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Thread: To Rule in Kansas City

  1. #61
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    Early November 1969


    "I'm not coming back."

    Joe Gordon's first words to me upon entering my office weren't a surprise, but still they hurt. For all our occasional disagreements, Joe hadn't done badly as manager.

    "Well, let's have a drink to our season then." I reached into my drawer, pulled out a bottle of scotch I'd bought against just this meeting, and two glasses.

    He chuckled and reached for his glass as I poured. "You're not going to try to talk me out of it?"

    "Why, do you want to be?"

    "Nope." He leaned back and sniffed his drink, grimaced, but wolfed it down anyway. "I'll tell you what it is. I've been in baseball thirty-three years, and I'm just tired. 162 games, spring training, being around for negotiations? It's more than I want at this point in my life."

    "I understand. When I joined the Cards I thought everyone just played ball all summer and went home - six months off. I had no idea." I shook my head and drank.

    "Then there's this being an expansion club. I think we did **** well. I'm proud of them. I just don't think I'm the one to bring them up to being competitive."

    "I understand," I said again. "So you're out of baseball?"

    "For now at least. I'll be sure to razz you when you make it out to Oakland though."

    I chuckled. "Don't suppose you know anyone looking for a managerial job?"

    He grinned. "Charlie Metro would love it, but he's a bit..."

    "Passive?"

    "Yeah, that. I know who I'd hire. Experienced - not so good with vets maybe, but you don't have that many. Really good at getting a player's attention and stirring up a crowd."

    "Available?"

    "If he isn't now, he will be in a few weeks. I don't think his GM likes how he does things."

    Talk about a red flag. Still... "So who is this man?"

    "The Twins skipper: Billy Martin."
    *******

    Royals Final Analysis: 1969

    Batting (Minimum 125 AB)
    Code:
    1969 Batting        Pos    G   AVG    AB    H  2B  3B  HR   BB    K   SB  CS    R  RBI   SLG   OBP
    Rodriguez, Ellie     C   134  .277   465  129  14   0   0   89   58    0   2   58   32  .308  .399
    
    Fiore, Mike         1B   117  .216   348   75  11   0   7   59   79    1   1   35   40  .307  .329
    Oliver, Bob        1B/OF 127  .251   358   90  13   4   8   17   78    1   0   35   46  .377  .288
    
    Alcaraz, Luis       2B    86  .206   243   50  12   2   1   10   48    4   0   14   24  .284  .235
    Foy, Joe            3B   156  .244   524  128  23   7  16   88   67   10   9   86   68  .406  .357
    Gagliano, Phil      IF   121  .233   369   86  22   0   1   48   59    3   0   48   25  .301  .328
    Schaal, Paul        IF    90  .262   279   73  10   1   5   40   42    2   3   33   32  .358  .356
    Severson, Rich      IF    79  .188   170   32   7   0   1    9   34    4   1   20   19  .247  .229
    
    Kelly, Pat          OF    54  .325   209   68  14   1   7   29   42    7   6   42   44  .502   406
    Kirkpatrick, Ed     RF/C 155  .236   500  118  13   1  16   71   78    5   3   82   72  .362  .337
    Northey, Scott      CF    91  .203   133   27   8   1   3    9   27    3   1   14   11  .346  .264
    Piniella, Lou      LF/RF 129  .297   462  137  28   4   9   30   43    1   2   50   68  .433  .337
    Rico, Fred          RF   131  .229   424   97  16   1   4   32   84   11   1   43   33  .300  .284
    Spriggs, George    LF/RF  69  .257   183   47  11   3   3   17   41    3   2   22   20  .399  .322
    Catcher: Rodriguez did well enough this year to earn the starting spot, and will probably hold it for a few years. Merritt Ranew (70) didn't play during his stint with us, and with Dennis Paepke (69/75) and Buck Martinez (68/92) coming up fast he's expendable.

    First: Fiore and Oliver had almost equal playing time, but with all else being equal Oliver wins. He has a better fielding percentage (.996) and is a somewhat stronger hitter. My nearest first baseman in the minors are in low-A ball, Craig Kusick and C/1B John Wathan.

    Second: My infield is a flaming wreck. Gagliano and Alcaraz handled second base most of this year. Phil's not happy, and it's affecting his play, though his .991 fielding is nice. Luis is simply awful. There's hope though, as Frank White (68/95) is coming up fast.

    Third: Joe Foy handled third most of this year. He's a solid player, especially by Royals standards, but nothing spectacular and his .940 fielding isn't impressive. There are no third basemen in the Royals' immediate future unless one counts Severson - which I don't.

    Short: Schall benefited greatly converting from 'only' third to short and second. He traded short most of the season with Severson and ultimately came out on top. (Severson ended the season on my 40 man roster in Omaha!) SS Jackie Hernandez (67) came up to fill our bench, but he's not part of our future. Dave Concepcion (71/81) will probably be Schall's backup next year.

    Left: Pat Kelly initially held this position until his injury and Lou Piniella took over. Both men were quite impressive and will be part of our future going forward. It's possible Kelly will go to center, or Piniella to right to accomodate both men, but that brings up its own problems.

    Center: Despite his training in right, Fred Rico spent most of the season in center and did well enough (.986 fielding.) His offensive production is lamentable, but on the other hand he's the closest thing we have to a stealing threat. Northey ably backed him up, but Scott's just not that good and will have to fight to keep his spot on the 25-man roster.

    Right: Ed Kirkpatrick played most of the season here. Like Rico, his batting average could use significant improvement...but he's our best power hitter, and that's proving important after all the changes to pitchers last year. As such, unless another real power hitter besides him (or Foy) develops, he won't be touched. George Spriggs did very well as his backup, but my scouts tell me he won't get any better. (68/69)

    There's only one outfielder in the minors anywhere near ready: Joe Keough (67/81) batted .257 in 35 AB with the parent club. Another year or two of seasoning might earn him a spot on the roster.
    -------

    Pitchers (Minimum 24 IP)
    Code:
    1969 Pitching            Role     IP   ERA    G  GS   W   L  SV    K   BB   R/9
    Blyleven, Bert            SP   142.0  4.06   19  19   8   5   0  115   52 12.68
    Bunker, Wally             SP   263.1  4.10   39  39  14  19   0  150   86 12.13
    Morehead, Dave            SP   216.2  5.32   36  36   8  19   0  180  111 13.58
    Rooker, Jim               SP   132.1  5.64   21  20   5  13   0   75   66 15.37
    Splittorff, Paul          SP   105.2  3.49   19  14   4   5   0   43   39 12.52
    
    Burgmeier, Tom            RP    90.1  3.59   68   1   2   6  12   42   29 11.46
    Butler, Bill              SP    24.0  2.63   12   0   1   0   1   12   11 10.88
    Drago, Dick               RP    78.0  4.04   32   4   1   3   0   35   36 13.73
    Fitzmorris, Al            SP    54.1  7.29   27   0   2   2   2   18   35 17.23
    Nelson, Roger             SP    30.2  6.46   16   0   3   4   1   13   17 15.26
    Watt, Eddie               RP    34.2  3.63   35   0   4   7  22   22   22 12.98
    Wright, Ken               RP    56.0  4.02   31   0   3   3   0   26   29 11.89
    Starters: Bert Blyleven went from HIGH SCHOOL to being one of our better starters. If we can keep him healthy and focused, and HoF voters don't get a burr up their tail, he might be an HoFer some day. Bunker, our 'ace', did well enough as did Paul Splittorff in his first season.

