In 1916, The Newspaper Enterprise Association ran a series of brief articles called “One Minute Talks with Ballplayers.”
“There has been a disposition on the part of some people to criticize the ballplayer for getting all the salary he could shake down from his employer. In a few cases a ballplayer may have done this, if so, his conduct was but a duplicate of what is commonly done in other lines of business.
“A clerk in a dry goods store doesn’t see anything improper in asking for a raise if he believes he has earned it, and if his employers for some reason are unable to pay him he believes he is justified going elsewhere.
“As a matter of fact, the ballplayer seldom drives a hard bargain even when he has the opportunity.”
Speaker appears to have not taken his own advice about driving “a hard bargain. According to the 1918 “Reach Baseball Guide,” Speaker took a pay cut—from $17,500 to $15,000—after he was traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Cleveland Indians for two players and $55,000 before the 1916 season. And, according to the same source, despite hitting a league-leading .386 in 1916, Speaker continued to earn $15,000 a year through 1918.