SI Vault
September 22, 1958
As everyone knows by now, the major leagues met in Chicago last week to talk over various matters of import to baseball's brass. Nothing startling happened at the meetings (nor, indeed, was anything startling anticipated). The Washington Senators stayed in Washington, the National League did not expand to 10 teams, and the question of reviving the player bonus rule was tabled until next meeting.
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September 22, 1958

Baseball Candor Via Air Vent

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Griffith hedged slightly but agreed. Moreover, he indicated that the plans of Congress to build a new stadium for the Senators in Washington were not completely to his liking. The new stadium...would be built near the Maryland state line.... His clientele, he said, came from across the District of Columbia near the Virginia state line. In addition, the Griffiths would lose rental from the Washington Redskins pro football team.... So he was not very ecstatic about Congress' plan to build the stadium.

What would Congress do if it built the new stadium and the Senators didn't go for it?

Griffith felt that if the Washington club didn't agree to use the stadium, the stadium wouldn't be built....

"Let's remain in Washington through 1959," said one of the owners, "then review the whole subject next summer."

Furlong quoted Griffith on the question of moving his Senators to Minneapolis.

"It's in the contract, they'll guarantee us a million people every year for three years," said Griffith. "But a lawyer told me I should have them put money in escrow in case we don't draw a million."

And further:

Arnold Johnson of Kansas City brought up the question of the bonus rule, or draft rule.... Throughout the rest of the meeting, Johnson adroitly steered the discussion.... The big problem was what the U.S. Government would do if the major leagues adopted a draft [similar to the football draft]. The owners obviously feared that they'd be hit with some sort of antitrust action....

"If we worked out some reasonable formula of a draft and take it up with the Justice Department—let's exhaust that possibility," urged Arnold Johnson.

But the owners much preferred the bonus rule they jettisoned last winter. Said [League President Will] Harridge: "The Commissioner told me when we passed that bonus rule that it would be hard to enforce. It wasn't six months later before he was back saying he couldn't enforce it."

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