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Contract negotiation between a 22-year old Stan Musial and Cardinal owner Sam Breadon

CooperstownExpert

New member
Aug 3, 2014
26
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.

Thanks for your consideration.
 

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gt2590

Super Moderator
Aug 17, 2008
33,145
Near Philly, PA
Great post, thanks for sharing!

I didn't see it posted, but where are the letters now, in a collection, museum or in team office?
 

CooperstownExpert

New member
Aug 3, 2014
26
The letters are in my collection. It was fun to finally put everything on a website. More of the collection can be found at CooperstownExpert.com. Hope you get a chance to view it. Every HoFer has a page and there are a couple hundred non-HoFers too. Everything on the site is in the collection.
 

Topnotchsy

Featured Contributor, The best players in history?
Aug 7, 2008
9,381
I'd heard about the negotiation. This is outstanding! Didn't know you were on these boards, but good to see you!

For those who haven't checked it out, check out Jim's website. It's an amazing collection of baseball history!
 

bstanwood

Active member
Sep 24, 2016
3,007
Mystic, CT
Very cool to see the letters. To me it's a reminder that things like that will happen less often. I can't imagine in 2060 that anyone is going to be interested in knowing great detail on the Machado/Padres negotiations.
Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think to some degree we have lost part of the ability to romanticize the game with mega contracts and scheduled days off and all or nothing results.
I still love the game and I understand that it's all evolving with the intent to win but with that comes unintended consequences, decades down the line there will be fewer stories like this from the current time.
 

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