a player request for permission to deal directly with Caribbean clubs over winter-league contracts instead of being required to go through their teams. Also dispatched were proposals for players to be paid moving expenses when they were traded during spring training, and to alter the March 1 spring-training deadline.31 Frick said the March 1 rule will be “rigidly enforced.”32

The owners did agree to three player requests. One was that contracts be issued by January 15 rather than February 1. The second approved of players being served dinner on trains after night games. The third authorized hotel rate compensation when players were housed in private homes during spring training.

The big deal

Easily the biggest trade of the winter season unfolded before the meetings started. On November 18 new Baltimore general manager Paul Richards announced that the Orioles had reached agreement with the Yankees on a two-phase swap that by December 1 would grow to encompass 17 players. In its final form, the deal sent right-handed pitchers Don Larsen, Bob Turley, and Mike Blyzka, catcher Darrell Johnson, infielder Billy Hunter, outfielder Jim Fridley, and first baseman Dick Kryhoski to the Yankees in exchange for right-handed pitchers Harry Byrd and Jim McDonald and southpaw Bill Miller, catchers Hal Smith and Gus Triandos, outfielder Gene Woodling, infielders Willie Miranda, Kal Segrist, and Don Leppert, and minor-league outfielder Ted Del Guercio. Larsen, 21, Turley, a 23-year-old flamethrowing 14-game winner in 1954, Woodling, and Triandos were the stars of the deal.

Richards enthusiastically promoted the trade as injecting a badly needed dose of winning Yankee spirit into his Orioles. But others were harsher in their assessment of the new GM’s debut deal. “I would have asked as much for Jack Harshman as Richards received for Bob Turley, Don Larsen and Billy Hunter combined,” panned White Sox GM Frank Lane. He said the Orioles, a seventh-place team in 1954, their first year in Baltimore, had “traded away the only worthwhile things they had.”33

A second, less spectacular premeeting deal also set some tongues wagging. On November 16, one day before the Orioles-Yankees trade was announced, Indians GM Greenberg acquired slugging outfielder Ralph Kiner from the Cubs in exchange for right-handed pitcher Sam Jones, outfielder Gale Wade, and $60,000. Kiner, 33, had batted .285 with 22 home runs for the Cubs, and Greenberg thought he would bring power to a Cleveland club which had won 111 games in 1954 but needed to stay ahead of the Yankees. In fact, Kiner batted just .243 in 1955, though he did hit 18 home runs in 321 at-bats for the runner-up, 93-win Indians, and retired after the season.

On November 30 the Cubs announced the sale of outfielder Frankie Baumholtz to the White Sox for $20,000. This deal, however, was later negated by Giles, who said the Cubs had failed to gain league waivers on the former Ohio University star. He was returned to the Cubs, where he batted .289 in 1955 before being sold to the Phillies a year later.

Deals at the meeting

The presence of Lane and Richards at the meeting ramped up speculation about a feverish round of trades, but that frenzy never really developed.

Lane tried. Despite his panning of the Orioles’ roster minus Larsen, Turley, and Hunter, on December 6 he got together with Richards for a seven-player swap that sent infielder Jim Brideweser, right-handed pitcher Bob Chakales, and catcher Clint Courtney from Baltimore to Chicago. In exchange, the Orioles received left-hander Don Ferrarese, right-hander Don Johnson, catcher Matt Batts, and second baseman Freddie Marsh.

That same day Lane traded right-handed pitcher Leo Cristante and first basemen Ferris Fain and Jack Phillips to the Tigers for first baseman Walt Dropo, left-handed pitcher Ted Gray, and outfielder Bob Nieman.

On December 8 the Reds traded right-handed relief pitcher Frank Smith to St. Louis for third baseman Ray Jablonski and right-handed pitcher Gerry Staley. Superficially one-sided in favor of the Reds, the deal was essentially a St. Louis ploy to open up playing time for rookie third baseman Ken Boyer. At Houston in 1954, Boyer had batted .319 with 202 hits, 21 home runs, and 116 RBIs in helping the Buffaloes to the Texas League crown. Described in the press as “another Pie Traynor with a glove,” Boyer was also considered a fielding upgrade over Jablonski.34 None of the actual principals in the deal did much in 1955. Jablonski batted .240 for Cincinnati, Staley went 5-8 in 18 starts for the Reds and Yankees, and Smith was 3-1 in 39 innings of bullpen work for St. Louis. Boyer batted .264 with 18 home runs for the Cardinals, became a seven-time All-Star and was the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1964.

On December 13 the Dodgers, long rumored to be shopping third baseman Billy Cox and left-handed pitcher Preacher Roe, finally sealed the deal. They traded both to Baltimore for minor leaguers John Jancse (a right-handed pitcher), Harry Schwegeman (an infielder), and $50,000. Roe retired, Cox batted just 211 for Baltimore in his final big-league season, and neither of the Dodgers acquisitions ever made it to the majors.

