Chicago Tribune

Griffith's Gift From St. Nick: John Jachym

Washington, Dec. 24 (AP) - Clark Griffith, 80 year old president of the Washington Senators, received the sport world’s most mystifying Christmas present of 1949 - John James Jachvm.Just what Griffith, who controls 42.5 per cent of the Senators' stock against Jachym's 39.7 per cent, has in his new partner is everybody’s guess.

Jachym - pronounced Yockim - is a 31 year old former minor league owner. He heads a seven man syndicate which bought up the Richardson block of Senator stock eight days ago. The first Griffith knew of it was when Jachym walked in last Monday and told the old gentleman, "We’re in business together."

A Baseball Livewire

The Jamestown, N. Y., man is a baseball livewire. But the problem for Griffith is what kind of owner he will be. Now when asked about the future, Griffith doesn't express his old sure-fire confidence. It's obvious he doesn't know what’s in front of him.

When asked about the sale, Jachym said: "Mr. Griffith can continue as long as he wants to. I think he’s a terrific baseball man."

Yet in contrast to this size-up of Griffith, Jachym's friends say he has for 10 years, proclaimed Branch Rickey as baseball s greatest living man. And the Rickey and Griffith systems are as different as black and white.

Bought Jamestown Club

Before the war, Jachym took a job with Rickey who then, was overseer of the St. Louis Cardinals. After the war he went back into baseball under Ricky's guiding hand. He bought the Jamestown club of the class D Pony league and gave the club a pennant or two. His operations were strangely like that of Rickey. He sold Jamestown in 1947 at a $15,000 profit to the Tigers and became No. 2 man in the Detroit farm system.

So fans here are particularly skeptical that Jachym can admire both the Griffith and Rickey systems.

Rickey, long a colorful, controversial owner, will do anything to help his club. He has broken rules and precedents in his quest for National league pennants. And his efforts have been rewarded.

Griffith, on the other hand, presents the conservative, solid owner of yesteryear. He does little until it’s tried and true. He has run his ball club much the same way since 1912 when he bought into the franchise.

One parallel sums up the difference between the two men whom Jachym calls great baseball moguls:

Hard to Handle

Rickey was the first great producer of a farm system back in the 1930s. Griffith was the last. He finally got into the farming business three or four years ago.

One major league baseball manager, who asked to remain unidentified, put it this way:

“I've talked trades numerous times with both men. Griffith, who hasn't won a pennant in my day, talks a deal like he just won the pennant. He's probably one of the most difficult men to deal with – that’s why he's been standing pat on an eighth place club since the end of last season.

“Take Rickey, the comparison ends with the fact they’re both in the baseball business. He is hard to deal with, but not in the same way. Whether he’s won the pennant or not, he’s out to better his club and it’s very seldom grass grows under his feet.

Rickey Will Gamble

"Rickey - who won the pennant - will gamble on a trade. With Griffith - who ended up last – that’s unheard of. It should be just the opposite."

A good indication of where Jachym stands may come in the Washington stockholders' meeting here Jan. 3.

For a long time many fans here have wanted a man like Bill Veeck to take over the club. John James [Johnny] Jachym could well be a real all-star substitute who, like Veeck, just wants results.


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