"Oh, I can't let you have Mr. Carrasquel," said Rickey. Lane waited patiently, until he could determine what player Rickey really wanted to sell in Chicago. It turned out to be Sam Jethroe. The price, $250,000 and three players, appeared to be one beyond all bounds of civilized piracy.
Lane feigned interest in Jethroe but admitted that his funds were limited. "I'll tell you," said Lane, " Appling is about to collapse. I can't afford your top kids there, but give me a fair price on Carrasquel and then I'll have an idea what I can give you for Jethroe." Rickey and Lane agreed on a price of $25,000 and one player for Chico and that they would meet in Buffalo at the International League playoffs the following week to close the deal.
A few days later Rickey's son, Branch Jr., stopped by Lane's office. Lane asked him about Carrasquel and then kept talking about the deal he had made with his father. Later, Rickey Sr. was unable to make it to Buffalo, so Lane, acting quickly, sent a telegram telling him he was preparing to announce the purchase of Carrasquel. Soon, the phone rang.
"I never made a deal for Carrasquel." Rickey moaned. "I just talked about him as a part of a transaction involving Jethroe."
"Are you kidding?" Lane asked, acting stunned. "Check with Branch Jr." Rickey left the phone, talked with his son, and returned to the phone, saying: "All right. I don't remember it the way you say it, but if I made an agreement I'll live up to it."
The deal was announced, and a few days later Rickey was on the phone again. "All right," he said, "now let's get down to business on Jethroe."
"Jethroe?" wailed Lane. "I'm not interested in Jethroe. Whatever gave you that idea?"
Says Lane: " Rickey was a lot of fun, but of all the men I've tried to deal with, the most frustrating was George Weiss. We never made a trade. He had some peculiar ideas.
" 'Frank,' he'd begin, 'we need a pitcher. We want someone good. Like Billy Pierce.'
" 'Sure, George, but Pierce is our ace,' I'd counter. 'We'd want a lot in return.'