“Did you Ever Hear of a Captain Fining a Manager?”

23 Apr

In 1896, “Scrappy” Bill Joyce, the captain of the Washington Senators, asked a reporter for The Pittsburgh Press:

“Did you ever hear of a captain fining a manager? That’s what I did.”

scrappy

Scrappy Bill Joyce

Joyce said he did this in 1889 when he was the captain of the Houston Mud Cats in the Texas League:

“(W)e went to Galveston to play an important series of games that was to decide which team would head the race for the championship. As the Houstons and Galvestons were hot rivals, these games were important. Johnnie McCloskey, who afterward managed the Louisville team, was my manager. Johnnie was mashed on his ability as a fielder, though no one else was enamored of his fielding, and an X-ray wouldn’t discover any medals on him as a ballplayer, yet he was a good manager.”

Joyce said McCloskey wanted “to show his friends in Galveston what he could do” and insisted on being in the lineup.

mccloskey

John McCloskey

“I tickled his pride by placing my regular right fielder on the bench and putting McCloskey in his place. The umpire announced before the game that Mr. McCloskey, the genial and brilliant manager of the Houston team, in deference to the wishes of his legion of friends in Galveston would play right field on this particular occasion. Johnnie acknowledged receipt of the friendship and esteem of his Galveston admirers by dropping two flies in the first inning that let in four runs.”

Joyce said, “he ordered him out of the game,” but McCloskey refused:

“But what I said went, and I not only removed him, but fined him $20 for insulting me, his captain. As manager of the team, he fined me $50 for disobeying his orders. I raised his fine to $100, and he pushed mine up to $200.

“We won the game, and the owners of the club decided to remit both fines. I have never discovered to this day who was the authority in a case like this, but it strikes me that a manager who thinks he can play ball and can’t, ought to be fined.”

Houston won the league championship

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