[Baseball History] A View of Free Agency: 1954
Ford Fricks Asterisk : June 29, 2007 05:45 PM

I don't know who wrote this. Possibly Roger Kahn, but it's likely an uncredited member of the "Mutual Sports Staff". It comes from the 1954 edition of The Mutual Baseball Almanac, a book I picked up in a used book store for $7.50 about ten years ago.

From the section "A Concise History of Baseball":

During its life the reserve cause [sic] has been a popular target for abuse. It prevents a player from selling his services to the highest bidder, a privilege most Americans enjoy. It binds a player to an organization for as long as the organization wants him, and it does noy concern itself with the player's wants. But it is indispensable to modern baseball.

Suppose there were no reserve clause. The Cardinals' Stan Musial after winning a batting championship, could announce that he was open to offers. Allie Reynolds, after pitching the Yankees to a world championship, could do the same. So could young Harvey Kuenn of Detroit, using his 1953 rookie-of-the-year award as ammunition.

Each year would see a realignment of stars. The Yankees, with the most money, would never lose, and under the present system--despite present appearances--they will not win forever. Washington, a poorer club, would have to content itself with players the Yankees did not want. The judgment of scouts and the teaching talents of managers would mean nothing. Why, without the reserve clause, should another club develop a player for the rich Yankees to steal? The reserve clause does not challenge the Magna Carta as a concept of human freedom; it is a practical device. Baseball is game of practicalities.


Swampudlian : July 2, 2007 09:36 AM

As they probably still say in Montreal:

Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose (The more things change, the more they stay the same).

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