    Morehead led the team in strikeouts, but he has to get better at the rest of his game or he might find himself reduced to long relief/emergency starter. Rooker spent part of the season in the minors. Whether he can stay up here is an open question.

    Butler, Fitzmorris and Nelson, currently playing reliever, all have the endurance to be starters and Butler did well enough in 24 IP. He might get his chance next year on the rotation.

    Relievers: Eddie Watt took over the closer role and did well enough, with the able (if sometimes infuriating) backup of Tom Burgmeier. Fitzmorris ended the season in AAA with a nearly 0.5 K/BB ratio.

    There's hope though: Steve Jones (0-1 3.38) performed well while up here, but my scouts say he won't last. (68/70) If Chris Zachary (1-1 9.56) can get his act together however, he can help here. (76/93) So can Jerry Cram (69/92) a reliever moving quickly through the minors.

    Summary:
    I'd say we're one good starter, and maybe two good relievers, away from a contending pitching staff. We need to get our infield under control though, or we're not going anywhere. I can live with Rodriguez as catcher for a few years, and our outfield is more or less okay.
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  2. #62
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    November 1969

    Negotiations

    Armed with Richie Perrin's scouting reports and a good idea of our budget for next year (about $1.5 million), I felt a little more confident talking to players. All of them had agents. In most cases this was just a friend or relative who happened to be a lawyer or accountant, but apparently professional representation is becoming more and more popular.

    Back in St. Louis I sat in on a few negotiations with Gary. These were more like chats, with some give and take on salary or debates on what constituted a good year, but mostly cordial. I don't know how many contracts we settled over drinks or a good meal. In the last year or two it's been more formal conferences with representatives on both sides. What the heck's happening to baseball?

    First, two players warned me they wanted arbitration. Introduced in the '50s, (in this universe) we used arbitrators for situations where it didn't appear likely the team and players could come together, but both sides did want to play. It allowed a neutral party to settle disputes.

    * I called RP Eddie Watt (77) [28] (4-7 3.63 22 SV) and let him know how much the Royals appreciated his services. I told him we were prepared to be generous and he agreed to meet.

    Watt made $20,900 in '69. He wanted $75K for two years, I countered with $65. We split the difference and called it $68K with a player option in 1972.

    Joe Foy let me know he wanted to hear what arbitrators had to say. Fair enough, at least he told me to my face. It's the two who went behind my back that I'm not happy with. (Year 2 arbitration maybe? Grrr...)

    * The first arbitration hearing was with IF Paul Schall. (76) [26] (.262 5-32 2 SB) I wasn't happy. We'd done Schall a favor by converting him from third to general infield, and this is how he repays us? I held my tongue, though, lest I annoy the arbitrator. He made $143K in 1969 and wanted $140K. I pointed out his lack of production and offered $100K. The arbitrator agreed.

    * 3B Joe Foy (77) [26] (.244 16-68 10) was next. I pointed out that while we valued his services, .244 wasn't that good when the entire league hit .257. Nonetheless, I offered to raise his salary from $88.5K to $108K. He wanted $124K. Again, the arbitrator saw things my way.

    * RP Chris Zachary (76/93) [25] (1-1 9.56 0) had a bad year, but he was worth trying to save despite going to arbitration. He'd made $69,500 and was willing to go down to $65K. I countered with $50K and won. Hm, maybe arbitrators aren't so bad after all.

    * Last was SS Jackie Hernandez (67) [29] (.286 in 7 AB 0-0 0). I'd already thought him expendable, and didn't even let the arbitrator sit down. He'd made $21.9K and wanted $29K. I released him.

    * My headaches weren't quite done yet, for while that was the last arbitration case, OF Ed Kirkpatrick wanted to play hardball. Kirkpatrick (74) [25] (.236 16-72 5) wanted a raise from $13,900 to $133K. I laughed and countered with $60K. We argued for awhile, but it became obvious we couldn't agree. I released him. As I mentioned, I like Kirkpatrick's power..but he wanted too much for too little.

    * 2B Phil Gagliano (74) [27] (.226 1-25 3) made no bones about telling me it would cost a lot for him to remain with the Royals. He actually was slightly more reasonable than Kirkpatrick, wanting a raise from $25,800 to $124K. Again I countered with $60K, and again we couldn't compromise. I released him.

    * Fortunately things settled after that, for next came SP Wally Bunker (82/88) [24] (14-19 4.10 3 CG). I'd already determined to keep him if at all possible. He seemed to agree on staying, for he offered a paycut from $291K to $256K for three years. I countered with $187K. We finally agreed on $216K for three years, plus two years player's option and a no trade clause.

    * SP Dave Morehead (78) [27] (8-19 5.32 1 CG) I was on the fence about. He led the team in strikeouts, but 8-19 is not a good record even by Royals standards. He also offered a discount, going from $144K to $123K. I countered with $90K for four years and he instantly agreed.
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  3. #63
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    November 1969


    Free Agency:

    After initiating the arbitration system in the '50s, owners (under pressure from Congress) made it easier for players to shop their skills around.

    As you know, in the 1950s we were just getting used to the idea of a Cold War with the Soviet Union. This was the era of the Joe McCarthy hearings where a 'Red' might be around any corner and the Cincinnati Reds actually changed names to avoid bad press. Players successfully argued that holding them in 'bondage,' effectively freezing their wages, could be compared to the worst aspects of Communism. The Senate made it clear that if baseball could not institute some free market procedures in their dealings with players, then they'd have to review any anti-trust legislation.

    Because of this, owners rarely invoke the reserve clause anymore. If they can't agree with players on a reasonable salary, either the player retires or he's released and free to try and find another team.

    The top players so released were:

    1) 3B Jim Ray Hart (Giants) (85) (wants $294K)
    2) 3B Bob Bailey (Cardinals) (84) (wants $262K)
    3) 2B Ron Hunt (Giants) (83) (wants $243K)
    4) C Dick Dietz (Giants) (83) (wants $236K)
    5) LF Cesar Tovar (Twins) (82) (wants $184K)

    A surprisingly slim group of pitchers included:

    1) SP Dave Wickersham (Orioles) (77) (wants $76.5K)
    2) RP Jim Roland (Athletics) (76) (wants $85K)
    3) SP Marcelino Lopez (Orioles) (75) (wants $45.6K)
    4) RP Joe Grzenda (Twins) (72) (wants $36.6K)
    5) SP Johnny Podres (Orioles) (70) (wants $31.2K)

    When I saw Johnny's name I immediately called him and asked about rejoining the Royals. Why? Call it nostalgia, or guilt over our trade in June - he spent the rest of the season in Baltimore's minor league system. He chuckled.

    "Mister Hunter, the last we spoke you were apologizing for trading me. I don't have a future in Kansas City. You'd probably trade me again."

    "Five year contract, no trade clause. When you can't pitch, you can coach."

    He paused, then slowly: "No, Mister Hunter. Thank you, but you should know the Giants are willing to take me on. Even if it's only mop-up, at least it's a few more years for a contending club, and they wouldn't be calling me if they weren't interested."

