By In Baseball, History

The Koufax-Drysdale Gambit

From NBC SportsWorld

Fifty years ago, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale tried to take on the system.  They failed miserably.

Then and Now

Print Friendly

54 Responses to The Koufax-Drysdale Gambit

  1. Karyn says:

    I will never understand how fans can be on the side of the owners in contract fights–at least, the ones that are strictly over money.

    • invitro says:

      Most fans envy the players much, much more than the owners, and so, if they don’t think about it too hard, think the players have a much better life than the owners. Or fans think something like, well the players get to be BASEBALL PLAYERS, so it’s ridiculous that a person lucky enough to be a baseball player would care so much about money.

    • Kendell says:

      It’s actually easy to understand why fans take the side against the players. When you are a kid playing little league baseball you are dreaming of being a major league baseball player, not an owner. So fans look at players and are a bit jealous that they are getting paid to play a game. Then when a player, who is already making a lot more than the average fan, hold out for more money it naturally creates a reaction against the player. Then compound that with the fact that the player holding out is hurting the fan’s favorite team by not being there on the team. The average fan doesn’t see it as a labor issue or a boss vs. employee issue.

      • Karyn says:

        The problem with that reasoning is that fans don’t say, “Hey, OwnerMan, pay our guy! You’re hurting out team by not paying him what he’s worth.”

        What the players ask for is pocket change to a lot of the owners. It ain’t my money paying Greg Maddux’s salary; cough it up, Ted.

      • Brett Alan says:

        You hit on another reason in there…the notion that the players are getting paid “to play a game”. When you put it that way, well, sure, wouldn’t we all go play baseball for free? But, of course, the players aren’t really being paid for playing–certainly not ONLY for that. They’re being paid to work out and practice countless hours, during the off-season, spring training, and the season as well. They’re being paid to travel everywhere the team goes. They’re being paid to observe the teams’ rules, speak to the media, and fulfill whatever other functions the teams has for them. They’re being paid for the tremendous toll all of this takes on their bodies. How many of us would do all of THAT for free?

        It reminds me, to an extent, of people who complain about teachers’ salaries by saying that teachers only work until 3PM and only work 180 days a year, as if the teacher’s job ended the moment the kids left the classroom, which of course is ridiculous.

        At the same time, I think if we just had regular newspaper articles noting the amount of money each owner makes, that would change a lot of the perception, too.

        • invitro says:

          I wouldn’t do all THAT for free, because I’d be homeless and wouldn’t have any clothes. But I’d do it for, say, $50,000 a year or whatever it takes to get a cheap apartment in a major league city. I think millions of other people would, too.

          • Karyn says:

            Maybe–but no one would pay you or me to do it, because we don’t have the specialized skills required to play major league baseball. It’s not all the extra stuff that rates the big paychecks; it’s the rare combination of a particular skill set, the will to develop those skills, and the opportunity to play baseball in a setting that values the first two factors.

            A lot of people who complain about athletes’ salaries never say a peep about how much money actors and pop stars make.

          • Marc Schneider says:

            REally-$50,000 a year? That would make you barely above the poverty line. That’s absurd. That’s the kind of thinking that gives the owners power. Playing baseball is a job like any other and the fact that you think it would be a cool job doesn’t mean players should just play for peanuts. If you are willing to do that, knowing how much money the owners make, you are nuts.

          • invitro says:

            Karyn: I know no one would pay me to do it. I didn’t say they would. I was merely answering Brett’s question. I do not for a second doubt that MLB players merit their pay.

            Marc: Calling me “nuts” for my simple post means you are a jackass. Also is claiming that I think players should pay for peanuts — I said nothing of the sort. And $50,000 is barely above the poverty line? I currently make well less than half that for full-time work.

          • Ben Johnson says:

            The Federal Poverty line for a single person is 11K. Even with a family of eight, 50K is solidly above the poverty line.

          • Foobs says:

            You would also spend much of the year – or at least the summer months – away from your friends, family and everything familiar. Even when you got to see your loved ones, you would have very little privacy any time you were out in public with them (you’d either be constantly interrupted by autograph-seekers or harangued by people criticizing you).

