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Brutus
08-10-2012, 06:41 PM
I've been doing some reading on the events that eventually precipitated the destruction of the reserve system in baseball. In reading some articles and the 1976-1979 collective bargaining agreement - the first that contained free agency - I was amazed at how the first system was set up.

Most folks that were in adulthood by the late 70's probably already know this, but for me it was interesting.

When the first batch of players to sign contracts after August 10, 1976 became free agents, there was a free agent 'draft' held each season. The clubs would make draft selections in rotating order, worst to first, picking the players they'd like to have negotiating rights with.

The draft continued until each club passed. A player could be picked by up to 12 clubs, not including his former team. Once a player was picked by 12 clubs, he was no longer eligible to be picked, and those teams has rights to negotiate with the player. If two or fewer teams picked a player, he was free to negotiate with any club. Players could still negotiate with any team, provided they reached mid-February without a contract, but the negotiation rights gave picking teams first dibs essentially.

It's somewhat remarkable to me that the system of service time, arbitration, options and assignments have largely remained unchanged in 35 years. There is only a small difference in arbitration eligibility (it was initially 2 years service and playing in at least three separate seasons), but the structure and procedures were mostly the same.

Well, in any event, I found this interesting. For some it might just be a refresher, for others it might be a history lesson.

westofyou
08-10-2012, 06:45 PM
Every time the Reds turn came up Howsam stood up and said...

"The Cincinnati Reds pass."

And so it began.

The day after the first draft was an amazing day as a fan... a real shift in the game

Brutus
08-10-2012, 06:50 PM
Every time the Reds turn came up Howsam stood up and said...

"The Cincinnati Reds pass."

And so it began.

The day after the first draft was an amazing day as a fan... a real shift in the game

Was the draft televised in any capacity, WOY?

It definitely was a huge change in the game.

hebroncougar
08-10-2012, 06:51 PM
I've been doing some reading on the events that eventually precipitated the destruction of the reserve system in baseball. In reading some articles and the 1976-1979 collective bargaining agreement - the first that contained free agency - I was amazed at how the first system was set up.

Most folks that were in adulthood by the late 70's probably already know this, but for me it was interesting.

When the first batch of players to sign contracts after August 10, 1976 became free agents, there was a free agent 'draft' held each season. The clubs would make draft selections in rotating order, worst to first, picking the players they'd like to have negotiating rights with.

The draft continued until each club passed. A player could be picked by up to 12 clubs, not including his former team. Once a player was picked by 12 clubs, he was no longer eligible to be picked, and those teams has rights to negotiate with the player. If two or fewer teams picked a player, he was free to negotiate with any club. Players could still negotiate with any team, provided they reached mid-February without a contract, but the negotiation rights gave picking teams first dibs essentially.

It's somewhat remarkable to me that the system of service time, arbitration, options and assignments have largely remained unchanged in 35 years. There is only a small difference in arbitration eligibility (it was initially 2 years service and playing in at least three separate seasons), but the structure and procedures were mostly the same.

Well, in any event, I found this interesting. For some it might just be a refresher, for others it might be a history lesson.


I did not know that. Thanks for sharing. Where are you finding your info?

westofyou
08-10-2012, 06:54 PM
Was the draft televised in any capacity, WOY?

It definitely was a huge change in the game.

Nah, just read about it the next day and the following week in TSN

And this SI article -

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1091665/index.htm

Brutus
08-10-2012, 07:00 PM
I did not know that. Thanks for sharing. Where are you finding your info?

Well, I read several articles about it that had bits and pieces, but the process is described in the CBA itself. I have a copy if you want to read through it. It's also uploaded, or at least was, on Maury Brown's Biz of Baseball site.

westofyou
08-10-2012, 07:02 PM
This book is awesome for that subject

Lords of the Realm:: The Real History of Baseball (http://www.amazon.com/Lords-Realm-Real-History-Baseball/dp/0679411976)

hebroncougar
08-10-2012, 07:07 PM
This book is awesome for that subject

Lords of the Realm:: The Real History of Baseball (http://www.amazon.com/Lords-Realm-Real-History-Baseball/dp/0679411976)

I may have to look for that at 1/2 price books. I'm a kindle kind of guy, but that price is way up. Thanks.

