Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/554

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has some experience with men who will not always "be good." But the alternative in such cases is usually the same, and always at hand. The refractory employe in the ordinary avenues of business can be summarily dismissed and his place soon filled. Not so in the case of the recalcitrant ball player. He may be the most capable man on the team; his presence may be absolutely essential to the success of the nine; his absence may mean the loss of confidence on the part of every other player. To dismiss such a player summarily may be followed by the withdrawal of public favor and patronage. It may cause much hostile newspaper criticism. It may result in all kinds of demoralization, discouragement and loss.

What, then, is to be done with a team whose members persist in a course which the management knows to be prejudicial to the interests of the game and which is extremely vexatious and annoying? I cannot better answer this question, or illustrate the case at point, than by recounting here an incident in my experience as President of the Chicago White Stockings about thirty years ago. The team was composed of fine ball players—there can be no doubt of that. It was playing winning ball right along, which made the administration of discipline all the more difficult. I knew that some of the men were drinking to excess; I was aware that these were keeping late hours; it was a notorious fact that their habits were altogether improper; but what reply could I make to their questions, "What's the matter with our game?" "Do you want us to win everything?" "Where's the team that can down us?"