            If you weren’t among the very best in the world, you’d get demoted and make far less than $50,000 and would spend a sizable chunk of your life riding buses. Your odds of doing so would be far, FAR greater than getting your $50,000 dream job. And even if you were among the best, you’d be lucky to remain healthy and good enough to get 15 years out of this career.

            Oh, and you have to start this career at a time in your life where you have few other skills (either educational if you get drafted out of high school or life skills if you managed to get some college in before being drafted) because you’ve devoted most of your life to this endeavour.

            It’s romantic to think of the cheering crowds and adulation, and of playing a sport you love for a living, but if I had the talent to play in the majors, I think I’d be going for top dollar, too. After all, I’d essentially be giving up my life to do so.

    • Dan says:

      It’s because we’re cheering for laundry. Buddy wants an extra couple million or he’ll wear someone else’s laundry next year? Doesn’t have any loyalty to our laundry? Well, buddy, we’ll miss ya.

    • MikeN says:

      Karyn, it is because they want to watch the games. Check out Bill Simmons’s writings during the writers strike and the NBA lockouts. He takes the players’ side, writing in great detail justifying the ‘slavery’ comment and so on. Then as soon as games are missed, he is complaining about the players not making a deal.

  2. Davan Mani says:

    It wasn’t money but free agency and they based on their precedent in DeHaviland Law named after Olivia DeHaviland who sued Warner Brothers for not letting her seek employment elsewhere after her 7 year contract . Warner Brothers used suspensions, holidays, and renewals to keep her under contract despite the contract being outdated. The courts favored Olivia who is still living.

  3. It’s interesting historically to ponder that Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., is still considered one of the greatest Supreme Court justices when he wrote opinions upholding both baseball’s anti-trust exemption and forced sterilization. But I’m a history professor, so I should ponder these things.

    Trivially speaking, in 1952, Red Barber did the World Series on NBC with Mel Allen. Gillette called and told him he was chosen to do it, and he was paid $200 a game, which might have been good, but, the next year, he refused unless he could negotiate as he did for any other job he took. When told to take or leave it, he left it, and his protege, Young Scully, got to do the series. First, Vin wouldn’t say yes until he had called Red and asked if he was ok. Red said later he could have wept for joy and then said, of course you should do it. Second, Jim Woods, who later worked with Red, said that if Larry MacPhail or Branch Rickey had still been running the Dodgers, Red might actually have pulled it off, but Walter O’Malley had no use for him. Think of it: nobody tuned into the World Series to watch the owners, and the announcers were the conduits. Lots of people suffered because of the owners, and their actions always remind me of the line by Edward Bennett Williams, who had the Orioles and the Washington football team: the dumbest NFL team owner is smarter than the smartest MLB team owner.

    OK, enough digressing. All you need to know about their value to the Dodgers is that they barely made it to the series in 1966 with Drysdale having an off-year, and Big D struggled a bit the next year while Koufax was gone, and the Dodgers dropped to 8th place (Maury Wills had been traded too–on O’Malley’s orders). As for O’Malley, we tend to overstate just how easy he had it in LA (read even critical biographies of him–yes, he got some great deals, but he also had to struggle with a lot of issues), but he supposedly told Buzzie Bavasi to give Big D 100k, and then Buzzie added 10k. After the season, Buzzie asked about a bonus and O’Malley told him he had given his bonus for that year to Drysdale. Ed Bennett Williams had a point.

  4. Johnny B says:

    I don’t fault ballplayers for getting paid well, they are skilled entertainers and Americans love their entertainment. But from my selfish point of view, in the 60s my working-class dad could take us to Yankee Stadium or Shea, buy us peanuts & Cracker Jack, etc. Today, as a grown-ass blue-collar guy in Boston, I can’t afford Fenway Park. I can no longer see the Red Sox on TV either without paying a hefty fee.

    So baseball has priced out many working folk. I miss seeing the games, but I do have other interests. I still follow the game through the boxscores. The $200mil payroll isn’t coming out of John Henry’s pocket.