IslandRed
08-10-2012, 08:04 PM
This book is awesome for that subject

Lords of the Realm:: The Real History of Baseball (http://www.amazon.com/Lords-Realm-Real-History-Baseball/dp/0679411976)

I've re-read parts of that book even more than I've referred back to Moneyball. Some great quotes and lines in there, e.g.:

"Gentlemen, we have the only legal monopoly in the country and we're (bad word)ing it up." -- Ted Turner

Big Klu
08-11-2012, 05:07 AM
I believe the first player the Reds ever signed through the free agent draft was Larry Biittner prior to the 1981 season.

camisadelgolf
08-11-2012, 05:43 AM
I believe the first player the Reds ever signed through the free agent draft was Larry Biittner prior to the 1981 season.
The signing may have been a letdown, but I can't blame the Reds for doing it. After all, he was averaging over 20 strikeouts per 9 innings.

paulrichjr
08-11-2012, 12:29 PM
Was the draft televised in any capacity, WOY?

It definitely was a huge change in the game.

Just curious but how old are you? I'm 44 and I found this humorous. As a kid growing up at this time you looked forward to Monday nights because ABC had Monday night baseball on. One game all week is all I can remember being on besides the Saturday game on NBC. Scores? Good luck. Get your paper the next day to find out what the Reds did. And if they played on the West Coast you had to wait for 2 days. A televised draft? That would have been amazing for a young baseball fan except we all hated free agency. Hated it! It took me years to get over this bias toward free agency. I remember my son a couple of years ago saying he liked the offseason almost as much as the season because you get to follow the news of who is signing who and trades. I looked at him like he had lost his mind and then it dawned on me that I liked it also.

RedlegJake
08-11-2012, 02:58 PM
Just curious but how old are you? I'm 44 and I found this humorous. As a kid growing up at this time you looked forward to Monday nights because ABC had Monday night baseball on. One game all week is all I can remember being on besides the Saturday game on NBC. Scores? Good luck. Get your paper the next day to find out what the Reds did. And if they played on the West Coast you had to wait for 2 days. A televised draft? That would have been amazing for a young baseball fan except we all hated free agency. Hated it! It took me years to get over this bias toward free agency. I remember my son a couple of years ago saying he liked the offseason almost as much as the season because you get to follow the news of who is signing who and trades. I looked at him like he had lost his mind and then it dawned on me that I liked it also.

Brings back memories. I too hated free agency when it dawned. It was wrecking baseball - how dare they suggest that Pete Rose could simply decide to leave the Reds?! Or Don Gullett? Dammit! They're screwing up the Big Red Machine! The Reds waited eons to get a great team and now they're gonna wreck it! And of course, the fact that the Reds refused to have anything at all to do with it and simply let the rest of baseball blow on by them basically set them up for the basement years of the 80s. Howsam and company made a valiant effort to keep up by trades, though, and had the commish not interfered who knows? But compared to todays games on everyday and all the games for a fee anytime you want sports then was what you could read in the newspaper. And if you were out of your home town? Foret it! All you had to go on was a box score because there was no news about your Cincinnati Reds in Camp Pendleton California where I was serving. I bought a script to SportingNews to keep up because there was no other news at all.

Revering4Blue
08-11-2012, 03:35 PM
I believe the first player the Reds ever signed through the free agent draft was Larry Biittner prior to the 1981 season.
Correct.

The first free agent the Reds actively pursued was, believe it or not, Tommy John, who signed instead with the Yankees in '79. IIRC, the Reds also pursued Lee Lacy, who signed with the Pirates.

Tony Cloninger
08-11-2012, 07:34 PM
This book is awesome for that subject

Lords of the Realm:: The Real History of Baseball (http://www.amazon.com/Lords-Realm-Real-History-Baseball/dp/0679411976)

Didn't the players offer to have FA after 8-10 years and the owners refused? They never thought Seitz would rule against them.

Brutus
08-11-2012, 07:57 PM
Didn't the players offer to have FA after 8-10 years and the owners refused? They never thought Seitz would rule against them.

