Lost Advertisements–Heinie Groh for Sweet Caporal

4 Mar


A 1914 Sweet Caporal advertisement featuring Heine [sic] Groh–the company didn’t spend a great deal of time checking the spelling of the names of their endorsers.

“For a fine, mellow cigarette you can’t beat Sweet Caporal.  They’ve got a good, pure tobacco flavor that’s great.”

The salary dispute that culminated with Groh’s trade from the Cincinnati Reds to the New York Giants after the 1921 season had been ongoing since at least 1917 and earned him the title “last of the holdout kings” from The Washington Herald.

His 1920 holdout was, according to Groh, inspired by his wife Marguerite, who also spoke to the press on her husband’s behalf as the dispute ground on into March.

The Cincinnati Times-Star said while speaking at a “local banquet,” Groh told the audience:

“We were sitting in a vaudeville show not long ago and were listening to the thunderous applause being accorded a couple of high salaried dancers.

“My wife touched my arm.  ‘Do you see how they are being praised now?’ she asked. ‘But what will happen to them in a few years when their legs start to go bad?  They’ll get asked to leave won’t they? That’s why they’re so high-priced now.  Let that be a lesson to you.’

“So right then and there Mrs. Groh made me promise that I would not sign a Reds contract until I got my figures…When my wife says sign, I’ll sign and not a minute before.”



Marguerite Groh was more direct when she spoke to the paper:

“I don’t care if all the other players sign, and if Heinie can’t do anything better next summer than work in the garden I think he should continue holding out for what he wants.

“We both believe Heinie has been underpaid for several seasons.  This is the year in which we can afford to be independent, and I am urging Heinie to continue his fight to get what he believes he is entitled to.

“It is not a question of how much Heinie can make in some other business. We both know the Reds are willing to pay him more than he will make if he does not sign at the club’s terms.

“But we will be perfectly able to get through the year without any baseball income if the Reds don’t meet Heinie’s terms, and they’ll have to do it if he is to play for them.”

After the Reds left for Miami, Florida without Groh on March 5, The Associated Press said:

“Heinie Groh, or rather Mrs. Heinie Groh, is still among the holdouts in baseball.  There is lurking suspicion that Heinie would like to end the controversy and join his teammates in the South, but Mrs. Groh absolutely refuses to let him go unless (Reds owner August) Garry Herrmann offers her little Heinie more money.”

Four days later Groh agreed to terms, The Cincinnati Enquirer said the Reds “Would not state the amount” of the contract, but said Groh had asked for $12,500 and the team had originally offered $10,000.

During Groh’s long holdout the following year, Mrs. Groh’s opinion was never reported.



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