President Von der Ahe, of the St. Louis base ball team, who arrived [in Cleveland] yesterday afternoon, continued his conference with President Robison of the Cleveland club to-day. The two magnates were in earnest conversation throughout the morning and until 2 o'clock this afternoon, when President Von der Ahe left the city, presumably for St. Louis. It is known that the St. Louis president came here principally for the purpose of negotiating for players to strengthen his club, but just before his departure this afternoon he and Mr. Robison both declared that no agreement had been reached and Mr. Robison added that it was safe to say there would be no base ball deal as a result of President Von der Ahe's visit to Cleveland. It is understood that Von der Ahe made several different offers in the way of trades and bonuses for certain Cleveland players, but that in no case did the inducements held out meet the views of Mr. Robison.
-Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, February 4, 1897
The 1897 Clevelands were a pretty good club and, of course, plenty of those guys would end up playing in St. Louis in 1899. They had some good young players such as a twenty-three year old Bobby Wallace and twenty-two year old Jack Powell that could have helped the Browns. But if I had to guess, I'd say that Von der Ahe was trying to get Patsy Tebeau.