A second deal, with potentially greater impact to the Dodgers, fell through. That proposed trade was reported to have involved Brooklyn’s shipment of infielder Jim Gilliam and one of two right-handers – Bob Darnell or Bob Milliken – to the Reds for left-handed pitcher Fred Baczewski, catcher Hobie Landrith, and outfielder Wally Post. There was no public indication how close the deal came to being finalized. Gilliam, of course, became one of the stars of Brooklyn’s 1955 World Series victory over the Yankees.

Finally, on December 14 the Giants traded infielder Billy Klaus to the Red Sox for catcher Del Wilber. Klaus batted .283 for Boston at the outset of a nine-season big-league career. Wilber, a 35-year-old veteran part-timer for eight seasons, was assigned to the Giants’ Triple-A farm team. Instead he asked for and was granted his release.

The Reds and Phillies both made offers for Dodger star Jackie Robinson, the Phillies also seeking outfielder Carl Furillo and Gilliam. But all talks between Brooklyn and Philadelphia fell through when the Dodgers asked for left-handed pitching star Curt Simmons and catcher Smoky Burgess.

Rules changes

Club owners approved a new rule prohibiting anyone owning stock in one club from buying stock in another. The rule was aimed at Arnold Johnson, owner of Yankee Stadium at the time he bought the Athletics. Johnson had been forced to sell the stadium as a condition of his purchase of the team.

Giles proposed a new rule declaring that any “official game” stopped “by rain, darkness or for any other reason before nine innings” would be treated as a suspended game, to be completed at a later date. His action was viewed as a response to a mid-September game between the Braves and Dodgers called by rain in the last of the fifth with Brooklyn leading.35 Cost-conscious NL club owners, however, rejected this proposal “almost unanimously” in an undisclosed vote.36

A rules committee chaired by Jim Gallagher of the Cubs presented five changes to the game’s rules, all of which were adopted. The committee also included International League President Frank Shaughnessy, Nashville owner Larry Gilbert, Cleveland GM Greenberg, Tigers GM Muddy Ruel, Boston GM Joe Cronin, Dodgers minor-league director Fresco Thompson, PONY League President Vince McNamara, and Phillies executive George Fletcher. These were the changes:

  1. A rule was changed to demand that the pitcher deliver the ball within 20 seconds after it has been returned to him. The third-base umpire was directed to monitor this with a stopwatch. Previously, the count had begun when the pitcher took the rubber, and in truth it was hardly ever enforced.
  2. The catcher’s triangle was removed from behind home plate; instead, the catcher was to be required to remain behind the bat during an intentional base on balls.
  3. A technicality regarding the submission of lineup cards was removed. This changed stemmed from an awkward protest that arose during a Buffalo victory over Toronto the previous season. Toronto manager Luke Sewell had written the name of the same player at two positions on his card. The error had not been detected until after the lineups were turned in. The rule was amended to say that in case of such an obvious error, the umpire would have the right to make the change once the error was called to his attention, assuming it was done before the game began.
  4. The catcher interference rule was rewritten to give the batter first base and all runners an additional base. Previously, runners had only been permitted to advance on catcher’s interference if they were forced.
  5. The rules committee also approved the use of laminated bats.37

Major-League draft

At the major-league draft, held before the meetings began, the following players were taken:

Round 1: Roberto Clemente, outfielder, Montreal Royals, by Pittsburgh Pirates; Art Ceccarelli, left-handed pitcher, Birmingham Barons, by Kansas City Athletics; Jim King, outfielder, Rochester Red Wings, by Chicago Cubs; Bob Kline, infielder, Toronto Maple Leafs, by Washington Senators; Glen Gorbous, outfielder, Montreal Royals, by Cincinnati Redlegs; Ben Flowers, right-handed pitcher, Louisville Colonels, by Detroit Tigers; Joe Trimble, right-handed pitcher, Burlington Pirates, by Boston Red Sox; Roberto Vargas, left-handed pitcher, Indianapolis Indians, by Milwaukee Braves; Mickey Grasso, catcher, Indianapolis Indians, by New York Giants.

Round 2: Bob Spicer, right-handed pitcher, Los Angeles Angels, by Kansas City Athletics; Vicente Amor, right-handed pitcher, Oklahoma City, by Chicago Cubs; Jerry Dean, left-handed pitcher, Buffalo, by Cincinnati Reds

Round 3: Cloyd Boyer, right-handed pitcher, Rochester Red Wings, by Kansas City Athletics.38

Odds and ends

On December 7 the Yankees announced the signing of Elston Howard as the franchise’s first black player. Howard had batted .331 for Toronto in 1954. With the trade of Gene Woodling to Baltimore, Howard was seen as a prospect for left field, as well as at catcher, his natural position.39

American League officials honored Washington’s owner Clark Griffith in recognition of his 85th birthday, November 21. At the actual celebration a few weeks earlier, the gifts included an engraved silver bullet presented by television’s Lone Ranger. President Eisenhower wired his congratulations, expressing “sincere respect and appreciation for the wonderful contribution you have made, over many years, to our great national sport.”40

NL owners adopted a new constitution and rules, drawn up by league treasurer Fred Fleig in conjunction with Cubs business manager Jim Gallagher and Milwaukee GM John Quinn. They also replaced the league’s board of directors with three club representatives, one each from Brooklyn, Chicago, and Cincinnati.

