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How the Class Struggle Reached Left Field
Leonard Shecter
November 04, 1968
A specter was haunting big-league baseball, the specter of...no one was quite sure what. It sometimes acted like a union, but its solidarity, falling short of forever, lasted for one season
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November 04, 1968

How The Class Struggle Reached Left Field

A specter was haunting big-league baseball, the specter of...no one was quite sure what. It sometimes acted like a union, but its solidarity, falling short of forever, lasted for one season

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The National Leaguers pretended to make some concessions. One of them was that players could not be sold without permission. But all of that was soon forgotten. The only thing the players came away with was the end of the hated Classification Plan. The militant John Montgomery Ward the next season became manager for Brooklyn and somewhat conservative in his views about money for players. Later still he became a successful lawyer.

From time to time since then, union talk has been heard around the leagues. After World War II a lawyer named Robert Murphy almost succeeded in touching off a strike in Pittsburgh. The players came out of that abortive effort with a powerless players' association, a sort of company union, and a powerful pension plan. Now they are represented by Marvin J. Miller, the $55,000-a-year executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. Miller has already made a target of the reserve clause and the way players are sold like cattle, or is it Army mules? So here we go again.

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