    • Jaunty Rockefeller says:

      Ticket prices are a function of the demand for tickets, and don’t reflect player salaries, which are a fixed cost for the team. To the extent there’s a relationship, it’s indirect—e.g., teams try to generate demand through high-profile signings. Think of it this way—the Red Sox payroll fluctuated by up to $20m over the past decade, yet Fenway enjoyed a long sell-out streak. Do you think Henry lowered ticket prices?

      • Mac P says:

        I agree that direct ticket prices are a function of demand. However, the indirect cost to watch on TV/internet (which is what the priced-out fans are left with) is not so obvious. To the typical non-economist fan, it isn’t apparent that the cost of sports is borne by hidden things like the increased cost in cable TV and the increased cost of goods due to advertising. I’m also not a sports economist, so I cannot quantify this, but as the commenter above noted, John Henry isn’t ultimately paying for this; neither is ESPN. Ultimately, John Public pays. (The rebuttal to this is that John Public still has a net constant outlay of entertainment dollars, so the ultimate loser / payer is something else (local entertainment or whatever).)

        My econ101 tells me that wage increases are most directly attributable to inflation and to increased productivity. Joe P notes how baseball salaries have far outstripped inflation in the last 30-40 years. To the extent that John Public sees this and notes how his own salary barely matches inflation, his ire is likely to rise.
        The second basic component, increased productivity, is hard to quantity, and hard to attribute solely to players. In the aggregate, players are not generating significant additional entertainment, relative to 40 years ago–they still play 162 games per year, nine innings per game. The public probably does have marginal increased entertainment, due to additional exposure via distribution outlets (TV, internet, etc.) But that is arguably due to diversified investment from owners, media companies, the public (stadiums, internet infrastructure, etc.)
        And yet the wage increases persist, perhaps because this particular market is inefficient and only semi-regulated.
        As for me, I rarely attend games, because my direct benefit no longer matches the cost of attendance. That is a function of me, the parties in the game (owners, AGENTS, players), and the market’s demand.

        • Marc Schneider says:

          I agree with you that sports are an inefficient market, largely because it’s monopolistic. Owners can largely charge what they want because they have real competition. In theory, as you did, people can choose to not go to games but, obviously, most sports fans do not choose to do so. And there aren’t alternative sports options; if you live in Boston, you can’t really choose to go to games in Cleveland. And, even where there are two teams in the same city, I doubt that a Mets fan would go to a Yankee game based on the price of the ticket. As a result, the owners can pretty much charge what they want. Complaining about the players’ salaries leading to high ticket prices that price working class people out-even if it was true-is akin to complaining about doctors making too much money being the reason for higher health care costs. At some point, people with a scarce skill that is in high demand have to be compensated-unless, of course, you can artificially hold down those costs through things like the reserve clause. The higher salaries are simply a cost of doing business. Plus, I suspect there is an income effect; for the most part, society has more money than it did during the 1960s so there is more demand for sports. But this demand, I think,is stimulated largely from professionals and people with higher incomes. Unfortunately, as we know, the incomes of working class people have stagnated so they are the ones that get pushed out.

  5. murr2825 says:

    Ball Four, the groundbreaking 1970 day-to-day diary of the 1970 baseball season by Jim Bouton, is not only a hell of a lot of fun but an illuminating treatise on the reserve clause. Bouton clearly and fairly lays out how it worked and how it not only held down salaries but left a player helpless to determine where he wanted to work .

    Bouton’s detailing of his dealings with Dan Topping of the Yanks are funny, infuriating and eye-opening. Any baseball fan who hasn’t read Ball Four ought to make a point of it now.

  6. jalabar says:

    “for each of the next seven years he will get paid roughly 30 times more than Koufax made in 1966.”

    Maths is hard.

    $120,000 x 30 = $3,600,000

    In reality, for each of the next seven years, Price will be paid in excess of 250 times what Koufax made in 1966.

    $120,000 x 250 = $30,000,000

  7. buddaley says:

    I think another factor in the general trend of fans siding with owners against players is the impact of authority. For many people, owners are the entrepreneurs who risk their money to build empires and deserve whatever they get. Ball players are paid labor who should be grateful the owners created the opportunity for them to work and get paid, and so should accept their authority-their right to rule.

