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BOWIE STOPS CHARLIE'S CHECKS
Ron Fimrite
June 28, 1976
Acting with uncharacteristic decisiveness, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn voided Charlie Finley's $3.5 million sale of three Oakland A's stars and so threw the world of baseball into tendentious turmoil
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June 28, 1976

Bowie Stops Charlie's Checks

Acting with uncharacteristic decisiveness, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn voided Charlie Finley's $3.5 million sale of three Oakland A's stars and so threw the world of baseball into tendentious turmoil

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Whatever the courtroom ramifications, Kuhn's unprecedented decision raises more questions than it answers. What, for example, if one of the rich teams should buy up significant numbers of the 58 players who will become free agents at the end of this season? Will he invoke the same powers?

One fact is clear: Kuhn is putting his job and his reputation on the line, an uncharacteristically courageous act. If he wins, he will have won powers previously wielded only by Landis. If Finley should defeat him in court, he will be left with even less authority than he now enjoys, which is not much.

The biggest question of all, though, is what the owners and players will do about grinding out some modification of the reserve system to avoid future dilemmas of this sort. It does seem apparent now that the owners have been wrong about one thing: their real enemies in an open market will not be the venal players. No, the enemy is within, and it is just possible that one of their more enlightened number will paraphrase the Bard and advise his embattled commissioner, "The fault, dear Bowie, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."

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