From SABR member Jeff Kallman at Throneberry Fields Forever on January 20, 2019:
One commissioner’s ignored suggestion and a future commissioner’s foolish ruling, both involving player sales, might have made major differences if each went the other way. Especially on the pressures brought into the game in the years after the reserve era ended with the Andy Messersmith-Dave McNally ruling of 1975.
In 1928, Earl Averill of the Pacific Coast League’s San Francisco Seals caught the eye of the Indians. The Indians bought Averill from the Seals for a reported $50,000, with the apparent proviso that Averill wouldn’t have to report to the Tribe until after the PCL pennant race was over. A quiet man whose passions included animals and flowers, the future Hall of Famer was also savvy enough to flinch when he read about the sale in a newspaper article.
As Bill James exhumed for The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract in 2001, Averill asked how much of the sale price he could expect to receive. James didn’t say whether the Seals laughed their fool heads off, but he did say the answer was nothing. If that was the case, Averill decided he wasn’t going anywhere, never mind that both the Seals and the Indians tried to talk him into deciding otherwise.
Read the full article here: https://throneberryfields.com/2019/01/20/sale-no-sale/
Originally published: January 29, 2019. Last Updated: January 29, 2019.