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Houstonian 1995
The Issues
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Students of the University of Houston. Houstonian 1995 - The Issues. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. April 19, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/yearb/item/5767/show/5496.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Students of the University of Houston. Houstonian 1995 - The Issues. Houstonian Yearbook Collection. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/yearb/item/5767/show/5496

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Students of the University of Houston, Houstonian 1995 - The Issues, Houstonian Yearbook Collection, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed April 19, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/yearb/item/5767/show/5496.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houstonian 1995
Creator (LCNAF)
  • Students of the University of Houston
Caption The Houstonian is the official yearbook of the University of Houston.
Subject.Name (LCNAF)
  • University of Houston
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction This image is in the public domain and may be used freely. If publishing in print, electronically, or on a website, please use the citation button above. To request higher resolution images, please use the Request High Res button above.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title The Issues
Creator (LCNAF)
  • Students of the University of Houston
Caption The Houstonian is the official yearbook of the University of Houston.
Subject.Name (LCNAF)
  • University of Houston
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction This image is in the public domain and may be used freely. If publishing in print, electronically, or on a website, please use the citation button above. To request higher resolution images, please use the Request High Res button above.
File name yearb1995023.jpg
Transcript The National Pastime Strikes Out Unable to resolve differences, owners and players cause the death of the 1994-95 Baseball Season. In 1904, John McGraw's National League New York Giants baseball team boycotted the second World Series ever. McGraw, formerly manager of the Baltimore Orioles in the then-newly-formed American League (started in 1901), had a serious beef with the AL president and founder Ban Johnson. McGraw claimed Johnson did not support him adequately in battles with the umpires. So, he backed his team out of the potential Series with the Boston Red Sox, making for an interesting, and previously unrepeated, part of baseball lore. It took 90 years, but the annual season-ending meeting between the two league champions was canceled in 1994, for very different reasons than the first time. Baseball players elected to walk out on the 1994 season on August 12. It took little more than a month for owners to issue a statement that effectively killed the remainder of the year, including the post-season. As was well publicized, it was the eighth work stoppage that major league baseball has suffered in the last 23 years. What was behind this strike and others? Only a natural escalation of differences between players and owners that has been brewing since players began to fight for basic American workers' rights in the late '60s. The collective bargaining agreement between the players and owners hammered out via lockout in 1990 was for a period of four years. During the hostile negotiations in 1990, the owners made a number of proposals for a new agreement which players found highly offensive. Among these was the Pay-For-Perfor- mance idea, designed to control escalating player salaries by regulating them according to statistics. Looking ahead to the off-season negotiations at the end of 1994, players decided to strike while they supposedly had the upper hand, in mid-season. However, the warring factions were not surprisingly unable to resolve their differences enough to finish the 1994 schedule. This action led to one of the most heard complaints bv fans and media during the strike, aimed at players' perceived greed. The opinion was that mediocre players were being over paid anyway, that even the best players were making far too much, sometimes in excess of five million dollars a year. These charges were difficult to deny. However, little was written about the greed of the owners. Since baseball's inception, team owners, sometimes known as the "lords of baseball," have been protected by a Supreme Court decision handed down in 1922. In the ruling, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that baseball games "would not be called trade or commerce in the commonly accepted use of those words." Considering clubs are regularly bought and sold for amounts exceeding $200 million and baseball television contracts (including the most recent signed with ESPN) total in the billions, that phrase is obviously no longer valid. The ruling's precedent has affected the rights of baseball players nonetheless. Any rights baseball players have earned have come in the form off collective bargaining agreements, or Basic Agreements, between the Major League Players Association (the players' union ) and the owners, the first of which was achieved in 1968. Many rights, such as that of free agency, have since been established, but the sport of major league baseball is exempt from federal labor laws, meaning the United States court system has no role in any labor dispute. The