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Eleven floors above the conference room in New York's Hotel Commodore, where the rulers of major league baseball met last week, a troubled man named George Trautman sat in his bedroom and talked. On his dresser was a bottle labeled:
For two days major league magnates talked of expansion, of new cities, of California gold. The American League set up a committee to see what can be done, over the next year or two, about adding teams on the Pacific Coast. The National League, confident that it has a foot in the California door already, kept its counsel.
The minors? They were mentioned at the meetings. The major leaguers agreed to invest a bit more money in clubs with which they had working agreements—and from which they draw nearly all their talent. The majors refused to vote a ban on telecasting or broadcasting their games into minor league cities. "We couldn't," one magnate explained confidentially. "Restraint of trade."
Before the 1954 major league meetings began, the fast-folding minor leagues were baseball's most pressing problem. When the meetings were over, the minors remained baseball's most pressing problem.
"Sure," said an angry minor league official as he prepared to head home, "the magnates haven't done much in 50 years. You can't expect them to do anything in two days."
After more than 50 years of meeting, the major leagues' winter session has come to resemble, in broad outline, a convention of the American Dried Fruit and Pecan Nut Packers Association. There are industry-wide problems to be faced and the captains of industry sit at conference tables apparently facing them. This year baseball's captains actually faced very little.
On the first day of the meetings—Monday—the American and National Leagues met separately. The American League launched a study of expansion. The National League voted to bar press photographers from working on the field during games and dealt with matters of similar moment.
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