A 1914 Sweet Caporal Cigarette advertisement featuring New York Giants catcher Larry McLean “a great favorite of the fans:”
“Once a smoker gets the taste of Sweet Caporal no other cigarette ever really satisfies him. He always comes back to good old Sweets.”
McLean wore out his welcome in New York and ended his major league career the following season when he fought with Manager John McGraw, and McGraw’s right-hand man, “Sinister Dick” Kinsella in the lobby of the Buckingham Hotel in St. Louis.
It was hardly the first controversy for McLean, who battled–albeit not physically–with every manager he played for during his 13-year-career. Sam Crane, the sports writer and former infielder, summed up McLean well in a 1910 article for “Pearson’s Magazine:”
“Larry McLean, of the Cincinnati Reds, as a mere mechanical catcher is hard to beat. He has a splendid arm and can throw like a streak. Larry is too, perhaps, the best batting catcher in either league, but his erratic habits make it impossible to place any confidence in him.”
A year earlier, in May, McLean had deserted the Reds during an East Coast trip and was “suspended indefinitely” by Manager Clark Griffith, who told The Cincinnati Enquirer:
“When you have a man who is liable to run out at the first call of the wild, you are in an uncertain position all the time. I am perfectly free to say that I might not take McLean back on the team at all, and certainly not until he shows me that he means business.”
McLean was back in the lineup within days, and as he did throughout his career, pledged to a reporter from The Cincinnati Times-Star that he would “(C)onduct himself properly from now on.”
It was a pledge McLean made and broke several times throughout his career which ended at age 33. He would be dead six years later, the result of a fight in a Boston bar.