If Devine had me
on the run, I'd let him chase me a little anyway.
most graciously for not getting in touch, engulfing me in a burst of warm
wishes that we could really get together for a long talk. "There are three
elements that affect a ball club's basic salary budget for players," he
said, "the statistics of the player's performance the preceding year; the
player's future—how long can he be expected to last; the ball club's position
in the standings."
standards, who would get a raise? This argument, in expert hands, would
obviously reduce all the Cardinals to beggary. "Bing," I interrupted,
"we're not arguing about last year. Let's stick with next season, O.K.?
Now, $20,000 is a symbol of success with me. When I first started playing pro
ball I was making $125 a month. My goal became symbolized by that $20,000 per
year. Without straining credulity too much, you might say I'm close to
realizing that goal. I don't feel that I should compromise at this
"Life is a
series of compromises," he opined. "I'd like to be making as much as I
think I deserve, too."
Valley glowed hospitably under a pre-spring zephyr. Soft showers stirred the
apple-blossom buds. I savored some of the best freeloading in baseball. I was
sipping some when the last offer came. "This is the best I can do,"
Devine said. "We've talked security, pennant, high cost of living,
financial goals in life, prospective parenthood. Now let's get serious," he
said, slowly and distinctly and finally.
"Give me five
hundred more and I'll settle," I said.
about $500?" he said.
FEBRUARY 19: The
day we arrived in St. Petersburg, newspapers described the holdouts on the
Cardinal club. Vinegar Bend Mizell's reaction was that of any shrewd,
hard-nosed Alabama farmer who always got plenty of peanuts for his peanuts, and
why shouldn't the subsidy remain the same? If the farmer has a bad year on the
farm nowadays the Government still supports him in the style to which he has
become accustomed. "It's a matter of principle!" cried Wilmer.
pretty far apart," said Devine.
win," said Larry Jackson, as Wilmer signed just one day before we