    When I discuss issues with my friends, I find they usually are outraged over efforts to undermine authority or at what is perceived as disrespect for those in power. Student demonstrations, for example, raise hackles that the inmates have taken over the asylum. The legitimacy of the issues are either ignored or are demeaned as insufficient to allow for rude behavior. There is a sense among many that people should “know their place”. I think the anti-union movement in this country is of a piece with that sort of thinking.

    • Karyn says:

      I agree with this, and it’s part of the current anti-union thinking. One of the safest things to own is a major league sports franchise; there’s next to no risk. The value increases dramatically, and unless you’re a complete disaster as an owner, you will continue to make money. And if you ARE a complete disaster, the league will buy you out or force a sale–with a hefty sum of money coming your way. No risk.

      That’s what really burns me about the CBA that I think the NFL has. If the cost of doing business goes up, part of that burden is shifted onto the players. Part of the deal with capitalism is that the owners of capital bear risk–that’s what entitles them to rents. If there is no risk, then the only reason they get to make money hand over fist is because they already have money. The system is rigged in favor of the wealthy, it’s written right there into the CBA in black and white, and fans think that’s just fine.

      • invitro says:

        I’m not familiar with the NFL’s CBA, or really with the NFL in general, but I think whatever it says is pretty much just fine, because it’s the players’ responsibility to do something about it if they don’t like it. Unless there’s something anti-constitutional going on, which I think MLB’s antitrust exemption was.

        • Marc Schneider says:

          The constitution only applies to actions by the government. The anti-trust laws are simply legislation; there is nothing in the constitution that prohibits restraints of trade; it’s simply legislation. So, to say the antitrust exemption is unconstitutional is silly; however, if you mean it’s it violates the “spirit” of the constitution, I suppose you might have a point But every time I hear someone say that the player draft or something like that is unconstitutional, as a laywer, it drives me up the wall because it shows a total lack of what the constitution involves.

      • Marc Schneider says:

        I agree with you with a slight modification. If the owners are bearing risks and making profit appropriate to their risk that’s not a “rent.” An economic rent is profit above what a competitive market will produce that is caused by a business taking advantage of a distortion of the market, e.g. a monopoly resulting not from making a better product. (I’m not an economist so my understanding/explanation is not the best but I do work with economists.) So, Apple wasn’t rent taking with the I-Pad, for example. In your example, though, I agree that, especially NFL owners are obtaining rents because (1) they are effectively monopolists; and (2) they are taking advantage of the relative weakness of the football players union to retain the excess value of the players’ production. The market is distorted by the lack of competition and the inability of the players to bargain effectively.

        As far as fans thinking it’s fine, I’m not sure what fans are supposed to do about it other than refuse to go to games. The players agreed to this. I don’t think it’s fine but I’m not going to stop watching games. Plus, while I agree that the players are overpaid relative to the value they produce, they still do make, in absolute terms, a lot of money. Relative exploitation is still different than absolute exploitation. i’m not going to cry because, say, Tom Brady might not make as much as he should. But I am upset over the fact that NFL contracts are not guaranteed so that players at the lower end of the scale get screwed over.

    • invitro says:

      I think that’s a lot of hooey. In particular, to the very limited extent that I’m anti-union, it’s because (a) unions are allowed to take money out of employees’ paychecks, whether those employees are members of the union or not, in many states, (b) unions order employees who they must vote for, and in general what their political opinions must be, which is fascism, and (c) unions have a long history of violent criminal activity, often associated with the mob or with gangs, and general thuggery.

      I’m only opposed to a limited extent because I don’t think those problems are nearly as bad as they were for most of the 20th century, when unions were often outright evil. (I don’t think the MLB union had much of the evilness, other than a few cases of players who refused to back the union being somewhat ostracized… that’s my recollection, anyway.)

      If unions didn’t have the three elements above, I would think they are noble things, and a necessary part of capitalism. Probably.

