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Major league ballplayers have now had a chance to open their mail and study their new contracts. Stan Musial, 39, of the St. Louis Cardinals, was asked to take a cut (from $100,000 to $80,000). Musial, manfully, said the cut was overdue. "I'm glad to sign this contract." he said, "because a couple of times in the past the Cards have had me sign for more than we agreed upon orally. This year I thought I'd be kind to them."
Philadelphia's veteran pitcher Robin Roberts hid whatever else he must have felt when he said, "I have to admit I deserved to be cut. It wasn't a tremendous slice, and for a man who lost 17 games and won 15, it was justified." Whitey Ford of the Yankees was resigned to a cut but wasn't asked to take one. Although he lost 10 games while winning 16 (Who did I beat? Kansas City and Washington!" he grumped), he was promised the same salary as last year, $35,000. "The first thing I did was look for a stamp," said Ford. "I wanted to sign that contract and get it back before they changed their minds."
A Better Boss
Big as the Yankees were in baseball, they became small fish in the vast CBS corporate pond. It is impossible to predict how Steinbrenner, Burke and Company will run the Yankees, but the fans, players and other members of baseball's brass now at least can hope for ownership they can focus on: a corporate personality instead pf a wandering mote in the vast, vague, unblinking eye of the TV screen.
Like it or not, the major league baseball fan of today is forced to be monogamous—or, to put it another way, faithful to the league of his city's choice. Only in Chicago can a fan be happily polygamous and enjoy the live baseball of both leagues.
Willie Mays will continue to be a stranger to the fan in his old hometown of New York, barring a World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Yankees. Again barring a Series between the Yankees and the Giants (or the Dodgers), West Coast fans will have no glimpse of Mickey Mantle.
But why shouldn't interleague games become a regular part of the season. with the results counting in each league's own standings, just as they do in professional football? The public would enjoy it.
With or without expansion, the schedule-makers should have enough imagination to pair off one National League team with one American for an interleague game, somewhere, every day. Given the glacial pace of change in baseball, this is perhaps too much to hope for by 1961. But maybe by 1963....