    (I would've taken Podres for role-playing purposes, but by OldFatGuy's FA system he didn't want to talk to me. Bah.)

    So came the serious negotiations to build up the Royals. I called 3B Jim Ray Hart's agent.

    Hart (85) [28] (.288 33-95 2) would be a formidable power hitter, better than Kirkpatrick. He wanted $294K for four years. I countered with $230K, and we engaged in some intense negotiations. We finally agreed on $245K for 4 years, with 3 more years of player options and a no-trade clause. I'm not sure who won that one.

    I then briefly talked to 2B Ron Hunt (83) [28] (.290 4-70 5). He wanted $243K. I replied with $190K, and he didn't budge. Negotiations went nowhere so I gave up.

    Instead I tried 2B Chico Salmon (80/82) [28] (.336 in 143 AB, 4-21 5). He only wanted $114K for four years, and I answered with $80. This was a much more cordial negotiation and we finally settled on $98K for four, with a player option for three more.

    This would go far to help my infield, though I could use another power hitter - and if Hart took over third, we'd have to transfer Joe Foy to short. Maybe.
    *******


    COMMENTS: According to my FA rules I'm allowed three this year, and 'gave' myself one for my inaugural year of 1969.

    I accidentally used two last year: I forgot I'd acquired Craig Kusick when I added Merritt Ranew to the equation. Ranew didn't play, so to rebalance things I'm releasing him next post.

    I'll use my third FA for the year to 'acquire' CoachOwen's character in a few posts. That character is probably a little better than a third FA should be, but then again he's making more money ($100K) than he has a right to, so hopefully that too balances out.

    Meh. Close enough anyway.
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  4. #64
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    November 18, 1969

    The final award announcements came out today. I thought Bert Blyleven had a shot at Rookie of the Year, but the powers that be disagreed. On the other hand, Bob Oliver received a Gold Glove! That pretty much confirms my feelings for the 'race' between him and Mike Fiore: He's my first baseman for at least the next several years.


    World Series MVP: 1B Willie McCovey (San Francisco)
    NLCS MVP: SP Juan Marichal (San Francisco)
    ALCS MVP: SP Mike Cuellar (Baltimore)
    All Star MVP: CF Willie Mays (San Francisco)
    *******

    AL Cy Young Award: SP Jim Nash (Oakland)
    AL MVP: 1B Boog Powell (Baltimore)
    AL Rookie of the Year: C Carlton Fisk (Boston)

    AL Gold Gloves:
    P: Tommy John (Chicago)
    C: Bill Freehan (Detroit) (5th)
    1B: Bob Oliver (Kansas City)
    2B: Sandy Alomar (Chicago)
    3B: Brooks Robinson (Baltimore) (10th)
    SS: Mark Belanger (Baltimore)
    OF: Rick Reichardt (Los Angeles)
    OF: Tommy Harper (Seattle)
    OF: Russ Snyder (Cleveland)

    AL Batting Title: Rod Carew (Minnesota) (.363)
    AL Home Run Ldr: Willie Horton (Detroit) (48)
    AL RBI Leader: Boog Powell (Baltimore) (136)
    AL Steals Ldr: Bert Campaneris (Oakland) (82)

    AL Wins Leader: Jim Nash (Oakland) (22)
    AL ERA Leader: Jim Nash (Oakland) (2.80)
    AL Strikeout Ldr: Mickey Lolich (Detroit) (223)
    AL Saves Leader: Sparky Lyle (Boston) (30)
    *******

    NL Cy Young Award: SP Gaylord Perry (San Francisco)
    NL MVP: LF Billy Williams (Chicago)
    NL Rookie of the Year: 3B Mike Schmidt (Philadelphia)

    NL Gold Gloves:
    P: Randy Jones (San Diego)
    C: Johnny Bench (Cincinnati) (2nd)
    1B: Wes Parker (Los Angeles) (3rd)
    2B: Joe Morgan (Houston)
    3B: Clete Boyer (Atlanta)
    SS: Jerry Davanon (San Diego)
    OF: Pete Rose (Cincinnati)
    OF: Ron Davis (Pittsburgh)
    OF: Ron Fairly (Los Angeles)

    NL Batting Title: Billy Williams (Chicago) (.358)
    NL Home Run Ldr: Billy Williams (Chicago) (47)
    NL RBI Leader: Billy Williams (Chicago) (173)
    NL Steals Ldr: Lou Brock (St. Louis) (67)

    NL Wins Leader: Juan Marichal (SF), Gaylord Perry (SF) (24)
    NL ERA Leader: Tom Seaver (New York) (2.48)
    NL Strikeout Ldr: Don Drysdale (Los Angeles) (265)
    NL Saves Leader: Clay Carroll (Cincinnati) (23)
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  5. #65
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    December 5, 1969

    The American League Winter Meetings opened in Los Angeles today. Before we go too much into what happened on our end, perhaps I should discuss what the Senior League did with their time.

    First, Warren Giles retired after eighteen years of leading the Nationals. He oversaw several teams moving (Brooklyn to LA, New York to San Francisco, Boston to Milwaukee to Atlanta) and the birth of four more. Giles said "The right kind of tradition has made baseball what it is, but blindly following tradition will lead it into a rut. Baseball must always keep pace with the times."

    In his wake the Nationals turned to Giants vice president Charles "Chub" Feeney. Feeney is the grandson of Charles Stoneham, the former Giants owner, and nephew to the current owner. He was a finalist for commissioner last year, but people decided to go with Bowie Kuhn instead.



    Gary told me the vote to install Chub was unanimous. He's regarded as a traditionalist, someone who can bring the Nationals some stability after Giles' tumultuous reign.

    Mets GM Bruce Cantone chose to test his resolve almost immediately. Apparently someone at some point last year looked at a map and noted the obvious: Atlanta is not a western team. He suggested a divisional 'correction' that would put the Braves in the NL East, and move the Cardinals to the West.

    This would not do. Neither the Cards nor Giants wanted to be lumped in the same division and have to fight each other for even a shot at the NL Championship. Western teams like Houston and Cincinnati argued that such a shift in divisional parity would hurt their long term viability and baseball as a whole.

    Chicago owner Philip Wrigley at first agreed with the Mets' idea, but later changed his mind citing Cardinal/Cub rivalry. "If St. Louis and Cincinnati are in the West, that would leave the Cubs isolated."

    Feeney's first act as President would be to sternly strike down the idea.

    The Phillies announced they'd move into a new stadium for 1971. They'd played at Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium in 1927 for a year, and continually since 1938. The Athletics also played there from 1909 to 1954. With a capacity of some 33,000 Shibe Park's low by modern standards, but not outrageously so.



    She is old though, and Philadelphia's new Veterans Stadium may carry them into the next century.

    Philadelphia also announced a new logo, getting rid of the cap with the word Phillies orbiting it in exchange for:



    Hmm.

    The Pirates have also been working on a replacement for Forbes Field, but here they've run into trouble. Apparently construction has been delayed. Whereas they'd hoped to move in at the beginning of 1970, now they're looking at 1971 as well.



    Forbes opened in 1909 and has been the Pirates' home for 60 years. Like Shibe, its 35,000 capacity is a little low nowadays, but also like Shibe it's not really a question of anything being wrong with the park so much as it's just old.

