"This is the last door open," threatened Irvin. "If I don't hear from you by tomorrow, I'll know that you've closed the door."
A few days later, I got a telegram from Kuhn:
AM DISAPPOINTED YOU DECLINED MY INVITATION FOR A PERSONAL CONFERENCE IN LOS ANGELES ON FRIDAY. I DESIRED AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS WITH YOU PERSONALLY YOUR BASEBALL CAREER WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO THE BASIC ISSUES INVOLVED IN THE PENDING LITIGATION. MY COUNSEL HAS ASCERTAINED FROM YOUR COUNSEL THAT THE LATTER HAD NO OBJECTIONS TO SUCH A CONFERENCE WITH THE EXPLICIT CONDITION THAT HE WAS NOT RECOMMENDING THAT YOU ASSENT OR DECLINE. THIS IS TO ADVISE YOU THAT IF YOU RECONSIDER I WILL CONTINUE TO BE AVAILABLE.
The trial itself was dull. The points at issue were matters of constitutional and legal scholarship. Testimony was less significant than the arguments contained in the briefs. So we got a parade of testimonials from witnesses who said that the reserve system was bad or unnecessary or both, after which the defense produced testimonials from witnesses who contended that the system was vital to the perpetuation of the game. The defense provided a certain sad amusement by its repeated assertion that modification of the reserve rules would "ruin baseball as we know it."
What they meant was that the change might reduce their profits. The term "baseball as we know it" conveyed the idea that the game had never changed. Leonard Koppett put that notion to rest when he wrote in The New York Times: "Is baseball as 'we know it' sixteen teams playing 154-game schedules, twenty teams playing 162-game schedules, or twenty-four teams playing in four divisions?
"Is it independent minor-league teams and free competition for new players, or subsidized minors with a free-agent draft?
"Is it unlimited control of hundreds of players by any one farm system, or an 'unrestricted draft' that limits certain control to the forty-man roster?
"Is it a half-century of immovable franchises crammed into eleven cities in the northeast quadrant of the country, or sixteen changes in the major-league map in the last seventeen years?
"Is it a game played on natural grass or on a synthetic surface?...Is it a lively ball or a dead ball, symmetrical stadia or old ball parks, big gloves or little gloves, 400 major-league players or 600 major-league players?...
"The reserve clause has been 100 percent effective since 1915, when the Federal League folded. All the above changes have come about since then. The only aspect 'preserved' by the reserve system is the reserve system itself."