Whenever someone tells you the past was a "kinder, simpler time," show them this article. I'm unable to find any further stories on this tragic incident.
"We spent $850,000 for players last year but we think we got our money's worth," Midwest scouting supervisor Bert Wells told a meeting of Dodger scouts. Frank Howard received $108,000 to sign with the Dodgers and Ron Fairly got $120,000, according to Wells.
General manager Buzzie Bavasi tried to correct the record a couple days later, telling The Times' Frank Finch that "Howard got closer to $120,000 than Fairly did."
Either way, sounds like they were bargains.