    Construction in Cincinnati is also a bit delayed. They hope to have a new stadium by June or July at the latest.



    The Reds have played at Crosley Field since 1912. Again, old. Here the capacity (29,500) is just not enough to support a professional baseball club anymore. Their new Riverfront Stadium promises to be a major improvement with almost 53,000. It's being built very similarly to Atlanta Fulton County and Busch Stadium. It follows the modern trend of baseball and football teams playing together: It's expected the NFL Bengals, Steelers and Eagles will all share these new stadiums when they open.

    Fortunately that's it. The Bears don't seem interested in trying to get the Cubs to share a stadium with them or anything like that. After this last rush the Nationals should stabilize for awhile.
    Last edited by CatKnight; 01-27-2008 at 07:55 AM.
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Posts
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    December 5, 1969


    I found Kevin at a table in the hotel's lounge poring over a thick black portfolio full of neatly typewritten notes. He'd dressed in a grey suit and tie for the occasion and every minute or so tugged at his collar.

    None of the other GMs or owners were nearby, so I came over and patted him on the shoulder. Kevin looked up. He didn't smile. "Hi, Chuck."

    "Preparing?"

    "Hm? Yes." He waved me to the chair opposite him and resumed studying his papers.

    "You look well organized."

    He chuckled. "Boeing prepared most of this. What to say, what to offer. If I can keep the Pilots home, then they'll honor the contract I had with Dewey Soriano."

    I grinned. "That's good news!"

    "Is it?" He looked up. "The San Antonio offer fell through, but I still have to deal with the car salesman. Selig's here somewhere no doubt pumping flesh. God, how I hate the man."

    "Have you even met him?"

    "No! Have you?"

    I shook my head and looked around again. "For what it's worth, Kansas City is going to vote to keep the Pilots right where they are."

    Kevin looked down. "Thanks, Chuck. I do appreciate it, but it's not you I'm worried about. It's those __________ in the east."
    *******



    "Alright everyone, let's come to order." Joe Cronin, president of the American League, banged a small wooden hammer on the black conference table for emphasis. "Are all the teams represented? Goo...where's Oakland?"

    "I saw Finley at the bar," offered Tiger GM Kyle Halwell.

    Cronin snarled softly. "Fine, we'll start without him. As you know, the first order of business is finding a buyer for the Pilots. As it stands they are a ward of the American League after we bought out Dewey Soriano last year. Now, Mr. Calahan, as Seattle's GM you carry the team's vote, but I understand you represent Boeing Company as well?"

    Kevin glanced at his notes, then looked up. "Not entirely correct, Mr. Cronin. You could say I represent their bid to keep the team in Seattle."

    "Fine. And Mr. Selig?" He nodded to a thin man with straight brown hair in a nicely tailored suit. "You represent the Milwaukee...Brewers?"



    "That's correct." Perhaps for lack of a better place to put him, Selig sat at the foot of the table directly opposite Cronin. He rested one arm on the black surface and smiled at everyone. To my annoyance, some smiled back. The new Yankee GM, last name of Clay, just looked astonished to be in the room.

    "Okay. Before we begin, I will again remind everyone that League business is confidential. I don't know who leaked our buyout to the press, but I do not appreciate it, gentlemen. You are all adults..."

    The door opened and Chuck Finley, owner of the Oakland Athletics, stepped in bearing a huge tumbler with a brownish-orange liquid.

    "...in theory, and I expect you to act as such. Hello, Chuck. We're about to go over the Pilot buyout."

    "Don't let me stop you, Joe!" He sat next to Kyle and winked.

    Cronin cleared his throat. "Kevin, why don't you lead off?"

    Calahan stood and opened his folder, pulling out several pieces of paper. He didn't speak, but simply pored over them as if memorizing their contents.

    I brushed his sleeve. He glanced at me, and I nodded at the other occupants of the room.

    "The Seattle Pilots should stay, because they can," he nearly whispered. Then, as if having trouble modulating his tone, he repeated himself in a near roar that made Selig smile.

    "Boeing offers to repay the eleven franchises the $1.1 million they used to buy out Mr. Soriano and answer our debts. Further, they offer to acquire our outstanding liabilities and to place a further $1 million in an operating fund for Pilots use in 1970. According to the report released by the American League office, this would give us the second largest financial reserve in the league."

    "Just what we need, to have a club owned lock, stock and barrel by a jet manufacturer."

    "You will have your turn, sir!" Calahan shouted at Selig. "Until then, I have to ask you to be quiet!"

    "Control yourself, Kevin," Cronin said. He squinted down the table at us. "Do you need some water?"

    "I'm fine!"

    I looked up. He was pale, fists clenching his sacred notes, but steady.

    "In any event, Mister...he is wrong. After the purchase they intend to release the Seattle Pilots as an independent corporation, and I have signed affadavits to that effect."

    Finley nodded, staring at him with one eye. Further up the table, so did the Angel GM.

    "In addition to ensuring the team's financial stability, they will continue the renovation of Sicks Stadium. Over this winter its capacity will be raised from 25 to 31,000, with an expected 38,000 by mid-summer." He paused as Mister Bradley, the Indians GM, raised his hand. "Yes?"

    "What form will these seats take? More temporary construction?"

    "For this year, yes. By next year we hope...the plan is for the Pilots to have enough money on their own to complete renovations and make them semi-permanent."

    "As I recall, one of our conditions for having a team in Seattle was a domed stadium. When can we expect that, Kevin?" Cronin asked.

    Calahan flipped through a few papers, then shook his head. "As you know it passed a voter's resolution in 1968. The county is locating a site. Once that's settled, construction can begin. Sicks Stadium will hold until then."

    A dissatisfied rumble rolled through the room. Kevin looked down and sighed.

    "Thank you, Kevin. Allan?"

    "Call me Bud, please." Selig stood and beamed, looking over the top of his glasses.

    "Gentlemen, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Mr. Calahan doesn't understand business. I think that's clear given last year's fiasco."

    "Now see here!" Kevin roared, leaping to his feet. He sat on Bud's right and I grabbed his arm.

    "Now, now, Mr. Calahan. You had your turn. Let me have mine. Fair's fair, right?" He beamed.

    Kevin ripped his arm from my grip and sat, glaring at a point on the table in front of his notes.

    "Mr. Calahan says that Boeing will seperate the Pilots and leave them independent. I don't think he understands that the team will still be a wholy owned subsidiary. Perhaps in time the Pilots can buy them out. Perhaps. However, in paying off their debts and purchasing them from us of course Boeing will own the team. $1.1 million to us, $1 million in operating capital, God knows how much to completely rework the stadium? Son, they're going to want their money's worth back."

    Satisfied he made his point, Selig looked up. "Do we want a company as large as Boeing, with their own interests and priorities, involved in the business of Major League Baseball?"

    Kyle and Mister Bradley shook their heads, as did the Boston GM.

    "No." Selig pursed his lips. "Now, I've talked to most of you, and you know my offer. We hosted a handful of White Sox games for the past few years and averaged 44,000 per game in 1969. I offer you the same stadium the Milwaukee Braves played in. It's built for baseball and can accomodate over 50,000. I offer you a loyal fan base. If I can get 44,000 people to show up for a Chicago club, what do you think I can do for a home team? Seattle can't offer this. Their average attendance last year was, what Mr. Calahan?" He looked over, but didn't wait for Kevin's reply. "7,400."

