Appel: The Mexican League raids and the temptation of Stan Musial

From SABR member Marty Appel at The National Pastime Museum on May 15, 2014:

The Mexican League began playing the American imports in May 1946, while continuing to pursue the big names. Those they had signed were spread among the eight teams—Mexico City, Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Tampico, Torreon, and Veracruz.

Stan Musial was tempted. He was making $13,500. Alfonso Pasquel, one of Jorge’s brothers (the others were Bernardo, Mario, and Gerardo, Alfonso’s twin), visited Stan in June 1946 with Mickey Owen in tow and Max Lanier on the phone. He said they offered a $50,000 signing bonus and $125,000 on top of that to sign for five years. Others, including Irvin, heard he got a blank check. He was making $13,500.

“Stan, you’ve got two children,” said his manager, Eddie Dyer. “Do you want them to hear someone say, ‘There are the kids of a guy who broke his contract?’”

Stan stayed put. Lanier would quit two months into the 1947 season.

All the jumpers except Vern “Junior” Stephens, who was unsigned, received five-year suspensions from Commissioner Happy Chandler, in office less than a year. Predictably, the punishment had wide support.

Cardinals owner, Sam Breadon, took a trip to Mexico City on his own to meet with Jorge Pasquel, and perhaps halt the raids and set in motion a working relationship. He not only failed, but he was fined $5,000 for acting without approval by Chandler.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 15, 2014. Last Updated: May 15, 2014.