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Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Today in Baseball History: Opening Day canceled due to the first-ever players strike

Moving forward somewhat:

To understand what led to the 1972 strike — the first ever players strike in baseball history — you have to go back a few years.

From the advent of baseball until the 1960s there were multiple efforts to organize players in an effort to get a better deal from the owners, including players even forming their own league one time. Nothing ever really came of those efforts, however, and the status quo held: the owners controlled basically everything, whatever the players got was given to them by the owners pursuant to the owners’ whim, and players were expected to simply be thankful to have jobs playing baseball. The only matter that players and owners talked about back in the day that we would currently recognize as one pertaining to actual labor relations were player pensions. A pension plan existed. It was not a very good one, but owners would, on occasion, go through the motions of negotiating with players over it, but it wasn’t really a negotiation.

By 1966, however, the players’ concerns about the pension being underfunded began to grow and, finally, after years of players themselves being skeptical and even fearful of the implications having a strong union, they decided to hire a full time executive director of their union with an eye toward having the union actually behave like a real labor union. Their first choice for the job was the then-existing players union’s part time legal advisor, a man named Judge Robert Cannon. Cannon actually had a pretty big conflict of interest in that he always wanted to be Baseball Commissioner and openly lobbied owners for the job while putatively serving the players’ interests. They even offered Cannon the job but he asked for too much money so they revoked the offer and went with a former chief lieutenant in the United Steelworkers union. His name was Marvin Miller.

The story of a strike, with a coda that ties into other news of the day.

 

QLE Posted: April 07, 2020 at 12:58 AM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, opening day, strike

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