    "Milwaukee is centrally located. It's near a number of teams, that I'm sure will be grateful for not having to travel to the Pacific coast quite so often. It has a baseball tradition dating back to 1901, and," he chuckled, "we'd love to continue it."

    Calvin Griffith, owner of the Minnesota Twins, raised his hand. "Mister Selig, Arthur Allyn in Chicago's told me of his financial concerns. As for my Twins, they're stable now, but we suffered terribly when we had to share fans with Baltimore. Won't sticking a new team right dab between us only split the fan base we already have?"

    "Cal...can I call you Cal? Cal, we're three hundred miles away from each other. I'm sorry, but folk in Milwaukee don't drive up I-90 to see what you're up to. If I was talking about putting a team in Rochester or Duluth I could see the problem, but not Milwaukee. I'd say if anyone has a worry, it would be Arthur. However, Arthur and I are good friends. We agreed my presence would probably upset the Cubs more than anyone and drive the Nationals right out of the Midwest."

    That didn't make sense to me. I started to raise my hand, but Finley beat me to it.

    "Two things, Bud. First, having a team in Seattle is convenient for Oakland and L.A. We rather like the company. If half our division's on one coast, that keeps our expenses down. Second, with a team in Milwaukee I'm rather worried about the White Sox. We can't afford to have a team fail."

    A low rumble drifted through the room. Bud stared at him and nodded. "How's the drink, Chuck?" he asked quietly.

    "Not bad! Want some?" Some chuckled.

    "That's quite alright. In the first place Chuck, I suppose I'd remind you that you have to come east anyway. With a team in Milwaukee that puts five teams within only a few hundred miles of each other. That saves travel costs. Second, well...let's not be alarmist, shall we? The 'Sox won 87 games last year. That hardly seems like a team on the brink."

    "Thank you, Bud." Cronin looked around. "Does anyone have anything to say before we vote?" He nodded at me. "Chuck?"

    (cont)
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  7. #67
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    COMMENTS: Christ, I hate this 10,000 character limit! I keep bumping into it! How the bloody ____ are you supposed to tell a story with a bloody character limit!?

    *******

    (cont from page 1!)

    Kevin shot a sharp glance at me, and Bud leaned on one arm as I stood and cleared my throat.

    "Kansas City supports Seattle's bid for two reasons. First, speaking personally I know how hard it is for a city to lose its team. I lived near St. Louis when the Browns moved to Baltimore, and though I'd always rooted for the Cardinals, I knew people who were hurt and upset by the move. In my year in Kansas City, I've seen any number of signs fans are happy we're there, fans who felt bad when the Athletics moved." I nodded as Finley opened his mouth. "This is despite the fact both teams were in financial trouble. There were enough people who cared that losing those teams affected the whole community."

    Selig answered quietly: "That is why I want to bring the Pilots to Milwaukee, Chuck. I know exactly what you mean. I tried to save the Braves, but they went anyway. I know people who still miss them."

    "I understand that." And I did, really. "However, it's because of this I don't want to move the Pilots. Yes, Seattle had a bad year at the gate. They'll get better once fans realize it's safe to root for them, that they aren't going to leave. I think we owe it to Seattle to give them more than a year to prove themselves to us. Every time the American League's moved a team, it was due to duress: We had to. We don't have to anymore. Seattle's perfectly viable."

    "Not wanting to deprive Seattle fans is very noble," Bradley said coldly, "but not a pragmatic business decision."

    "Perhaps not. Then I will give you my second reason: Rivalries. You all have them, and you know it helps fan turnout. Everyone talks about the Yankees and Red Sox, the Orioles and Senators, Tigers and Indians. Lately it's the Twins and White Sox. Who does that leave us with?"

    Selig laughed. "If it's a rivalry you want, boy, I'll happily call the Royals all sorts of names. Milwaukee will hate you!"

    "No, not really. If the Pilots move to Milwaukee, then they'll be part of the Twins/White Sox mix. As you say, all the teams there are relatively close, while Kansas City is isolated. Having a similarly isolated team in Seattle at least gives us someone we can root against. Someone who began the same year we did, and so are playing at our level."

    "Thank you, Chuck. Any more comments? Then let's vote."

    The vote was predictable enough. Los Angeles, Oakland, and Kansas City voted for Seattle. After a moment's hesitation, Minnesota did the same.

    Most of the easterners rallied against us immediately: Baltimore, Cleveland, Washington, Boston and Detroit.

    Chicago's Arthur Allyn didn't know what to do. I don't think he wanted a team in Milwaukee, but nor was he anxious to anger his 'friend' Bud. "Chicago abstains!"

    Kevin stood. "Seattle votes..."

    "I'm sorry, Kevin, but Seattle doesn't vote," Cronin said.

    "Of course they do!" Finley interrupted. He put down his drink. "As I recall, the Seattle Pilots finished their season. Calahan is a lawful representative of the club. Of course they get a vote in league business!"

    "Not when the business involves them, Chuck."

    "I'd check the League charter when you get home, Joe! You can't disenfranchise them. That's the law."

    Cronin frowned. "FINE. Kevin? Seattle votes for Seattle? Right."

    5-5. All eyes turned to the newbie, Yankee GM Keith Clay. He happened to be looking right at me, dazed. I couldn't be sure he'd heard anything at the meeting.

    "Well, Keith?" Cronin asked drily.

    "There's something to be said for rivalries," he said. "I say let's give Seattle a chance."

    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  8. #68
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    Woo! Thanks Cat!

  9. #69
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    Awesome. Screw Selig, that jerk.

  10. #70
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    Coach Owens: Glad you approve!

    Sinistas: Welcome! Yes, I don't think much of Selig. Which is why I'll keep him around. He makes a great villian!
    *******

    December 5, 1969


    Joe Cronin looked like he ate something that didn't agree with him. After a pause, perhaps in the vain hope that Keith would come to his senses, he rapped his gavel. "Alright. Seattle it is. You've been given a second chance, Kevin. Don't waste it. Dewey agreed you'd have a domed stadium, and we plan to hold you to it."

    He grinned.

    "Thank you for coming, Mister Selig," Cronin added. "I don't wish to be rude, but there is more league business to discuss. I'll call you in your room later tonight."

    Bud made no move to leave. His smile faded, and he looked sternly at both Kevin and myself. "You've made a mistake," he said firmly. "However, that is in the past. Let the Pilots stay in Seattle. I have another proposal. Arthur?"

    Arthur Allyn, Jr. was in his mid-fifties, a slim, wrinkled man who wrung his hands as he stood.

    "Mr. Selig has offered to buy the Chicago White Sox if his bid to purchase the Pilots failed. I hereby accept his offer and ask for league approval."

    Once more the room rumbled, strongly displeased. Calvin Griffith paled. "You can't do that!"

    "Of course he can, Cal," Selig purred. He abruptly sat up however, aware the room was turning on him. Bradley leaned on the table between Kyle Halwell and Chuck Finley, speaking in a low tone. The Senator and Oriole GMs also conferred.

