Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/171

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As pertinent to the question of professionalism, I recall very distinctly a bit of controversy with Harry Wright when, in 1871, he came to Rockford to secure the services of Roscoe Barnes, Fred Cone, and myself for the Boston Club. The professional Red Stockings, of Cincinnati, the pioneer professional club, had disbanded. That organization, under Mr. Wright's management, had demonstrated that professionalism not only stood for a marked improvement in playing, but that the dreaded opposition on the part of the public did not materialize, since the simple announcement that the Red Stockings were to appear had been sufficient always to attract crowds.

But the experiment had not yet been tried in an Eastern city. Hence, when Wright came with his overtures to Barnes, Cone, and myself, it was to join a club ostensibly amateur but really professional; for all were to receive good salaries. I knew, of course, that the manager of the Bostons felt exactly as I did with regard to the subject; but I could see that he was reluctant to break over the custom in vogue in New England and oppose the honest prejudice existing in that section and all over the East against professional Base Ball.

However, I was inclined to be obstinate in my views of the matter. I had determined to enter Base Ball as a profession. I was neither ashamed of the game nor of my attachment to it. Mr. Wright was there offering us adequate cash inducements to play on the Boston team. We were willing to accept his offer. Why, then, go before the public under the false pretense of being amateurs? The