Salary Drive (1935)

Dodgers Off on Annual Salary Drive” (Headline). Tommy Holmes, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 15, 1935, p18

  • NOTE: Phrase used repeatedly through the article to refer to a regular occurrence on the part of the whole team who play well the last two months of the season and raise false expectations for the following year. “This has become quite an annual feature of the local baseball season…Such a strong finish {in 1934} set up a standard of false values in Flatbush…Nobody’s salary was cut, no worthwhile new players were obtained.”
  • Also used:
    • About Dodgers in Brooklyn Times-Union later that same week. 
    • About Washington Senators in Baltimore Sun in September 1935 
  • Used several more times about the Dodgers in the 30s and 40s. 

About the only drive left in the Yankees is the ‘salary drive.’ This is the annual effort of all big leaguers on losing teams—a final attempt to salvage something of their personally poor individual records and thus minimize the reductions which they’re sure to find in next year’s contracts.” Joe Trimble, New York Daily News, August 7, 1946, p60

  • NOTE: Makes note of the fact that this used to happen with the Dodgers “in Uncle Robbie’s days.”

In addition to aiding in the club pennant drive, Berra is marshaling his own salary drive. He gets $20,000 now and if he finishes among the leading hitters and helps get the Yanks into the World Series, he intends to ask Trader Weiss for $40,000 next Spring. Berra is a simple soul until it comes time to argue salary terms.” Joe Trimble, New York Daily News, August 20, 1950, p70

  • NOTE: Earliest use applied to individual player, though not in the sense that he is doing it only for his own salary benefit, not for the team.

Previous earliest use (Dickson Baseball Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2009):
1ST USE. 1961. “Salary Drive: A player’s hustle last month of the season” (Fresco Thompson, quoted in Los Angeles Times, July 8).