“For That is a Very bad Business”

2 Apr

After winning the National League pennant in 1903, Barney Dreyfuss told The Pittsburgh Dispatch that he intended to further improve his team but:

“I do not want any ‘sports’ on the Pittsburgh team, and that’s why I’m so careful and go slowly in my selection of what new talent we want for next season.”

“By ‘sport,’ I mean the player who will bet on himself or his team to win games.”

dreyfuss

Barney Dreyfuss

Dreyfuss, the paper said, was committed to a fourth straight first-place finish for his club and knew what to avoid:

“I don’t want any man who will wager that his team will win, that the other fellows will be shut out, etc…for that is a very bad business, and there entirely too much of it in baseball now. I know pitchers who will, when they have the money, bet as high as $100 on themselves when they go in the box.”

He said he didn’t want “any of these people,” and currently had “no such players on” the Pirates:

“At first it looks like a good game; it looks as though the club owner should be proud to have in his employ men who will wager their own hard-earned money that they will beat the other fellows, but when we look at it more closely and examine records it proves to be very bad baseball.”

And, he said his colleagues had stories:

“Many are the club managers and owners who could tell, if they would, where such and such a game was lost by a certain player having bet and becoming too anxious.”

Dreyfuss said he had passed “on what seemed to be first-class men,” including “two very fast pitchers,” for being “sports,” because he said in addition to the problems on the field:

“(It) leads them into loafing with the betting element.”

Dreyfuss didn’t care if they never bet against their own club:

“They always bet on themselves of course, but they cannot play on the Pittsburgh club”

Despite his efforts to not sign any “sports,” the 1904 Pirates broke the three-year string of pennants, finishing fourth.

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