John A. Newell, of the Indianapolis Club, of the Western League, who received a verdict for $274 against President Von der Ahe, of the St. Louis Club, in the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia on Dec. 28, developed the following points: Newell was engaged by Von der Ahe to play short stop for his team in 1893. His salary was to be $300 a month, beginning April 1. On that day the St. Louis team played an exhibition game with a local club, and Newell, while batting, had a bone broken in his wrist by a pitched ball. He was unable to play for several weeks, when the manager asked him to take part in a championship contest. In the preliminary practice Newell, in trying to catch a high fly, fell again, broke his wrist and could not play until May 31, when Von der Ahe gave him ten days' notice of release. The manager claimed he had power to suspend the plaintiff for any cause, without pay, and that he was the exclusive judge of what was sufficient cause. He asserted that on April 27 he had suspended Newell for inability to throw and run bases, and that his pay ceased from that date. Newell held he could not be suspended without being served with a written notice as to the cause and that he should not forfeit his pay because of inability to play when such inability to play was due to an accident sustained in the course of his duties as a member of the club. The jury took this view and awarded him his salary to May 31.
-New York Clipper, January 9, 1897
I'm kind of looking at the 1897 season right now, trying to figure out if it would be interesting enough to cover in depth. I think it would be kind of fun to take a close look at the 1897 Browns, a club that finished 29-102. We tend to focus on winners and champions and great players and important events but I think there is plenty of interesting weirdness surrounding the Browns of the late 1890s to keep us occupied for awhile. I've gone through the 1898 season, while covering the collapse of Von der Ahe's baseball empire, and, therefore, I think it's time to look at the second-worst Browns club of the 19th century.
And with this little gem of a story, I think we're off to a nice start. We'll see how it goes.