“Joe Cantillon Offered to Trade Ball Teams”

7 May

Bill Veeck is credited with being the first to say, “Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.”

Pongo Joe Cantillon might have thought this after the 1913 American Association season.

pongo

Cantillon

John H. Ritchie, sports editor of The Minneapolis Journal told the story:

“Few baseball bugs have ever heard of the time when Joe Cantillon offered to trade ball teams with George Tebeau—and George backed down.”

Early in the 1913 season, the two were speaking before Cantillon’s Minneapolis Millers played Tebeau’s Kansas City Blues.

tebeau

Tebeau

“George felicitated Joe on having gathered a good team. Tebeau called them the best of the league and said something about Joe not having any excuse if he lost the pennant with such a team.

“’Pong’ looked at Tebeau is quizzical style and remarked ‘I don’t think so awfully well of my prospects. I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll trade my whole ball club for right now as it stands, for yours. I’ll trade you absolutely even this minute and we’ll play the game today as the teams stand. When you leave tonight, you take my old team with you and I’ll keep your old team here. Whatchesay?’”

Ritchie said Tebeau turned to Cantillon’s brother and business partner, Mike, and asked if he was willing to make the trade his brother offered.

“Mike replied that whatever Joe said went for the whole Cantillon family. Tebeau studied a while longer and decided it wasn’t a good day to trade. And Joseph has sworn ever since that he would have traded Tebeau in the twinkling of an eye if the magnate had accepted.”

Cantillon’s Millers were 97-70 and finished in second place, three games back of the champion Milwaukee Brewer. Tebeau’s Blues finished tied for sixth with a 69-98 record

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