Query: "ground-rent man" (baseball, 1908)

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Sat Jun 29 19:40:07 UTC 2002

In a message dated 06/29/2002 2:52:22 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
gcohen at UMR.EDU writes:

> >    April 4, 1913, p.20/3; 'Birthday Extra.  Congratulations To Tris
>  >Speaker'; 'He became a professional ball player in 1906, when he
>  >joined the Cleburne, Tex., team.  In 1907 he played with the Houston
>  >team.  At the close of the season he was purchased by [the] Boston
>  >[Red Sox] and turned over to Little Rock the following spring as
>  >ground-rent man, the Red Sox having trained on the Little Rock
>  >grounds.'

The meaning seems clear to me.  Tris Speaker was turned over to the Little
Rock franchise as payment to Little Rock for letting the Red Sox train on
their grounds.    However invented the phrase "ground-rent man" was probably
not a real estate agent and used the term "ground-rent" under the impression
it meant "rent for using the grounds" as opposed to rent for an apartment,
lease payments for equipment, etc.

I bet the Red Sox are still kicking themselves for, uh, selling Mr. Speaker
down the river.

Maryland, so I was told by a Maryland real estate, uh, speculator (she and
her family bought up low-priced properties and rented them out, i.e. they
were to some degree "slumlords" ) is the only state to have the old-style
"ground rents."  In Maryland you can buy a piece of property by setting up a
ground rent as a sort of permanent mortgage---you agree to pay $x per month
in perpetuity.  She owned several such ground rents.  I told her she was an
authentic feudal lord, or lady.

     - Jim Landau

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