You know what I found most interesting about that? When MLB appealed the arbitrator's ruling in Federal court, the opinion basically asserted that had MLB specifically excluded the reserve clause in what could go to arbitration, the players wouldn't have had a case to begin with.

That's kind of funny. The law wouldn't go against MLB's reserve clause as it pertained to antitrust implications, yet it was MLB's own arbitration procedure lacking an exclusivity clause that allowed the players to go in through the back door.

George Anderson
08-11-2012, 08:28 PM
I believe the first player the Reds ever signed through the free agent draft was Larry Biittner prior to the 1981 season.

Then it was Mike Vail like a few weeks later.

Oh the happy memories !!

cumberlandreds
08-11-2012, 10:01 PM
Correct.

The first free agent the Reds actively pursued was, believe it or not, Tommy John, who signed instead with the Yankees in '79. IIRC, the Reds also pursued Lee Lacy, who signed with the Pirates.

I don't remember them going after John but I do seem to remember them going after Lacy. Howsam just refused to sign free agents. That was one of his downfalls as a GM was that he just wouldn't accept the change that had occurred.

Tony Cloninger
08-11-2012, 10:15 PM
I don't remember them going after John but I do seem to remember them going after Lacy. Howsam just refused to sign free agents. That was one of his downfalls as a GM was that he just wouldn't accept the change that had occurred.

He overrated the farm system. I mean Larry Payne was considered a top pitching prospect and he barely had more strikeouts then walks.

Revering4Blue
08-11-2012, 10:29 PM
I also read in a Rob Neyer book that Charlie Finley circa '76 came up with the idea for--are you ready for this?--making every player a free agent, every year (one year contracts,) with the idea that every player competing for every roster spot will ultimately drive salaries down. The other owners didn't go along with it, and I'm certain that the players union wouldn't have gone for it.

Yachtzee
08-13-2012, 11:22 PM
I also read in a Rob Neyer book that Charlie Finley circa '76 came up with the idea for--are you ready for this?--making every player a free agent, every year (one year contracts,) with the idea that every player competing for every roster spot will ultimately drive salaries down. The other owners didn't go along with it, and I'm certain that the players union wouldn't have gone for it.

I thought that was Bill Veeck's idea. Either way, it was coming from a maverick owner with little support from the other owners. I think there was also the argument that it would result in less player movement after a few years as players seek the safety of signing a new deal with their current team rather than test the chaos of the free agent market.

cincinnati chili
08-14-2012, 02:18 AM
The make-all-players-free-agents idea was indeed Finley's, at least according to Helyar's book, Lords of the Realm. I strongly second WOY's recommendation. If you're finding it to be expensive online, your local municipal or college library may have it for free. Very entertaining, informative book.

Helyar and others have reported that Marvin Miller was scared to death that the owners would adopt Finley's idea. As an economist, Miller knew that if all the players went on the free market after 1976 or 1977, the market would be flooded with supply and salaries would be kept way down for a long, long time. By contrast, a couple years earlier, when an arbitrator made Catfish Hunter a free agent due to Finley's failure to fund his annuity (breach of contract), Hunter was able to get (I think) a million dollar multiyear contract because he was the only free agent of any quality on the open market.

Brutus
08-14-2012, 02:27 AM
The make-all-players-free-agents idea was indeed Finley's, at least according to Helyar's book, Lords of the Realm. I strongly second WOY's recommendation. If you're finding it to be expensive online, your local municipal or college library may have it for free. Very entertaining, informative book.

Helyar and others have reported that Marvin Miller was scared to death that the owners would adopt Finley's idea. As an economist, Miller knew that if all the players went on the free market after 1976 or 1977, the market would be flooded with supply and salaries would be kept way down for a long, long time. By contrast, a couple years earlier, when an arbitrator made Catfish Hunter a free agent due to Finley's failure to fund his annuity (breach of contract), Hunter was able to get (I think) a million dollar multiyear contract because he was the only free agent of any quality on the open market.

Couldn't they have implemented the system in waves to avoid the immediate supply issue? If they'd staggered that system by service time and brought it in slowly, I would think they could have somewhat offset the plummeting salaries.

cincinnati chili
08-14-2012, 02:36 AM
Couldn't they have implemented the system in waves to avoid the immediate supply issue? If they'd staggered that system by service time and brought it in slowly, I would think they could have somewhat offset the plummeting salaries.