same is not true of the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League, which govern the three other major American sports played professionally. The NBA recently solved a dispute in last-minute negotiations. The NHL is currently suffering a lockout of its own. Baseball is not alone in suffering labor problems, therefore. The only difference between it and the other professional sports is in how its problems are handled. In the past, the players' union has hired a labor negotiator (currently Donald Fehr) to compete with a negotia tor of the owners' choice (Richard Ravitch). Fehr and Ravitch bristled during negotiations in August of 1994. Without a mediator, talks between the two camps stalled. Other work stoppages in baseball have involved its commissioner, a position created by the owners in 1920 to preside over both leagues. However, baseball's last commissioner, Fay Vincent, was forced out by his employers in 1992. Since that time, baseball has been governed by a three- man council of owners. So, the owners have run the game, with no one in a position of authority to keep things fairs. Congress, led by Senator Howard Metzenbaum, has threatened to revoke baseball's antitrust exemption, citing the lack of player rights as being unfair, but no action has been taken. In regards to the complaints of overpaid players, that problem has arisen only recently. Until 1975, every player's contract, both major and minor-league, contained a "reserve clause," a clause which indisputably bound the player's services to one club and one club only. If players had a contract dispute, their only option was to hold out or retire. Under that clause, the player, or worker, was not allowed to chose the place he wanted to work, a basic American right. In 1969, outfielder Curt Flood became the first player to challenge this system when he sued commissioner Bowie Kuhn after he was traded against his will. Flood believed he should be able to take contract offers from other teams. The Supreme Court, maintaining its hands-off policy, ruled against Flood in 1972. In 1975, two players, pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally, Further challenged the reserve clause in binding arbitration by refusing to sign contracts that year. They won the case, establishing free agency. They also established a free market economy, where a player's services are up for sale. This has naturally led to escalating salaries, as competing owners have entered bidding wars for star players. The free-agent "bust," or player who is paid well but doesn't deliver, has always been a problem. The Basic Agreement of 1976 gave players the right to declare free agency after the equivalent of six years in the majors. That policy has stuck. However, most players are required to spend at least a year, often many more, in the minor leagues, causing their free agent years to arrive in their 30s, when they are often past their peak. As a result, in the mid- '80s, the owners, tired of both busts and bidding wars, conspired to stop signing each other's free agents. The unofficial agreement, called collusion, took place following the 1985 and 1986 seasons. During that time, with very few exceptions, no owner made a contract offer to a free agent unless the player's original team did not want to re-sign him. Though this act helped control escalating salaries, it violated the Basic Agreement of 1985. Grievances were filed by the players' union following both the 1985 and 1986 seasons, with an independent arbitrator ruling in favor of the players in each case. The owners then changed up their strategy, using a phone information bank to keep track of contract offers made to free agents. Under the new collusion rules, a team could only attempt to sign a free agent if its offer was lower than that of the player's original team. Another grievance was filed and ruled on in favor of the players in response to this action. All three grievances were eventually settled for $280 million in December of 1990. Also, several of the 1985-1986 free agents were granted "new look" free agency after 1990 to compensate them for their losses during collusion. After the end of the 1989 season, players moved freely from one team to another. Collusion has not reared its ugly head again since that time, making for a negatively-viewed increase in player salaries which has hurt many smaller-market teams. These problems are what the owners and players must face over the off-season. Speculation has been that the gap between the two groups on certain issues, particularly revenue sharing and the implementation of a salary cap, is so large that baseball may not resume until 1996. In any case, the strike wiped out a fine season- for hitters, anyway. Frank Thomas of the White Sox and Albert Belle of the Indians were threatening to win a Triple Crown in the American League for the first time since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967. The Giants' Matt Williams, the Mariners' Ken Griffey, Jr., Houston's own Jeff Bagwell, along with Thomas and Belle, were all challenging Roger Maris's single-season home run record of 61 set in 1961. Tony Gwynn of the Padres had a shot at a .400 batting average with his .394 mark. William German LEFT: The Astros winningseason came loan end all too early for the fans. RKJHT: Jeff Bagwell, 1994 National League MVP, spent his early vacation time signing autographs while players fought against salary caps. Photo by Arthur Hermiz Houstonian 1995 2 8 The Issues 29