"We've got a
good ball club, Hawk. It's a great young club. It's not too many years away
from a pennant. These guys are your friends. They love you and you love
"And I hate to
leave them," I said. "But I will not play ball for Charlie
I decided to call
Al Dark for advice. When I located him in Washington, he said, "Hawk,
you're in the best position of anyone in the whole history of baseball. As a
free agent in the prime of your career you'll collect a fortune. Before this
thing is over it could run up to a quarter of a million dollars, but I don't
think you should let it."
you'll antagonize people. You can play one club against another just so far,
but no farther. Don't shortchange yourself, but don't be greedy. Any way you
look at it, you're going to get a lot of money. How many clubs have contacted
"Most of the
American League teams, I guess," I said. "I'm meeting Haywood Sullivan
of the Red Sox at the airport in a little while."
"A nice guy
and a fine organization," Alvin said. "They've got a good young ball
club, with a chance to win the pennant. I'd like to see you with them."
"I still don't
know what kind of money to ask," I said.
"See what they
offer," Alvin said. "That will give you something to work on when you
talk to the others."
$88,000 as a starter, but in the meantime Paul Richards of the Atlanta Braves
called. He's a close friend and one of my favorite golfing companions. Besides,
in Atlanta I'd practically be at home and I like the ball park there. The more
I thought about it, the better the idea seemed.