July 25, 2021

Sara’s Diary, Day 76 without baseball: Greed (Bleed Cubbie Blue)

Over Memorial Day weekend I started re-reading John Helyar’s “Lords of the Realm.” I read it a couple summers ago to get a better understanding of the history of labor relations in baseball, but I wanted to revisit it given the recent standoff between players and owners as they attempt to negotiate what baseball might look like in 2020 on the eve of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. I kept thinking about a section from the first chapter yesterday as I read MLB’s attempt to divide the union between the players who have signed the most lucrative contracts and the majority who make something closer to the league minimum:

Interestingly, when it came to salary disputes, popular sympathy was almost always with the owners. Fans and writers saw it as a privilege for a man to play ball for a living. When Joe DiMaggio held out in 1938, after his first big season, for $40,000, the press scalded him for not accepting the proffered $25,000. The writers agreed with the Yankees owner, Colonel Jacob Ruppert: “Why, $25,000 is enough to make him financially independent for the rest of his life.”

That strategy of division — first between fans and players and now between…

Read “Sara’s Diary, Day 76 without baseball: Greed” at Bleed Cubbie Blue