Ban Johnson Faces Three Way Fire as Major League Meetings Open

Westbrook Pegler

Muskogee Daily Phoenix and Times-Democrat/December 9, 1924

Even Own League to Adopt Resolution Condemning Him, Rumor; O’ Connell-Dolan Scandal Unlikely to Come Up

NEW YORK, Dec. 8 — Although the midwinter deliberations of the men who own the major league ball clubs ordinarily mean nothing at all to the man who takes his baseball in occasional doses at $1 a dose the impending congress of the National and American league in New York is likely to provide some jolly entertainment to break the monotony for the in-between season.

The old ponderous resolution, abounding in blah and references to the “integrity of the national game,” as the club owners like to call their business enterprise, will be repeated as usual in all their unimaginative dullness, but there will be the makings of three very amusing fights—all of them featuring Ban B. Johnson, president of the American league and in his serious moments one of the most amusing public figures in the country.

There will be the fight between Johnson and the directors of the Pacific Coast League, who have dallied in New York instead of going straight home from the minor league convention last week at Hartford, Conn., in order to make Johnson retract or prove his insinuations that gambling was rife in the coast league last summer.

There will be another between Johnson and the major league club owners who wish to rebuke him for loud public criticism of Judge K. M. Landis’ official conduct, Johnson being one of the signers of the famous club owners oath wherein they promise not to speak their opinions to one another, but to maintain an outward front of amity and mutual admiration.

And then there will be the main event, the starred final bout for the championship of organized baseball between Landis and Johnson.

All these encounters will be fought under strict D.A.R. rules, the contestants being limited to verbal hair pulling and whisker tweaking, but in the course of a strife the customers of baseball may learn some candid truths.

The Most Unkind Cut

Harry Williams, president of the Coast league, and Cal Ewing, of the Oakland club, will loiter around and attempt to swat Mr. Johnson with a resolution. They took up strong positions on a leather couch in “Peacock Alley” today intending to demand a certificate of purity from Johnson when the American league meets Wednesday. But Williams admitted in a tone of voice that spoke the bafflement of the Coast league, that they had no standing before an American league meeting and would have to depend on some kindly disposed member of the American league board to bring up officially the matter of Johnson’s allegations.

The American league club owners who last week were reported to have tired of the Landis administration are now said to be ready to give him a vote of confidence which would be a sort of rebuke to Johnson, their own president. Johnson is used to rebukes, of course, but this would be the severest of all.

No Scandal Probe

The question whether baseball is still as crooked today as it was three years ago or less so, or more so, probably will be dodged as nobody has yet signified any intention of demanding the details of the Dolan-O’Connell case within the New York Giants last fall. Landis’ disposition of this case left the country strewn with suspicions that not all the crooks had been discovered and he even admitted that the investigation was not at an end.

However, it is impossible to anticipate what will happen and the magnates have a tendency to huddle together and whisper instead of telling the truth aloud when scandal touches their business.

All Need Players

All major league managers are here now, or will have arrived by the time the National league goes into session tomorrow morning with the exception of Wilbert Robinson, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who is sick in Baltimore. Almost all of them need players and not many of them have any players to offer in trade.

Stanley Harris, manager of the Washington Senators, needs some reserve infield material to strengthen a club which had to use a lollipopping big outfielder at third base during the last world series when Roger Peckinpaugh was hurt and removed.

He will also need a first class pitcher to take the place of Walter Johnson, if the serious Scandinavian quits the team. The Yankees need a new pitcher, catcher and shortstop and Ty Cobb admitted that he had warrants for a good shortstop and a second baseman.

The Giants claim to be standing pat on their 1924 team, but they have an extra first baseman and are in a position to make a good trade as they need a catcher.

The Reds need a first baseman to take the place of the late Jake Daubent and the Boston Red Sox and Braves each need a new ball club.

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