The recent suspension of Toronto Blue Jays' shortstop Yunel Escobar for the inappropriate remark he wrote in his eye-black was probably well-deserved and it's good to see that baseball has become a kinder, gentler game. Such was not the case in the days of old.
In the 1890's, profanity was so rampant that the National League adopted a resolution (championed by Cincinnati owner John T. Brush) imposing mandatory expulsions upon players who used "villainously foul" language. An official document was drafted under the heading: "SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS TO PLAYERS" and distributed. The document itself was laughably profane, citing numerous examples of commonly used insults that would be considered inappropriate even by today's standards. Several are unfit to print in this blog, but two are recounted here:
In an 1897 game between the Orioles and Spiders, a fan asked one of the players who was pitching and the player allegedly responded: "Go f--k yourself!" When teammates told the player that there were ladies present, he stated that he didn't give a damn since women had no business at the ballpark anyway.
On another occasion, an unnamed player had taunted an opponent with the following objectionable statement: "A dog must have f--d your mother when she made you." One can only imagine how stiff the penalty would have been for Yunel Escobar if he had written that in his eye-black.