There was all sorts of news to report today in the Athletics camp. The first was that the team was starting to be called the “Athletics.” This wasn’t anything the team had announced, and their official designation was the “Philadelphia American League Club”, but the name was expected to stick, especially given the description of the team’s uniforms that had just been released. Colors would be blue on white at home and blue on gray on the road with the letter “A” on the left breast.
Two more player signings were announced as well. The first was 25-year-old, left-handed hitting outfielder Fred Ketchum. Ketchum had played a handful of games with Louisville in the National League in 1899, but spent last year in Milwaukee, where he hit .231 and slugged .266 in 316 at bats. The other new player was 24-year-old Johnny Flournoy. Flournoy, whose position seems to be lost to the ages, spent 1900 in Ohio playing for Mansfield in the Interstate League. While there, he batted .326 and slugged .503 in 390 at bats.
There was also talk the team was negotiating with 20-year-old right-handed pitcher Christy Mathewson, whose brief stint with the Giants last year had been unimpressive, but while with Norfolk in the Virginia League, had posted an 18-2 record with a sparkling 0.74 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 183 innings.
All the drama, though, was going to be at Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas. Phillies owner John Rogers said he was getting the paperwork together to request an injunction preventing Bill Bernhard, Chick Fraser, and Nap Lajoie from playing with the Athletics this season.
“The suit will surely be brought this week,” said Rogers. “I have been busily engaged with the drawing up of the papers and the formal petition to that will be presented to the court. They have been approved by (the team’s) attorney…and are now in the hands of the printer. They will all be filed within a few days.”
Athletics president Ben Shibe was unperturbed by the news. “The sooner the better,” he said. “We expect the Philadelphia club to bring suit and do not care when it begins. We think they will be all wiser after it is all over. The option clause in league contracts is not legal and that is why we sign the players.”
Connie Mack added, “It is only a bluff to scare the players whom they think they are likely to lose. Such as (outfielder Jimmy) Slagle for instance. He had promised to sign with (manager Jimmy) Manning’s Washington team but now seems inclined to go back on his promise. This threat of Rogers’s is designed to scare him into signing with the Philadelphia club and it begins to look as though it might have that effect.”