“Such Men are Demoralizing Agents in any Team”

19 Dec

Henry Chadwick is called by many “The Father of Baseball.”  Is Hall of Fame plaque calls him “Baseball’s preeminent pioneer.”  Chadwick is credited with creating the box score and writing baseball’s first rule book.  He was also a sportswriter for more than 50 years.  In 1880 he wrote an article for The New York Clipper about what qualities teams should looks for in the players they sign.  O.P. Caylor of The Cincinnati Enquirer said Chadwick “Never wrote more truth in so little space:”

“In the first place, what a manager must avoid is the engagement of players is the habit of indulging in intoxicating liquors.  Such men are demoralizing agents in any team in which they allowed to play, as the experience of 1879, especially in the League arena, fully proved.  Not only is a drunken professional his own enemy, but his presence in a team is also necessarily destructive of its morals.  In fact, temperate habits among professional ball players are more essential to success than is any special skill they may possess in playing their several positions; for a poor player who is a temperate man and earnest in his work is more serviceable than any man who is a fine player can be who is under the influence of drinking habits.

“Secondly, quick-tempered, passionate men are unfit to be in a nine made up to play for the side.  Hot temper is not only opposed to clear judgment, but it entirely prevents a man under its influence from playing for the side.  Such men, when they ‘get their mad up’ at anything, do not hesitate a moment to indulge their spite at a brother player at the cost of even the loss of the match.

Henry Chadwick

Henry Chadwick

“Thirdly, in making up a team for carrying out this policy, you must avoid putting players in it who have any ambitious views for preferment, such as a desire to be made captain of the nine or manager of the team.  It is impossible for such men to play for the side.  They are so busy in organizing cliques against the powers that be, and in maneuvering for the desired place, that they think of little else, and they play the game only with this one object in view.  This has always been a cause of difficulty in teams in which there are two or more ex-captains or ex-managers.  The player who has once tasted the fruit of authority is rarely amenable to control when occupying a subordinate position unless it be under some ruler whom he knows to be his superior as a captain or manager.  Ex-captains or ex-managers might serve under Harry Wright, for instance, but they would be restive under the rule of a less experienced and capable man.

“Fourthly, players who have an “itching palm’ should be avoided in the make-up of a team selected for carrying out the policy of playing for the side.  Men of this class are always (on the alert) for opportunities to do a little outside business in a quiet way which will help to increase their pecuniary receipts of the season.

“Fifthly, the longer players are kept in the service of one club the more they may be relied upon to play for the side, as a general rule; and it is not an unfair conclusion to arrive at that that player who is ready to leave the service of a good club at the temptation of the offer of a couple of hundred dollars a year more salary, is a man whose heart is not in his work sufficiently to make him a good player for his side.  In fact, this club feeling—that is, a feeling of special interest in the success of his club outside of any interested motive of a more personal nature—is one of the foundation stones of the policy of playing for the side.  Players who possess none of this kind of feeling are of that class who are ready to exclaim ‘I don’t care a snap for the club; I go in to play my best for my record, and if this helps to win games, well and good; but you bet I ain’t a-going to spoil my average just to win a match for no club in the league.  That’s the kind of a player I am, and don’t you forget it.’”

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5 Responses to ““Such Men are Demoralizing Agents in any Team””

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] less a figure than the “Father of Baseball,” Henry Chadwick held out hope that Borchers would eventually be a successful […]

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    […] that baseball “is distinctively an American sport.”  The commission was formed in reaction to Henry Chadwick’s 1903 essay which said baseball was derived from British game rounders—after Spalding’s […]

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    […] Crane said the team was accompanied by “a young Filipino, who, while he did not play on the soldier team, practiced with them and showed surprising proficiency… (The) youth knew all the points of the game as well as Henry Chadwick.” […]

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