      • buddaley says:

        The logic of non-union members paying dues is that any benefits the union negotiates applies to everyone whether a member of the union or not. If it were possible to disentangle benefits so non-union members could not share in them, there might be some argument for allowing them to opt out of dues, but as it is, they are part of a community that benefits much as people without children pay school taxes because the benefits of universal education accrues to them as well, even if not in the same direct way. Those who do not wish to join unions cannot be required to pay any further moneys or to participate in any activity they wish not to.

        The union does not and cannot order people to vote a particular way. Certainly unions will support candidates and offer advice on the matter, but while there is of course corruption and likely intimidation in some cases-as happens in all large-scale organizations-in most cases there is lively debate and discussion about such issues, and a spectrum of views, not some top down decree.

        Union criminal activity is no more common, violent or vicious than that of big business, and often was in response to aggressive and violent behavior by corporations. Yes, it did exist and was a blot on labor history, but its existence was wildly exaggerated to arouse public opinion against unions and was almost certainly far less egregious than the activities of the moguls who often resorted to every manner of intimidation and force, including murder, to destroy worker’s efforts to improve their lot.

        There are many alternate versions of the history of labor-management disputes, but the one that paints a picture of noble and heroic behavior and sacrifice by labor is as inspiring as any picture of brilliant entrepreneurs. Essentially, their existence represents the very essence of our constitutional system-that is the balancing of powers so no entity can overwhelm the others. I know there are arguments that the situation became too unbalanced in labor’s favor at one point-a view I heartily disagree with although I recognize there are reasonable arguments for some version of that view-but without strong unions wage-earners are helpless. That is fascism, not what you claim it to be.

        • Karyn says:

          This. Anyone complaining about unions having a history of violence ought to look into the history of owners hiring Pinkerton agents and regular law enforcement to beat, kill, and destroy union members.

          Without labor unions, there is very little stopping owners from treating their workers however they want. The only strength of the worker is strength in numbers.

          • invitro says:

            Karyn: There are thousands of federal laws stopping owners from treating workers however they want. If you don’t know that, you need to look into Reality 101.
            I did not claim “owners” were innocent. Please practice reading comprehension.

        • Marc Schneider says:

          I agree on all your points. When I was in college, I had a job at the phone company (when it was still a Ma Bell monopoly). I had a choice of whether or not to join the CWA, but I was going to get the benefits of the union contract whether or not I joined. I didn’t think that was fair, so I joined. Unions have historically certainly have had their dark sides, such as racism, and corruption, but I have never heard of unions forcing people to vote for a particular candidate and I don’t know how they could. Unions might well have gotten too strong at some points, particularly in England, but what we have today is certainly worse. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we have increasing inequality at the same time as unionism is in decline.

        • invitro says:

          Violence is evil no matter who does it. If people in corporations commit or support violence, they’re also evil. Union thugs aren’t non-evil, let alone heroes, just because corporations are aggressive or even violent. And if you support them, you’re evil too.
          Unions are not part of the government. Your comparison to school taxes is a classic false equivalence.
          I was and am a wage-earner, have never been a union member, and have never been helpless. Your claim that I am is bullsh1t.

          • buddaley says:

            I think in this case you have the reading comprehension issue. I did not in any way condone union violence; indeed I specifically called it a blot on their records. The point about being heroic was a separate point noting that a great deal of feeling about unions has to do with competing narratives. I don’t want to elaborate further as that would require a entire course in World History. But to castigate labor for thuggery while seeming less concerned about such practices by business, often with the complicity of government, and not recognizing that at least in some cases the violence was defensive on the part of workers who were under attack seems to me unbalanced.

            As for the false equivalence, again that was not my point. Rather I am pointing out that the principle is the same-that if you automatically benefit from the actions of a group, you owe it something. In the case of unions, you need not join or participate in any way, nor do you have to pay for any additional activities the union undertakes, but since your salary, benefits and perks are negotiated, the union can require you to pay dues so they may continue to operate.

            Some small cabal of workers cannot simply declare themselves a union. There is a legal procedure for unions to be legitimized, a procedure that requires the support of a specific % of the workers involved. If that criteria is met, as in any democratic institution, whether you agree with the winning side or not, so long as they do not violate other laws, you are required to abide by that decision and accept the terms they negotiate, terms that should improve your lot.

