SI Vault
Peter Gammons
April 06, 1987
While Roger Clemens takes a stand not far from the Alamo, we give you 10 of baseball history's best holdouts:
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
April 06, 1987

Ballpark Figures

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

While Roger Clemens takes a stand not far from the Alamo, we give you 10 of baseball history's best holdouts:

Mike Hines is considered the first. A mediocre catcher for the Boston Red Stockings, he sat out 1886 and 1887 rather than play for the Providence Grays. He returned to Boston in 1888 to hit .125.

Amos Rusie, who had averaged 30 wins a year over six seasons for the New York Giants, refused to pitch in 1896 because of a $200 fine owner Andrew Freedman levied for contrived reasons. Rusie returned, in 1897, only after the other National League owners chipped in to pay his 1896 salary.

Turkey Mike Donlin, who was the Babe Ruth of his day, literally staged two holdouts (1906-07, '09-10), forsaking the New York Giants for vaudeville.

Babe Ruth, the Turkey Mike Donlin of his day, held out in 1918 and 1930. Ruth was demanding a $100,000 salary in '30 but settled for $80,000 on the eve of the season. Asked how he could justify making more than President Hoover, Ruth gave his now famous reply: "I had a better year than he did."

Edd Roush sat out the entire 1930 season rather than play for the New York Giants' manager, John McGraw. Roush resumed his career with his beloved Reds the next year.

Joe DiMaggio, coming off a near Triple Crown season in 1937, asked the Yankees for $40,000, $4,000 more than Lou Gehrig's wage. The 23-year-old DiMaggio settled a week into the season for $25,000.

Sandy Koufax joined with Don Drysdale as a holdout entry against the Dodgers in 1966. They threatened to become actors but came to terms just before the season started.

Curt Flood, angered at being traded from St. Louis to Philadelphia, unsuccessfully brought suit against baseball's reserve clause in 1970. While awaiting the outcome, Flood caroused in Copenhagen.

Vida Blue, coming off a Cy Young Award in 1971, sat out the first three weeks of '72, working for Dura Steel Products rather than for A's owner Charlie Finley. Blue returned and went 6-10.

Continue Story
1 2