    Finally Bradley looked up. "Mister Selig, where would your White Sox play?"

    Bud returned the Indian GM's cold stare. "My Brewers would play in Milwaukee. Where else?"

    More rumbling. Cronin glared at Selig. Someone muttered 'What about Chicago?' and Selig stood.

    "Gentlemen! What about Chicago? Comiskey Park only holds 43,000, and if TEN thousand show up to a game they're doing well. Their fans have forsaken them. Fine, let us restore the club to financial health!"

    Kyle cocked his head. "Bud, didn't you just agree with Chuck Hunter there that moving a team, even one in financial trouble, would end up hurting the community there? Didn't you agree that Milwaukee was adversely affected when the Nationals moved the Braves? Wouldn't moving the 'Sox hurt Chicago?"

    "The Nationals moved the Braves across the country. I'm moving the White Sox one hundred miles. What fans they have can just as easily come up." Selig laughed, but nervously. "____, we'll be happy to sell them tickets!"

    Boston's GM, Tadd Davis, shook his head. "I do not like the idea of abandoning the second largest city in America to the Nationals."

    "We would still be an influence in Chicago," Selig began.

    "But not as much as if you were still there," Davis countered.

    Kevin Calahan sat poised on the edge of his seat, as if looking for an excuse to get involved. Yankee GM Keith Clay caught my eye and we both smiled, leaned back and watched the chaos around us. So did Chuck Finley, who folded his arms and studied the room with a grin.

    After nearly a solid hour of arguing, they struck a deal. Bud could have the White Sox, so long as he didn't abandon Comiskey Park nor change the name. He could play twenty games a season at Milwaukee-County Stadium for all they cared. The vote passed 10-2, with only Mister Bradley and Calvin Griffith not liking the writing on the wall.

    "Now that that's settled," Cronin said, "we can..."

    "You have forgotten something important, Joe," Finley said. He sat up and unfolded his hands, lightly caressing his tumbler and smiled.

    "And what's that, Chuck?"

    Finley turned his beaming face on Bud Selig. "You know, don't you?"

    Selig started, as if caught in some heinous act, but looked blank. "What do I know, Chuck?"

    He flipped his hand as if warding off an annoying fly. "It's not important. Carry on, Joe."

    Cronin grit his teeth. Other business? Fine! Chuck," this to me, "tell me about Royals Stadium."

    "As you know we've chosen a site across the street from a stadium for the AFL Chiefs..."

    Keith Clay woke from his daze. "Isn't that wasteful?" he asked. "Seperate stadiums I mean?"

    I didn't want to alienate the man who'd saved Kevin's job, so took a moment to check my first response. "No, sir. Kansas City doesn't think so, at any rate. Finances are already secured, and ground will be broken this spring. The stadium will be built. We're looking at a moving date of 1972 or 1973. Mister Kauffman and his contractors want to make sure they do this right."

    Cronin nodded. "Very good."

    The only other news was that the Los Angeles Angels, after a year of going without or using the 'C.A.' California Angel symbol, finally picked a new logo.



    Or, at least, an old one.

    After the meeting I saw Kevin going from man to man, being congratulated on his keeping the team. Any former animosity, at least for the moment, was gone though I noticed he didn't bother talking to Bud.

    As for Selig, I found him in close counsel with Chuck Finley. He'd closed his eyes, head down and nodded repeatedly as Finley spoke in his ear. At one point Chuck caught my gaze. He smiled, but something in his eyes didn't invite company.

    Calvin Griffith caught my eye and wandered over. "Mr. Hunter, I'm glad we had a chance to talk. I learned last week that you might be interested in hiring Martin as your field manager. Is that true?"

    I nodded and met his gaze. "If he's available. I certainly don't mean to steal him."

    He shook his head and smiled. A tight, displeased smile. "No, you're welcome to him. I just thought I should warn you, in the spirit of camaraderie, that you're playing with fire."

    He didn't tell me anything I didn't already know: Martin was fired for getting in a fight with his own pitcher. I was at the game. Apparently Martin tends to get in arguments with veterans - not an issue, we don't have very many. He's also a drinker. Again, not an issue so long as he isn't drunk while working.

    "He also rode the pitchers very hard," Cal advised. "You have a very young staff, one with a lot of potential in a few years. I'd hate to see him ruin them or drive them out."

    I promised to be careful.
    *********

    Late that night, Bud Selig, the new owner of the Chicago White Sox, returned to his room and made a long distance call:

    "Yeah?"

    "It's Bud." He glanced around the room as if expecting someone observing his every move. "I have a job for you. The Royals GM: Chuck Hunter. He cost us our team today. I don't know if he was under orders from Kauffman or he did it himself."

    He took off his glasses and rapped the bedside table with them. "I want you to find out what you can about him, then report back to me. Don't do anything unless I say otherwise, however."

    "I understand."
    ********

    Where they wound up

    * Top Free Agents, and who they signed with. (All on Day 1)

    3B Jim Ray Hart: from Giants to Royals
    3B Bob Bailey: from Cardinals to Giants
    2B Ron Hunt: from Giants to Senators
    C Dick Dietz: from Giants to Mets
    LF Cesar Tovar: from Twins to Giants

    SP Dave Wickersham: from Orioles to Senators
    RP Jim Roland: from Athletics to Giants
    SP Marcelino Lopez: from Orioles to Padres
    RP Joe Grzenda: from Twins to Padres
    SP Johnny Podres: from Orioles to Giants

    * Royals released, and who they signed with.

    OF Ed Kirkpatrick: to Senators ($113K for 4 years)
    2B Phil Gagliano: to Pilots ($138K for 4 years)
    SS Jackie Hernandez: to Senators ($21.1K for 3 years)
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  11. #71
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    Dec 2007
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    Quote Originally Posted by CatKnight View Post
    COMMENTS: Christ, I hate this 10,000 character limit! I keep bumping into it! How the bloody ____ are you supposed to tell a story with a bloody character limit!?

    *******

    (cont from page 1!)

    Kevin shot a sharp glance at me, and Bud leaned on one arm as I stood and cleared my throat.

    "Kansas City supports Seattle's bid for two reasons. First, speaking personally I know how hard it is for a city to lose its team. I lived near St. Louis when the Browns moved to Baltimore, and though I'd always rooted for the Cardinals, I knew people who were hurt and upset by the move. In my year in Kansas City, I've seen any number of signs fans are happy we're there, fans who felt bad when the Athletics moved." I nodded as Finley opened his mouth. "This is despite the fact both teams were in financial trouble. There were enough people who cared that losing those teams affected the whole community."

    Selig answered quietly: "That is why I want to bring the Pilots to Milwaukee, Chuck. I know exactly what you mean. I tried to save the Braves, but they went anyway. I know people who still miss them."

    "I understand that." And I did, really. "However, it's because of this I don't want to move the Pilots. Yes, Seattle had a bad year at the gate. They'll get better once fans realize it's safe to root for them, that they aren't going to leave. I think we owe it to Seattle to give them more than a year to prove themselves to us. Every time the American League's moved a team, it was due to duress: We had to. We don't have to anymore. Seattle's perfectly viable."

    "Not wanting to deprive Seattle fans is very noble," Bradley said coldly, "but not a pragmatic business decision."