I'm not an economist, but I would think that from the owner's perspective they would have wanted a whole bunch of free agents to go on the market each year, not necessarily all of them, but a lot. Think about last year and CJ Wilson. He's a nice pitcher. However, there are oodles of pitchers making near the minimum salary that are almost as good as he is. If the market would have been flooded with 30 CJ Wilsons last year, the market would be a lot fairer for the owners.

The CBA for the '77 season gave free agency to players with 6+ and arbitration to players with 2+ years of service time. That was a perfect formula for the players because it ensured that only a handful of star players would hit the free market each year, and meanwhile the good players with 2+ could raise the salary floor for good players through arbitration:

http://bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=683:1976-1979&catid=45:cba-summaries&Itemid=76

Brutus
08-14-2012, 05:23 AM
I'm not an economist, but I would think that from the owner's perspective they would have wanted a whole bunch of free agents to go on the market each year, not necessarily all of them, but a lot. Think about last year and CJ Wilson. He's a nice pitcher. However, there are oodles of pitchers making near the minimum salary that are almost as good as he is. If the market would have been flooded with 30 CJ Wilsons last year, the market would be a lot fairer for the owners.

The CBA for the '77 season gave free agency to players with 6+ and arbitration to players with 2+ years of service time. That was a perfect formula for the players because it ensured that only a handful of star players would hit the free market each year, and meanwhile the good players with 2+ could raise the salary floor for good players through arbitration:

http://bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=683:1976-1979&catid=45:cba-summaries&Itemid=76

Yeah I agree with you, as I wasn't really advocating for it, but just meant to say I think they could have worked around the immediate flood of free agency if that were the issue. I think this system is better for the two parties.

redsmetz
08-14-2012, 05:43 AM
Interesting discussion. As others have noted elsewhere on this board when this topic has come up from time to time, the owners had only themselves to blame. They'd had decades of holding the reins and holding them tightly. It was a grossly unfair system and the Reserve Clause was the cinch that allowed them to squeeze the players. Of course, they could only do so because of a flawed Supreme Court decision that said baseball wasn't a business and therefore not covered by the anti-trust laws. I'm not sure what system they could have developed that would have been equitable to players (who are, after all, the show) and one that helps ownership maintain some balance to their payroll.

As an aside, for Paulrichjr (I think) who talked about having to get scores for late games or off the West Coast - I'm 14 years old than you, but I would always just call the sports desk at the paper and ask for them off the wire service. Oh, back in the day!

Chip R
08-14-2012, 09:25 AM
I thought that was Bill Veeck's idea. Either way, it was coming from a maverick owner with little support from the other owners. I think there was also the argument that it would result in less player movement after a few years as players seek the safety of signing a new deal with their current team rather than test the chaos of the free agent market.

Veeck was in favor of signing players to 6 year deals - like they used to do with actors in Hollywood. In essence, that's what we have now.

Cooper
08-14-2012, 04:28 PM
1. Marvin Miller's book "A whole different ballgame". Is a really good read and anyone that's in a management position should read it. There are numerous good lessons about power differential, about the ebb and flow of systemic thought, about how people in power can somtimes believe they hold the moral high ground based on power alone.

2. Chili and WOY can maybe point toward a better answer, but didn't the CBA circa 1975 literally say nothing about holding a player's rights for the lifetime of his career? I thought there was a story where the owners lawyer took a look at it and blushed because there wasn't anything of substance in the CBA.

3. Howsam and the Reds were the ultimate moralists-at the time i was a kid and i thought it was the right thing to do - but in reality, it was the sickest thing to do -what the Reds wanted was for everyone to follow their lead and collude against the players.

4. You younger folks have no idea how difficult it was to get good info about....about anything. The paper might have batting averages, hr's, and rbi's...but only on sunday- and only if they were filling up space. You had to get the Sporting News to be able to get any info at all. When the USA Today started publishing the stats on a weekly basis - i thought that was unbelievable. Minor league info was few and far between. During the Reds 1990 season, i bought 3 papers a day to try to satisfy my baseball cravings.

