Baseball’s Bonus Babies

Conversations with 24 High-Priced Ballplayers Signed from 1953 to 1957

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About the Book

In the mid-1940s, the post-war United States was a prosperous country, and baseball had its own share of this prosperity. An expanding minor league led to unprecedented competition for young baseball talent. The ill-conceived idea of a signing bonus quickly introduced an element of financial competition into the sport of baseball, much to the discomfort of many minor league teams. Unable to compete with major league teams, the minor leagues pressed for restrictions on the bonuses paid to players. Bonus rules—the first enacted in 1946 and the second implemented in 1953—attempted unsuccessfully to curb ever-rising bonuses and limit the damage this policy ultimately did to both teams and players.
Containing 24 interviews, this volume focuses on players signed under the strict bonus rule of 1953–1957, which required that players signed to a bonus of $4,000 or more remain on the big league roster for two full seasons before being sent to the minor leagues. Organized chronologically, these interviews explore the lives and careers of the bonus babies with emphasis on their early big-league experience and its effect on their careers. Players interviewed in this volume include Harmon Killebrew, Reno Bertoia, Tommy Qualters, Jim Pyburn, John DeMerit, Von McDaniel, Don Pavletich, Mel Roach, Steve Boros, Dick Schofield, Jim Derrington, Mike McCormick, Jim Pagliaroni, Paul Giel, Buddy Pritchard, Jerry Walker, Jim Brady, Wayne Causey, Lindy McDaniel, Jim Small, Don Kaiser, Tommy Carroll, Jerry Kindall and Frank Zupo. An appendix provides a complete chronological listing of players signed under the bonus rule of 1953–1957. The work is also indexed.

About the Author(s)

Brent Kelley, a retired equine veterinarian from Lexington, Kentucky, is the author of numerous McFarland baseball books.

Bibliographic Details

Brent Kelley
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 213
Bibliographic Info: 26 photos, appendix, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2519-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8270-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

1953      3

1. Reno Bertoia      5

2. Tom Qualters      10

3. Mel Roach      25

4. Dick Schofield      32

1954      39

5. Paul Giel      41

6. Harmon Killebrew      48

1955      55

7. Jim Brady      57

8. Tom Carroll      64

9. Wayne Causey      76

10. Jim Derrington      84

11. Don Kaiser      90

12. Lindy McDaniel      96

13. Jim Pagliaroni      105

14. Jim Pyburn      111

15. Jim Small      116

1956      123

16. Jerry Kindall      125

17. Mike McCormick      140

1957      149

18. Steve Boros      151

19. John DeMerit      161

20. Von McDaniel      167

21. Don Pavletich      174

22. Buddy Pritchard      178

23. Jerry Walker      185

24. Frank Zupo      191

Appendix: Players Signed Under the Bonus Rule of 1953–1957      199

Index      201