Stan Musial completed his first full season in 1942 and refused to sign the Cardinals contract offer of $5,500. Here are three letters from St. Louis owner Sam Breadon negotiating with the 22-year old Musial. The correspondence starts out cordially then heats up.
“We have had great outfielders on our ball club, including Hafey, Medwick, Terry Moore, and Slaughter, and none of them in their second year received a contract for as much as $5,500.”
The owner acknowledged Musial’s potential, writing, “I don’t question that you are a good player, and have a chance to become a great player…”.
Breadon also warns Musial that he may fall out of favor with the fans, referring to the public as fickle. Toward the end of the letter, Breadon even talks of suspending holdouts.
In the final letter Breadon makes his strongest push, writing, “We could write letters until the end of the season and get no place, therefore, I suggest that you come to St. Louis, and if you do not sign a contract, and want to stay out of baseball in 1943, we will pay for your round-trip expenses.”
The Cardinals eventually signed Musial $6,250, a full $750 more than Breadon offered. Musial rewarded the team by leading the league in hits, doubles, triples, total bases, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.
At season’s end Stan Musial was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player. That’s quite a bargain for $6,250.
The letters can be seen on this page.
The website has pages for every HoFer and a couple hundred more players, executives, and umpires. Nearly every page has signatures of the game's greats. Search the name of your favorite players and take a look.
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