5. You guys remember the Reds cable deal in the late 80's/early 90's. I thought it was called Prime but i'm not sure if that's correct. It was so goofy, the only place that carried it was Terra Haute, Indiana (??).

6. Not until the Castilinni years, have i beleived the Reds tried to be first class with re: to marketing and getting the product out to others. In the 70's they had a good radio market and the winter caravan, but there were a lot of lean years where the Reds did everything mediocre and were kind of proud of it.

westofyou
08-14-2012, 04:38 PM
4. You younger folks have no idea how difficult it was to get good info about....about anything. The paper might have batting averages, hr's, and rbi's...but only on sunday- and only if they were filling up space. You had to get the Sporting News to be able to get any info at all. When the USA Today started publishing the stats on a weekly basis - i thought that was unbelievable. Minor league info was few and far between. During the Reds 1990 season, i bought 3 papers a day to try to satisfy my baseball cravings.




http://baseballminutia.com/blog/2006/07/12/getting-the-information/




However if you missed the game or didn’t know more than the score you were still left twisting in the wind, waiting for the more than just the score, and this was available only from the papers who still despite radio and television had a hand in the game and its much needed publicity. In the paper you got the most information they still posted the daily leaders board, box scores, recaps and standings. Finding a sports section from another city in the summer was a treasure, finding a Sunday section with a Peter Gammons article was heaven as well. Things stayed status quo for the next 30 years with the late scores coming at the end of the 11:00 news or in the barrage of George Michaels Sports Machine, if all else failed you could call the news department and bother Jimmy Olsen for the score, after all isn’t that why they’re there?

This all changed about the time people started to use computers in their daily lives and loud cheers in sports departments and former jocks homes could be heard when ESPN introduced the “Bottom Line,” (a copy of CNN’s financial ticker) in 1996. This invention of the scrolling line at the bottom of the screen changed the landscape of the fan who isn’t in the stands, it freed us from calling sports departments at 2 in the morning after a night out drinking, or stomaching local news and all its pain. The scroll kicked open the door to the world we dwell in today, a world with Gamecast and instant updates for your fantasy team and your favorite team, subscription services and data feeds, excel spreadsheets and PECOTA.

There has never been a better time to be a fan as far as information is concerned and there is nothing more fun then diving into some of this stuff every now and then.

Take it from me, at one time in my life I thought the publication The National was the greatest thing that had ever used paper as a medium.

Chip R
08-14-2012, 05:02 PM
2. Chili and WOY can maybe point toward a better answer, but didn't the CBA circa 1975 literally say nothing about holding a player's rights for the lifetime of his career? I thought there was a story where the owners lawyer took a look at it and blushed because there wasn't anything of substance in the CBA.


The CBA at the time had the reserve clause in it - which dated back to the 19th century - that basically said that the club can renew this contract for the period of one year on the same terms if the player is unsigned by a certain date. The owners believed that meant that they could potentially renew the contract every year for the rest of the player's career. Miller felt that it only gave them the right to renew it for one year. Some owners felt that Miller was correct in how he interpreted it but they weren't going to say anything publicly about it.

westofyou
08-14-2012, 05:03 PM
The CBA at the time had the reserve clause in it - which dated back to the 19th century - that basically said that the club can renew this contract for the period of one year on the same terms if the player is unsigned by a certain date. The owners believed that meant that they could potentially renew the contract every year for the rest of the player's career. Miller felt that it only gave them the right to renew it for one year. Some owners felt that Miller was correct in how he interpreted it but they weren't going to say anything publicly about it.

The owners that had law degrees

paulrichjr
08-14-2012, 05:09 PM
As an aside, for Paulrichjr (I think) who talked about having to get scores for late games or off the West Coast - I'm 14 years old than you, but I would always just call the sports desk at the paper and ask for them off the wire service. Oh, back in the day!

