8-11 January, 1904: winter meetings

Just like today, there’s not a lot of baseball news in January in Minneapolis in 1904. But on January 8th an article on page 18 provides a bit of news for the hungry fan. President Watkins and the “sporting editors” of the Minneapolis papers were the guests of former President Ed Johnson at a dinner at the National Hotel last evening, where Watkins announced that the signing of second-sacker Billy Fox as captain of the Minneapolis club.

Billy Fox, Captain, and Second Baseman. "crafty"

Billy Fox, Captain, and Second Baseman. “crafty”

Fox was second baseman for Watkins’ Indianapolis club last year, and is said to be one of the fastest basemen in the league, his only rival being Miller Huggins of St. Paul. The Journal scribe also reports him to be one of the craftier players in the league.

He is a daring and successful base runner, as well as a good fielder, and altho not a strong sticker, will be a most valuable man for the team.

Watkins again does not go out on any limbs to make any promises about where his team will finish, but again says that the team will be as good a team as the city has ever seen. Watkins also seems to be one of those my-way-or-the-highway kind of guy. “I will not tolerate a man on one of my teams who does not do his best all the time. They must play baseball according to my ideas, and play it to the best of their ability, or I will get others. Baseball is a business proposition, and sentiment doesn’t go.”

WH Watkins c

To me, this sounds like a thinly-veiled message to all those former Millers hoping to play with the club this year.

Finally, the article says that the season will open on April 20th, and there will be some spring training contests, somewhere, on April 16-19.

On January 9th there appears a brief article where the current President of the Indianapolis club, C. F. Ruschaupt, comes to Minneapolis to meet with Watkins and President Lennon (of the St. Paul club) “in regard to various matters.”

One of these matters is apparently the finalizing of the Billy Fox deal, disclosed yesterday.

And then on Monday the 11th of January, there’s a brief piece about some business matters with the Minneapolis club.  E. N. Dickinson was elected business manager of the baseball club at a shareholders’ meeting on Saturday. W.H. Watkins was also elected President and Treasurer, and his acquisition of Billy Fox as team captain was “ratified.”

Seems like a cumbersome way of running a ball club.


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