            As for you not being helpless, that is not the point at all. History is rife with people who considered themselves in full control of their work lives-or who did not resent that they were not. Many slaves were satisfied with their condition. Many ball players considered themselves lucky to get paid anything to play and had no problem with the reserve clause. Many women resented efforts to gain them the vote. Many Jews preferred ghetto existence to being accepted into the larger society.

            You may indeed have been fortunate to have bosses you enjoyed working for. Perhaps your excellent work received its due reward. Perhaps you enjoyed quality relationships with those who paid your salary. None of that is relevant. In the history of labor relations, unorganized workers had no way to meet the power of business until they formed associations and got concessions from a reluctant government such as required collective bargaining. One tactic of bosses to stymie unionization was to divide workers by favoring certain ones. That hardly meant that in general workers were not helpless. Without the ability to negotiate-rather than to receive those benefits as a favor, they were helpless.

      • zeke bob says:

        I have mixed views on unions (and corporations, for the record, I think they both need significant reforms), both historically and modern, but this is an interesting article which I’ve kept for reference which I encourage everyone to read:

        A snippet:
        “Thanks to the new Comcast tower, Philadelphia would boast the country’s tallest “green” building: 58 floors of ecological friendliness. The designers found special glass, special paint, special toilets and special carpet that would earn the building an official seal from the U.S. Green Building Council: a prestigious and forward-thinking achievement for the City of Philadelphia.

        But about those special toilets.

        They’re flushless urinals that require no water; gravity does the work, pulling the waste through a filter and then down a pipe and into the sewage system. It’s clean and efficient, and in the Comcast building alone, it would save the city 1.6 million gallons of water each year.

        Not so fast, the city’s plumbers union said. Less water means fewer pipes. Fewer pipes mean less work. And so the union blocked the job, threatening the completion of the building, and in turn delaying all the business that would happen inside it.


        Knowing the power of the trade unions, the developers of the “green” Comcast tower had little option but to strike an absurd deal: The Comcast tower got its new toilets. But only because it also got a full set of old-fashioned pipes, installed by union plumbers. The pipes run throughout all 58 floors, just like in any other skyscraper.

        Except in the Comcast tower, they’re not connected to anything.”

  8. Johnny B says:

    I would be curious as to what the Yanks or Sox ownership ends up with after all is said and done. And how a $200m payroll works into it. Many here seem to know more about the economics of it all, but I can’t imagine that payroll isn’t a huge percentage of doing business in baseball.

  9. John Leavy says:

    Obviously, it’s silly for a fan to hate a player for abandoning his team to get more money elsewhere. But it was just as silly for that fan to love the player in the first place.

    Players don’t know us, and don’t care whether we live or die. There’s no reason you should cheer them when they make a nice play (do you give your barber a standing O when he gives you a good haircut?). There’s no reason you should ask for his autograph (do you ask for your favorite Saturday’s autograph?). There’s no reason you should be happy when your team wins or sad when they lose. They’re strangers to you, and they’re just doing a job.

    If you’re over 12 years old and still have an emotional bond to athletes, STOP! They sure don’t love you.

    If you have fun when you go to a ballgame, great. Just stop making emotional investments in mercenaries who have no similar loyalty to you.

    • Marc Schneider says:

      I agree and that’s the whole idea of rooting for the laundry. I always find it strange that people will love, say, Cal Ripken, and act as if they know his character. This is not an attack on Cal Ripken; he seems to be a good person. But how do we know? He was a good player.

      But having an attachment to players is different than having an attachment to a team. The emotional attachment to the team is part of what makes sports fun. It’s like going to a movie. You know the story is made up but you can still be emotionally attached to it. If you aren’t, what’s the point of watching?

  10. Paul M says:

    Off topic for this thread, but it looks like Joe can just repost his article about how math works from last year. No one gets into the HoF again out of the vet’s committee…

  11. dlf9 says:

    One interesting tidbit … or at least interesting to me … is that the joint hold-out for Koufax and Drysdale lead directly to inclusion of an anti-collusion provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreements between MLB and MLBPA. This is what ultimately resulted in the $280,000,000 award to the players following Collusion I under Ueberoth (plus more in Collusion II and III).

