Monday, August 3, 2015

Merrill Combs Settles a Debt

Merrill (Merl) Combs was a backup infielder for the Red Sox, Indians and Senators in the late forties thru the early fifties, whose career continued in the PCL for a couple years after his major league career was over.

Combs' contract was sold to the independent Seattle PCL team by Cleveland according to the Spokesman-Review of January 7, 1953:

"Shortstop Merrill Combs, sent to Indianapolis of the American Association by the Cleveland Indians last fall, has been sold to Seattle of the Pacific Coast League, general manager Eddie Stumpf of Indianapolis announced tonight (Jan, 6, 1953)."

Combs stayed in Seattle for the 1953 season, but went to Sacramento, another independent PCL team, in 1954 in a rather strange transaction. From the Ellensburg Daily Record of June 7, 1954...

"Merrill Combs, veteran Seattle Rainiers shortstop, was sold Sunday (June 6, 1954) to the Sacramento Solons of the Pacific Coast League.
Dewey Soriano, Rainiers general manager, announced that Combs' move to Sacramento pays off a "debt" the Rainiers feel they owe Sacramento. Earlier Claude Christie, catcher, was sold to Sacramento, but failed to make the grade.
Christie refused to return to Seattle or report to Memphis, where the Solons tried to sell him. Soriano said that Combs should satisfy all obligations to Sacramento, since Seattle never returned the money paid for Christie after he retired from baseball."

And sure enough, Claude Christie didn't play again, according to his Baseball Reference page. I'd like to know how he "failed to make the grade" at Sacramento.

Combs card photo from

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