    "Perhaps not. Then I will give you my second reason: Rivalries. You all have them, and you know it helps fan turnout. Everyone talks about the Yankees and Red Sox, the Orioles and Senators, Tigers and Indians. Lately it's the Twins and White Sox. Who does that leave us with?"

    Selig laughed. "If it's a rivalry you want, boy, I'll happily call the Royals all sorts of names. Milwaukee will hate you!"

    "No, not really. If the Pilots move to Milwaukee, then they'll be part of the Twins/White Sox mix. As you say, all the teams there are relatively close, while Kansas City is isolated. Having a similarly isolated team in Seattle at least gives us someone we can root against. Someone who began the same year we did, and so are playing at our level."

    "Thank you, Chuck. Any more comments? Then let's vote."

    The vote was predictable enough. Los Angeles, Oakland, and Kansas City voted for Seattle. After a moment's hesitation, Minnesota did the same.

    Most of the easterners rallied against us immediately: Baltimore, Cleveland, Washington, Boston and Detroit.

    Chicago's Arthur Allyn didn't know what to do. I don't think he wanted a team in Milwaukee, but nor was he anxious to anger his 'friend' Bud. "Chicago abstains!"

    Kevin stood. "Seattle votes..."

    "I'm sorry, Kevin, but Seattle doesn't vote," Cronin said.

    "Of course they do!" Finley interrupted. He put down his drink. "As I recall, the Seattle Pilots finished their season. Calahan is a lawful representative of the club. Of course they get a vote in league business!"

    "Not when the business involves them, Chuck."

    "I'd check the League charter when you get home, Joe! You can't disenfranchise them. That's the law."

    Cronin frowned. "FINE. Kevin? Seattle votes for Seattle? Right."

    5-5. All eyes turned to the newbie, Yankee GM Keith Clay. He happened to be looking right at me, dazed. I couldn't be sure he'd heard anything at the meeting.

    "Well, Keith?" Cronin asked drily.

    "There's something to be said for rivalries," he said. "I say let's give Seattle a chance."

    CatKnight problem solve so the Pilots will stay here as for the White Sox will you move to Milwaukee in 1972?

  12. #72
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    Athletics: Why 1972? Are you thinking perhaps of the Senators move to Texas?

    Anyway, Selig and the White Sox aren't done. It's possible they'll move in the future.
    *****

    Dec 1969 - Jan 1970
    (Comments in italics)


    A few random trades and news.



    First, the Yankees traded CF Joe Pepitone (88) (.309 40-127 3). Pepitone went AWOL on August 12. When he returned the next day he missed another game as the Yanks decided what to do with him. On the 29th he left the bench during the game and was fined $500. Pepitone quit, but came back after manager Ralph Houk renewed and talked to him.

    This kind of orneriness is nothing new to Pepitone, but new Yankee GM Keith Clay is under pressure from owner Michael Burke to crack down and get the team under control. He made a deal with the Detroit Tigers for CF Ron LeFlore (77/92). LeFlore had an indifferent September, going 1 for 5, but he's eight years younger (21 vs. 29) and if the Yanks play their cards right could be a great fielder.

    (Back when I was looking through the Chronology a month or so ago I noticed Joe had an...unusual...season and wondered how far the Yanks would go to deal with him. Historically they did trade him in December, and after reading petrel's explanation in ETB it seemed to make sense. THESE Yanks are 2-3 years away from contending, and by then LeFlore should be on top of his game.)
    *****

    Second, using his new found mandate Kevin Calahan made a deal with Gary and the Cardinals. In a way it's a little sad, because it really tells me that Gary's going into rebuild mode. The Cards had their two pennants, but now they're starting to fade and he's looking to the future.



    Seattle sent eight minor leaguers to the Cardinals (four with previous MLB experience) in exchange for CF Curt Flood (83) (.242 2-28 1) and RP Gary Waslewski (74/75) (0-1 5.79). On the surface I'd say Seattle really won this, but I think Gary's hoping their newer acquisitions develop into stars.

    (I'd already decided I wanted to do something with Curt Flood's 'revolt,' either with him or another player. Starting with the off season I also decided to give the Pilots a little boost here and there to make them more competitive as befits my supposed rival. I set up a trading block trade for the Pilots, and was amazed to see St. Louis offer Flood. It fit perfectly with my wanting to deal with his challenge to the reserve clause, so here we are.)

    After the holidays however, we received a surprise. Curt Flood wouldn't go!

    Calling the reserve clause (and thus the clubs' inherent rights over players) slavery, he first asked the Commissioner to make him a free agent. Kuhn refused. Now he's suing.

    Kevin's threatening to countersue if Flood doesn't report for spring training. Meanwhile, Gary Gregg told reporters that Flood earned $231,000 ($1.16 mil in 2007 dollars) last year. "That sure the ____ doesn't sound like slavery to me!" he raged. I'm not sure why, but Gary's sensitive on the topic and never liked Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speeches when they brought up past misdeeds and discrimination.

    Frankly, he doesn't have a leg to stand on. Sure, strike down the reserve clause - not that we really enforce it anymore. That doesn't change the fact that for the next two years Flood's baseball career is tied up in his contract, a contract St. Louis lawfully transferred to Seattle.

    This is getting ridiculous. Last year 1B Don Clendennon of Montreal was traded to Houston. He refused to go, announcing his retirement, though he did name several teams he would go to. They finally 'compromised' by him staying in Montreal.

    I'm sorry, but trading is part of baseball. In fact, it's important because it helps ensure each team is the best it can afford. No more Yankees on top for ten years like in the 30s and 40s because no one could do much to help their roster. I like to think I treat my players well, both the ones I helped reach the Majors in St. Louis and our kids in Kansas City. If you don't like certain teams, put in a 'no trade clause.' I'll work with you. Barring that agreement though, if I send you to Houston or Seattle or Greenland, you better ____ go. If you're on my twenty-five man roster, I expect you in the dugout or bullpen. What's so unreasonable about that?
    *****

    On to brighter news: The war is over!



    Talks between Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and his Vietnamese counterparts over the summer, at the behest of the French, finally bore fruition last month.

    The United States will withdraw from South Vietnam over the next six months, however UN peacekeepers will move into the northern part of the country along the border. They plan to set up a demilitarized zone. The exact future of the Viet Cong and communism in South Vietnam in general is up in the air, but both sides have committed to a "political solution."

    President Nixon is naturally crying victory. He promised to get us out of Vietnam, and by God he did. Still, considering only weeks ago he was telling us to stay the course and of the need for democracy and freedom to win in southeast Asia, Democrats are quick to point out is apparent about face from hawk to dove.

    The good news for baseball is this means no draft. There's been a lot of talk (and fear) that the Army would begin a general draft starting in early 1970. While they did a tolerable job of protecting ball players in the Korean War, there's no guarantee they could have convinced the Army to look elsewhere this time. A general draft would have devastated everyone's farm system and some clubs as well....especially the younger ones like mine.

    Good riddance. We have enough trouble at home and with the Soviets to be worrying about Asia too.

