Monday, February 07, 2005

Commercial Coda

As the Hot Stove League winds down and Spring Training looms on the horizon it seemed an appropriate time to stand back from all the off-season commerce we witnessed and revisit Baseball’s Greatest Quotes (compiled by Kevin Nelson) for some perspective on the business of baseball. (Though long out of print, this book occasionally shows up at )

Starting off is this now legendary quote from Philip Wrigley, no stranger to hard bargaining:

Baseball is too much of a sport to be called a business, and too much of a business to be called a sport.

The last people who went broke in baseball were Roy and Earle Mack, Connie’s sons. And I claim they did it on merit. – Red Smith (columnist)

I'm going to write a book, How to Make a Small Fortune in Baseball. First, you start with a large fortune. -- Ruly Carpenter (former owner of Phillies)

I’m the most loyal player money can buy. -- Don Sutton (pitcher)

This loyalty stuff is a bunch of bull. Anybody should have a chance to make it while they can. --Wayne Garland (pitcher)

It isn’t the price of stars that’s expensive. It’s the high price of mediocrity. -- Bill Veeck (former owner of White Sox among others)

We live by the Golden Rule. Those who have the gold make the rules. -- Buzzie Bavasi (GM with Dodgers among others)

Barring the discovery of oil wells under second base, financial losses in the next five year will be nearly ten times greater than in the last five. -- Bowie Kuhn, Commissioner, 1981 (“citing skyrocketing players’ salaries in the free agent era.”)

Baseball as at present conducted is a gigantic monopoly, intolerant of opposition and run on a grab-all-there-is-in-sight policy that is alienating its friends and disgusting the very public that has so long and cheerfully given. . .support. -- Cap Anson (Hall of Fame player speaking near the turn of the 20th century)

All football has to do is play its games, and the baseball owners will chase their public to them with their ignorant greed. – Jimmy Cannon (sportswriter)

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