1898 Memo Urging MLB Players To Clean Up Their Profane Language Is Full Of Profane Language
June 16 / Alexandra Kuczynski-Brown / SportsGrid
In 1898, pro baseball's powers that be sent out a memo entitled “Special Instructions to Players.” It was discovered in 2007 among the belongings of late baseball historian Al Kermish, and was issued to all Major League Baseball teams in a coordinated effort to rid the sport of offensive language.
The situation is not without a bit of irony, however, as the memo was deemed “unmailable” via the postal service due to the high concentration of expletives and obscenity present in the on-field code of conduct. Thus, it had to be hand-delivered to each of the League’s 12 clubs and their players.
The fourth paragraph of the document explains the committee’s reasoning for wanting to purge the sport of dirty trash talk:
"In response to nearly one hundred communications addressed to umpires, managers and club officials, soliciting definite, positive and personal knowledge of obscene and indecent language upon the ball field, the committee received a deluge of information that was so appalling as to be almost beyond belief, showing conclusively and beyond contradiction that there was urgent need for legislative action on the part of the League.”
We’ll take a cue from John Brush — who was responsible for the initiative — and refrain from printing examples of the more colorful insults allegedly uttered by these foul-mouthed players in an effort to “intimidate umpires and opposing players.” That said, click here to see an image of the original memo and read the transcript in its entirety. You won't be disappointed.
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