    (Lastly, back when I noticed Kissinger was in peace talks in August (which historically failed,) I rolled a die to see if things would go normally or ahistorically. The dice said the war ended. Since I'd already planned elaborate rules for drafting everyone's young-uns (year long injuries, etc.) this was important to resolve. Usually I'll be concentrating on happenings in the baseball world though.)
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  13. #73
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    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    January 19, 1970



    I met Billy Martin today, the ex-skipper of the Twins. He had a reputation for being a fierce competitor with ... incomplete control of his temper ... from his playing days and last year and generally raised **** with Cal Griffith, League officials and umpires.

    We shook hands and got down to business. I asked what he thought of the Royals. He regarded me for a moment:

    "I like your starters. Blyleven and Splittorff will be stars in a few years. Maybe Bunker too. Your relievers need work, though picking up Eddie Watt was a nice touch, and Chris Zachary will be good once he gets used to Major League hitting." He paused. "Your outfield is good if Kelly can get healthy, but losing Kirkpatrick hurt you. Your infield is weak, though picking up Hart and Salmon help. Your catching is fair. I like what I saw of Rodriguez, but he's not as good as Fisk or half a dozen others."

    "You memorized our roster?"

    "Only the basics," he replied. "It's good to know something about the other teams."

    I asked him what he'd do as manager. He grinned.

    "First thing I'd do is make sure they understood who was in charge: Me. They're young, and after you got rid of Podres last July they didn't really have that much leadership. Joe Gordon's a good guy, but he was looking too much towards retirement and not enough towards building a team, and as for your captain, Pat Kelly's still a kid himself. Once everyone knows what's happening and that I'll shoot straight with them, then we can do business. My job will be to figure out who can make it, and who's up here only 'cause the Royals are expansion."

    Nothing unreasonable so far. "How do you see our relationship? Front office to field I mean?"

    He shrugged. "You do the rosters, I make them work. If our paths cross we'll sit down and sort it out. I'll make you the same deal I made my players last year, Hunter. You'll never have to wonder where I stand. I won't lie. I won't go behind your back. If there's something we need to discuss, I'll be hammering on your door."

    That certainly seemed fair enough, but something about his brash, direct attitude bothered me. I wonder if he spent too long in New York. It's certainly more aggressive than one usually hears in the Midwest.

    Then again, maybe aggressive is what we need.

    When he learned he wasn't seriously up for consideration, Charlie Metro stepped aside as bench coach and is now scouting for the Tigers. I moved Bob Lemon up from pitching coach. Bob can be ... well, it's like he has something to prove. He's not mean about it, and he did well enough for the new pitchers last year, but it's almost like getting 207 wins between 1941 and 1958 wasn't good enough. Like he thinks maybe he should have held on a little longer and won a little more.

    I don't know. He was on the '48 Indians when they won the Series, and the '54 team when they won the Pennant. He won twenty or more games seven times, went to the All Star game seven times, and hit 37 homers. I don't know what else he needs to prove.

    I almost think Lemon would be a better fit, but I'd like to see him realize he did just fine, first. A man who has something to prove to himself doesn't always think clearly. Let's let him watch Billy for awhile, and if Martin turns out to be as psychotic as Cal Griffith implied, then we'll switch.
    *******

    February 22

    Richie Perrin, my scouting director, called today. I almost fired him. If he's wrong, then I will fire him.

    He called, all excited about this new prospect he found. Actually it's an old prospect. Richie found him last year at some high school in Seattle of all places and talked to him. The kid took himself out of the amateur draft, though, because he figured he'd be going to Vietnam. With the war called off, he called Richie who went up to Seattle to watch the kid shag balls with his coach.

    Richie claims he's the next Boog Powell, if not Willie McCovey or Harmon Killebrew. He said he signed the kid on the spot and wants to bring him to Spring Training under a Major League contract. That doesn't mean he's automatically on the 25 man roster, but it means I'm probably not putting him on our D (Rookie) squad either.

    "How much?" I asked. Something in the way Richie kept building this kid's reputation up bothered me.

    "$120," he answered reluctantly.

    Silence. D ball wage is $480. If he signed a kid to $120, then Marv Miller and the Player's Association is going to be on my...

    "...thousand."

    That's right. My scouting director signed a completely unproven eighteen year old kid to the third highest contract on my team. He also put me over my payroll budget!

    The kid's name is Will Thompson. He'll be battling Gold Glove winner Bob Oliver and Mike Fiore for the first base position. Chico Salmon can also play first if he has/wants to. Thompson might be trade bait if he doesn't impress quickly.

    As a reaction to 'acquiring' Thompson, I released Merritt Ranew. As you'll recall I brought Merritt in to be our backup catcher down the stretch after the Pilots released him. Well, Joe Gordon never used him. Said he didn't care for the man's attitude. From what Billy tells me in Florida, we have catchers that can take his place now.
    *******

    February 24

    Ranew retired at age 31 after 5 years in the Majors.
    In '69 for the Pilots he batted .339 1-5 1 in 56 AB.
    Lifetime he finishes .257 9-55 4 with 146 hits.
    He played for the Colts (62), Cubs (63-64), Milwaukee Braves (64), Angels (65) and Pilots (69)
    *******

    February 25

    Ranew's agent, Scott Boors called me. He didn't appreciate my "reneging" on our agreement, even thought I paid the standard half-remaining-contract ($8,000.) He said it would adversely affect our working relationship going forward.
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  14. #74
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    1,810

    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    You realize that the second that a managerial position opens up in New York City, there will be an empty Royals uniform and a massive cloud of dust where Billy Martin was once standing?

    --Pet

  15. #75
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    4,526

    Re: To Rule in Kansas City

    Quote Originally Posted by CatKnight View Post
    February 22

    Richie Perrin, my scouting director, called today. I almost fired him. If he's wrong, then I will fire him.

    He called, all excited about this new prospect he found. Actually it's an old prospect. Richie found him last year at some high school in Seattle of all places and talked to him. The kid took himself out of the amateur draft, though, because he figured he'd be going to Vietnam. With the war called off, he called Richie who went up to Seattle to watch the kid shag balls with his coach.

    Richie claims he's the next Boog Powell, if not Willie McCovey or Harmon Killebrew. He said he signed the kid on the spot and wants to bring him to Spring Training under a Major League contract. That doesn't mean he's automatically on the 25 man roster, but it means I'm probably not putting him on our D (Rookie) squad either.

    "How much?" I asked. Something in the way Richie kept building this kid's reputation up bothered me.

    "$120," he answered reluctantly.

    Silence. D ball wage is $480. If he signed a kid to $120, then Marv Miller and the Player's Association is going to be on my...

    "...thousand."

    That's right. My scouting director signed a completely unproven eighteen year old kid to the third highest contract on my team. He also put me over my payroll budget!

    The kid's name is Will Thompson. He'll be battling Gold Glove winner Bob Oliver and Mike Fiore for the first base position. Chico Salmon can also play first if he has/wants to. Thompson might be trade bait if he doesn't impress quickly.

    As a reaction to 'acquiring' Thompson, I released Merritt Ranew. As you'll recall I brought Merritt in to be our backup catcher down the stretch after the Pilots released him. Well, Joe Gordon never used him. Said he didn't care for the man's attitude. From what Billy tells me in Florida, we have catchers that can take his place now.
    *******
    [.
    Good joke about me becoming trade bait! Hahaha!. Also, what a conciedence, you sign somebody from Seattle and then to make room for him, you release somebody who played on a Seattle team the year before!

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