Larry McLean’s Unusual Baseball Contract Demand

John McLeanHaggling over contracts is nothing new in professional baseball. For years, players and management have gone back and forth over getting the perceived upper hand when it comes to determining worth. In the days before free agency and player representation, teams could more or less dictate the terms, which could lead to some pretty unhappy exchanges and counter proposals. Perhaps none were as bizarre as hard-drinking catcher Larry McLean, who tried to negotiate the payment of 25 cents for every drink he refused during the 1911 season with the Cincinnati Reds.

McLean was a towering (6’5”, 230-pound catcher), who broke into the majors with the Boston Americans in 1901. He eventually gained a reputation as a good-hitting and fielding receiver with a penchant for the bottle. To say he had a taste for the drink and trouble would be an understatement. He was involved in saloon brawls during his playing career and was eventually killed in one in 1921 at the age of 39, when he and a friend mixed it up with a bartender who happened to have a gun with him behind the counter at his near beer joint.

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