Dec. 23.10: On this Date ….

It would have happened eventually, but on this day in 1975 arbitrator Peter Seitz announced a landmark decision in favor of the Players’ Association. The decision made Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally free agents. Baseball, as we knew it, would never be the same.

Seitz was immediately fired by John Gaherin‚ chairman of the owners’ Player Relations Committee.

So, I guess you can thank Seitz for all the Jason Bay stuff.

When people discuss the economics of baseball, free agency immediately comes to mind, but what really spikes the salaries and movement is the arbitration system, which is totally out of whack. Free agency at least allows for negotiation, but arbitration is an either-or proposition.

There are several things I would change about the current economic system, beginning with arbitration. I would give the arbitrator the leeway in determining a compromise figure. I’ve never been a fan of the idea of a salary cap. The luxury tax isn’t a deterrent to limiting the spending. But, if they are going to have a luxury tax, there should be some spending minimum for the hands-out teams (Kansas City, Pittsburgh).

2 thoughts on “Dec. 23.10: On this Date ….

  1. Two comments.

    1. Don’t piss off your boss. You get fired. How does Seitz getting fired affect the current arbiters?

    2. How did they come to this arrangement where both parties set a price and then someone chooses? I agree it is a strange practice. They also use the current compensation to help guide them. So if the Yanks/Boston or the Mets waay overpay a player then the likes of Arizona end up footing the bill when their players go to arbitration.

    Personally I am all for the player making whatever the owners want to throw at them. The owners cook the books anyway, but for the fan it seems that paying a player who is ‘not very good’ 3 or 4 million or even more because that is the going rate when there is 10% unemployment is a bit unfair.

  2. before free agency, I could buy a ticket, have a hot dog, a soda and an ice cream for under five bucks. Not saying the prices would still be like that now but for crying out loud now it costs double that for a beer.