While Trying to Find Something Else, I Stumbled Across...
I had to look something up in 1924 yesterday, so I had to pull the 1900 reel of Sporting News microfilm off the machine, but when I put it back on I found the following note in Caught On the Fly:
“Pitcher Charles Doyle, the Californian, has been given permission to remain on the Pacific Coast for another year. He will therefore not be seen in Pittsburg [when did Pittsburg become Pittsburgh?—cb] this year unless he does phenomenal work or is badly needed by the Pirates.”
Compare that with what Roger Osenbaugh wrote about his disinclination to play in the majors in the 1950s:
“We also made more than we could in the majors. Late in my career the Pirates offered me a contract that was only about 60% of what I was making with the Solons. Couple that with the cost of transporting the family back east, and then finding and paying rent on a second residence, and you see why so many players chose to play at home back then. The financial structure of baseball has changed, but back then it was a real sacrifice for a West Coast ballplayer to player in the majors.”
Time after time one reads about a California player preferring to remain on the West Coast to play. Apart from the top-line players, a California leaguer/Pacific Coast leaguer— throughout history— would make more money by remaining at home to play. The average player might have only made the same amount per month in the PCL, for instance, but the season was at times a month, a few times two months longer, so his yearly salary would be that much more.
California players also complained about the weather back east. Having grown up in both worlds myself, I can tell you that I’d rather play ball on a field in San Diego than one on a field in Chicago in the month of April.