Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/235

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We knew that we had been magnificently treated by the Boston public and the Boston Club officials, and our associations with the two Wright brothers and other members of the original Boston team had been exceedingly pleasant. If at that time we had felt free to follow our inclinations, we would most gladly have given up the whole business and remained in Boston. But we had gone too far. We had signed contracts with President Hulbert to go to Chicago the following year. Because of this he had accepted the Presidency of the Chicago Club and assumed financial obligations based upon our assurance that we would be with him in 1876. Our inclinations drew us back towards Boston, but our duty surely called us to Chicago. We therefore unanimously decided to go, regardless of what inducements might be offered to remain.

To the credit of Mr. N. T. Appolonio, then President of the Boston Club, who was criticised severely for permitting the "Big Four" to leave, I have to say that, while regretting our action, he did not put a stone in our path, nor did he urge us to break our contracts with Chicago, although he did intimate that, if it was simply a matter of salary, Boston would pay us higher salaries than Chicago had offered or would give.

The professionals of that period never looked kindly upon the rule expelling a player for signing a contract with another club during the playing season. The club officals gave it out that the reason for the rule was that players might lose interest and not do their best to win for their club if permitted to sign contracts to play elsewhere next season.