Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Minor Change Is Now Worth $30,000 Bundle

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Minor Change Is Now Worth $30,000 Bundle

Article excerpt

There probably are a number of minor-leaguers in the Cardinals' system today who wish they had taken the organization up on its request for them to play in exhibition games during the replacement part of spring training.

Club President Mark Lamping, repeating an announcement he made to the owners on Sunday in Chicago, pledged Monday that the Cardinals will pay each of the 33 replacement players $30,000 for their efforts.

Chairman August A. Busch III authorized the payments.

All the replacements had been promised the standard $5,000 rate and had hoped to get $5,000 for being on a roster for the opening day that never came. The $20,000 termination pay - which the clubs were not required to pay because the season never started - was an bonus that Lamping said "will blow these kids over."

Larry Shikles, back at work as a stockbroker in St. Louis, is no kid at 31 years old, but he was duly impressed by Lamping's revelation. "That's unbelievable," he said.

"That's just a touch of class right there. The most I ever made in one year was $25,000, my last year in Triple-A (1993)."

Referring to the players who declined to play in the exhibitions for fear of what their peers might say or do, Shikles said the Cardinals' generosity "was an in-your-face. We experienced very little duress anyway."

Replacement first baseman Doug Radziewicz, in Little Rock, Ark., for the start of the Texas League season, was stunned to hear the news of the bonus and said he would pass the word to the eight other replacements on the Travelers' squad.

"I think somebody might faint tonight," Radziewicz said. "`It's an unbelievable feeling to come out of minor-league baseball with some money.

"I have nothing but the warmest things to say to the Busch family for doing this. If I ever get the chance to see Mr. Busch, I'll kiss his feet."

Lamping said, "We believe the one group involved with this situation that has been ignored by many and unfairly targeted by unfair criticism by others has been the players who have chosen to play in the exhibition games. These are the young men who had the courage to play and the loyalty to the organization to play when they were asked to play. …

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