Does anyone remember the 900 number that came out that you could call and pay (I think) .50 cents per call and get all the scores. I, believe it or not, remember the number because they sang it to a song and I did call it a few times to check on the Reds. 900-976-1313

What is amazing to me is that honestly the instant info that we can get on baseball is really a very recent thing. It was like one day we had the Sunday Morning paper with the stats (thanks for that reference point Cooper)....I still remember going down the list and being disgusted because the number 1 Reds player on the list was never at the top. Never!...and then suddenly I can get it in the shower if I want. So should us guys in our 40s tell stories like our parents did of walking to school 3 miles in the snow uphill but instead substitute "In my day we had to WAIT AN ENTIRE WEEK to get baseball stats!"

paulrichjr
08-14-2012, 05:31 PM
http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/dodger-thoughts/post/_/id/9969/reminiscing-about-baseball-in-the-pre-internet-age

camisadelgolf
08-14-2012, 07:39 PM
I remember looking forward to Sunday's paper just for the leagues' player stats. I was always frustrated that they would only show players with enough qualifying at-bats or innings pitched. For that reason, I'd pay for a subscription to USA Today Baseball Weekly.

Revering4Blue
08-14-2012, 08:54 PM
Does anyone remember the 900 number that came out that you could call and pay (I think) .50 cents per call and get all the scores. I, believe it or not, remember the number because they sang it to a song and I did call it a few times to check on the Reds. 900-976-1313
It was Dial-It Sports.
IIRC, they sang "9-0-0-9-7-6-1-3-1-3. Dial-It, we're talking to you."

Chip R
08-14-2012, 10:36 PM
Veeck was in favor of signing players to 6 year deals - like they used to do with actors in Hollywood. In essence, that's what we have now.

Actually he suggested during his testimony for Curt Flood that a 7 year contract with built in automatic annual raises.

cumberlandreds
08-15-2012, 07:45 AM
Does anyone remember the 900 number that came out that you could call and pay (I think) .50 cents per call and get all the scores. I, believe it or not, remember the number because they sang it to a song and I did call it a few times to check on the Reds. 900-976-1313

What is amazing to me is that honestly the instant info that we can get on baseball is really a very recent thing. It was like one day we had the Sunday Morning paper with the stats (thanks for that reference point Cooper)....I still remember going down the list and being disgusted because the number 1 Reds player on the list was never at the top. Never!...and then suddenly I can get it in the shower if I want. So should us guys in our 40s tell stories like our parents did of walking to school 3 miles in the snow uphill but instead substitute "In my day we had to WAIT AN ENTIRE WEEK to get baseball stats!"

I remember it. I called it a few times. I can remember not being able to find out the score of Reds games and having to wait until the Reds pre-game to listen to see if they would tell the score or get some hint of how the previous game turned out. I also used go over to my Granny's and Aunts home to get the sports section from the Courier-Journal to check the scores, boxscores,standings,league leaders etc... Of course you never had the late night scores until a day later, if then. Most of the time those were just omitted and never reported.

dougdirt
08-15-2012, 08:28 AM
I remember looking forward to Sunday's paper just for the leagues' player stats. I was always frustrated that they would only show players with enough qualifying at-bats or innings pitched. For that reason, I'd pay for a subscription to USA Today Baseball Weekly.

I remember walking to Ameristop before school (middle school - Ameristop was about 500 feet from my bus stop) to buy Baseball Weekly the day it came out. What a good day that was.

redsmetz
08-15-2012, 08:32 AM
I remember walking to Ameristop before school (middle school - Ameristop was about 500 feet from my bus stop) to buy Baseball Weekly the day it came out. What a good day that was.

How'd you replenish your lunch money, Doug? :)

[caveat: I say from my own crooked childhood experience, buying comic books at the drug store where my bus transfer was and listing a dime from my mom's purse to be able to afford the bus ride home - I confessed my crime to her when I was an adult. And, BTW, I'm not suggesting you resorted to anything untoward to feed your Baseball Weekly habit]

Cooper
08-15-2012, 10:49 AM
I remember 2 concepts that Miller said hat had the greatest effect on salaries:

1. The highest salary in the league was important -if you push that up everyone else's salary would also go up relative to that increase. For some reason, the owners thought that wouldn't happen and thought they could play the best players high salaries and keep everyone else at minimum wage.

2. He believed arbitration catapulted salaries faster than free agency -he thought that was the big get that the players were able to earn in the CBA.