They also re-elected Giles to another four-year term as league president; his contract was due to expire in 1955. 

The retirement of umpire Bill McGowan for health reasons was announced. He had umpired for 30 years, but had been ill for part of 1954. He would succumb to a heart attack just days later.

The post-mortem

Wrigley left the meeting championing expansion, but also advocating interleague cooperation. “Baseball simply refuses to recognize that we are living in a changing world,” he said. “If it doesn’t alter its attitude soon … the parade will have passed it by.” He cited its hesitation about entering Los Angeles as a case in point.  “According to the latest figures I have, Los Angeles since World War II has increased three times the total population of Kansas City. Furthermore, since the war it has had new housing units which equals the total housing units in the city of Detroit.”41

Wrigley was especially critical of his fellow owners’ intransigence, finding them unwilling to pull together for the common good. “The American League is against everything the National League wants, and the minor leagues are against everything the majors propose,” he said. “And that’s tremendously costly to baseball as a whole because industries that pull together in the common interest are invariably the most successful.”42

Notes

1 He later reduced the demand on the Omaha franchise to $60,000. “Minor Leagues Vote Down TV, Radio Baseball,” Chicago Tribune, December 2, 1954: C4.

2 “Yankees Sell Their Kansas City American Association Franchise,” New York Times, November 30, 1954: 37.

3 “More Liberal System on Working Agreements Adopted,” The Sporting News, December 8, 1954: 5.

4 “Lawrence Blasts Majors for Radio-TV Selfishness,” The Sporting News, December 8, 1954: 5.

5 “Gloomy Future for Minor League Baseball Pointed Up at Houston Meeting,” New York Times, December 4, 1954: 21.

6 “Minor Clubs Draft Only 44 Players – 19 of Them Pitchers,” The Sporting News, December 8, 1954: 9

7 Ibid.

8 “Minors Ban Outside Radio, Television,” Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1954: C1.

9 “Majors Veto Radio-TV curb; Minors Gain Financial Aid,” Chicago Tribune, December 8, 1954: C1.

10 “Big Leagues Revamp Working Agreement With Minors,” New York Times, December 8, 1954: 46.

11 “Majors Show They Want to Help,” editorial, The Sporting News, December 15, 1954: 12

12 “Lane Hails Hookup Prices as Great Help for the Lower Minors,” The Sporting News, December 15, 1954: 8.

13 “Majors Show They Want to Help.”

14 “Owner of Portsmouth Club Files Suit Against Majors for $250,000,” Hartford Courant, November 23, 1954: 27.

15 “TV Question Ticklish,” New York Times, November 28, 1954: S10

16 “Majors Show They Want to Help.”

17 “’Silly’ to Say Farm System Is Failing, Declares Rickey,” The Sporting News, December 15, 1954: 2.

18 Ibid

19 “Yankees Sign Howard, Then Send Negro Star to Play Winter Ball,” New York Times, December 8, 1954: 46.

20 Ibid.

21 “White Sox Boss Active at New York Convention: Most Valuable Expansion Talk Sample Schedule,” Christian Science Monitor, December 7, 1954: 18.

22 “Wrigley Predicts Majors Here Soon,” Los Angeles Times, November 24, 1954: C1.

23 “Yankees Sign Howard, Then Send Negro Star to Play Winter Ball.”

24 “AL to Stop, Look and Listen on Moves,” The Sporting News, December 15, 1954: 12.

25 ”Wrigley Predicts Majors Here Soon.”

26 Ibid.

27 Dick Young, “Clubhouse Confidential,” The Sporting News, December 8, 1954: 16.

28 “Frick Favors Third Major League,” The Sporting News, December 15, 1954: 10.

29 Ibid.

30 “Third Major Loop Favored by Frick,” The Sporting News,” December 15, 1954: 10.

31 “Majors Veto Radio-TV Curb; Minors Gain Financial Aid.”

32 “Big Leagues Revamp Working Agreement With Minors.”

33 Dick Young, “Clubhouse Confidential,” The Sporting News, December 8, 1954: 16.

34 Bob Broeg, “Cards’ Trade Puts Kid Boyer On Spot, Along With F. Smith,” The Sporting News, Dec. 15, 1954: 11.

35 “Rival Major Leagues to Give Expansion Serious Consideration,” Hartford Courant, December 5, 1954: B4.

36 “Chisox Secure Walt Dropo in Big Deal With Tigers,” Hartford Courant, December 7, 1954: 15.

37 “New Rule Requires Clocking at Meeting,” The Sporting News, December 15, 1954: 11.

38 “Major Draft,” The Sporting News, December 1, 1954: 6.

39 “Yankees Sign Howard, Then Send Negro Star to Play Winter Ball.”

40 “Griffith Honored on 85th Birthday,” New York Times, November 22, 1954.

41 “Study Suburban Parks, Woo Older Fans – Wrigley,” The Sporting News, December 8, 1954: 2.

42 Ibid.

© SABR. All Rights Reserved