The owners were so myopic that i just believe they never saw it coming- they really never had an alternative plan until AFTER the players had won rights -and then the owners came up with plans for give backs by the players.

What's odd is how often in this country we believe in the little guy getting and earning more and better freedoms, but when our sports hero's did so - we turned on them quickly. If you asked 100 people who had the moral highground when it came to this new thing- 95% of them would have said the players were wrong for trying to earn these rights. An owner can betray his team by a factor of 10,000 (see Marge Schott) and we say she's great...Barry Larkin tears off a "C" for a day and we wanna kick him to the curb. Just interesting how sports work.

Yachtzee
08-18-2012, 02:46 AM
I remember 2 concepts that Miller said hat had the greatest effect on salaries:

1. The highest salary in the league was important -if you push that up everyone else's salary would also go up relative to that increase. For some reason, the owners thought that wouldn't happen and thought they could play the best players high salaries and keep everyone else at minimum wage.

2. He believed arbitration catapulted salaries faster than free agency -he thought that was the big get that the players were able to earn in the CBA.

The owners were so myopic that i just believe they never saw it coming- they really never had an alternative plan until AFTER the players had won rights -and then the owners came up with plans for give backs by the players.

What's odd is how often in this country we believe in the little guy getting and earning more and better freedoms, but when our sports hero's did so - we turned on them quickly. If you asked 100 people who had the moral highground when it came to this new thing- 95% of them would have said the players were wrong for trying to earn these rights. An owner can betray his team by a factor of 10,000 (see Marge Schott) and we say she's great...Barry Larkin tears off a "C" for a day and we wanna kick him to the curb. Just interesting how sports work.

I think that fans used to identify with the players more easily in the past, as they saw players who came from the same backgrounds as they did. Players made a good living, but not outrageously so, and often lived in middle class neighborhoods. I can remember my grandmother telling a story about my cousin, when he was a kid, seeing Tom Seaver at the grocery store. He said, "You're Tom Seaver. What are you doing at the grocery store?" And his reply was, "Players have to eat too, you know." I never knew if she was telling a tall tale or not, but at least then it was plausible that a kid living in an ordinary suburb could run into star players at the supermarket. I can remember Cleveland Cavaliers players Brad Doherty, Larry Nance and Hot Rod Williams playing pick up basketball in the summer at a park near my house and visiting the movie theater I worked at.


Now players make so much money, live in gated communities and seem to have walled themselves off from the fans. Many no longer stick around during the off-season, preferring to live on golf courses in Florida. Fewer people identify with them, and when they complain about how much they get paid, it turns off those who could live for years off one year's baseball salary at the league minimum.

redsmetz
08-18-2012, 06:33 AM
I think that fans used to identify with the players more easily in the past, as they saw players who came from the same backgrounds as they did. Players made a good living, but not outrageously so, and often lived in middle class neighborhoods. I can remember my grandmother telling a story about my cousin, when he was a kid, seeing Tom Seaver at the grocery store. He said, "You're Tom Seaver. What are you doing at the grocery store?" And his reply was, "Players have to eat too, you know." I never knew if she was telling a tall tale or not, but at least then it was plausible that a kid living in an ordinary suburb could run into star players at the supermarket. I can remember Cleveland Cavaliers players Brad Doherty, Larry Nance and Hot Rod Williams playing pick up basketball in the summer at a park near my house and visiting the movie theater I worked at.

Now players make so much money, live in gated communities and seem to have walled themselves off from the fans. Many no longer stick around during the off-season, preferring to live on golf courses in Florida. Fewer people identify with them, and when they complain about how much they get paid, it turns off those who could live for years off one year's baseball salary at the league minimum.


When I was a kid growing up in Deer Park, many of the Reds black players lived in Kennedy Heights. Many times, they'd be up at St. John's playing basketball during the off-season. Gus Bell lived in Silverton (where Barry was born) and his son and daughter were in my class at St. John's.

When Seaver was with the club, he lived out around Landon. One of his daughters went to school with one of my younger cousins. She was at my relatives' house and my uncle, who likes to kid alot, said he heard there was a pretty good ballplayer in her family. She quickly replied that, yes, her sister was a very good ballplayer.