  12. Marc Schneider says:

    What I don’t understand is how, in a country that is supposedly so committed to capitalism and the free market, people can complain about players benefitting from the free market. I agree with several of the comments that fans think the owners are entrepreneurs and should benefit from their “risk-taking” but, still it seems absurd. The fact is, the market does not necessarily lead to socially beneficial distribution of resources, which is why players can make so much (and owners even more) and police and teachers so little. It’s supply and demand, but supply and demand ignores externalities that distort the market. So, people complain about players making too much relative to teachers, but they don’t worry about Wall Street traders running the economy into the ground to make their incredible bonuses. But that’s because they aren’t taking the games away. And the odd thing is, although I can’t prove it, is that I would wager that the people most upset about how much players make are likely the most conservative who would otherwise defend businesses making everything they can.

    • NevadaMark says:

      Excellent point, Marc. Back in the 70s some agent was asked about how teachers could not be paid as much as athletes. His reply: “When a teacher can sell out the Astrodome, she’ll make the bucks.”

      • invitro says:

        That’s not the reason. The reason is that almost anyone can do the job a teacher can do. “Education” is by far the easiest major in college (if you can handle the politics, that is).

        • Cheesehead Cardinal fan says:

          Not going to argue the easy major. Almost anyone could probably qualify to become a teacher. After teaching for 26 years, though, I can assure you teaching is not something almost anyone can do, at least not as well as our students deserve. As for the money athletes make, whenever one of our local stars leaves for greener pastures and my students complain, I admit that if a rival district offered to pay me several million dollars more a year to teach there, I would pack my bags and move too.

  13. NevadaMark says:

    So Koufax wanted a three year contract? If it actually had happened, would Koufax have still retired after the 66 season?

  14. John Leavy says:

    The assumption here is that fans are meanies who irrationally resent successful athletes. Nonsense! The opposite is the case. Fans irrationally LOVE athletes, and (wrongly) feel as if they have a bond with these athletes. Fans in St. Louis felt as if Stan Musial was part of their family. Yankee fans felt that way about Yogi Berra, and Cub fans about Ernie Banks.

    Now, obviously, those fans were delusional. Stan, Yogi and Ernie were nice men by all accounts, but they weren’t part of any fan’s family, and they didn’t (COULDN’T) love the fans the same way fans loved them. They were guys doing a job, nothing more. And they felt absolutely no loyalty to fans who embraced them.

    Again, that doesn’t make them bad people. I’ve left jobs to get more money elsewhere, and nobody minded. But the difference is, NOBODY at my workplace ever imagined I was like family or that we had such a special bond I’d never leave.That would have been silly, right?

    But fans ARE silly. They form emotional bonds with strangers and somehow imagine those strangers feel the same way about them. But the truth is, .Stan Musial, Yogi Berra and Ernie Banks didn’t stay in one city their whole careers by choice. They stayed because the rules didn’t allow them to seek more money elsewhere. They WOULD have abandoned their loving fans for bigger contracts if they could have.

    Same with Sandy Koufax. Fans in LA adored him, and imagined he adored them back. They didn’t resent him making money, they resented him for reminding them that he WASN’T family, he was just a mercenary.

    Many fans today still hold a stupid affection for athletes who can’t possibly love them back. But many others have learned their lesson the hard way, and KNOW athletes are nothing more than hired guns. The good news for David Price is that he’s a very rich man. The bad news is that the millions of fans who KNOW he’s nothing more than a hired gun will not have any patience when he goes through tough times. Kids in Tampa once would have cheered him on when he went through a slump.When he has a slump in Boston, fans will yell, “You suck! We’re paying you 215 million, and you SUUUUCK!”

    Their anger will be stupid and misplaced. But the love he once received was stupid and misplaced, too.

    • invitro says:

      Good stuff. Any adult who idolizes a man for being good at sports needs to freakin’ grow up.

    • Marc Schneider says:

      Great comment.

    • NevadaMark says:

      I agree with every word in your post, HOWEVER, without said attachment, what’s the point of rooting for your team? The link you mention is indeed completely irrational, but without it, there is no professional sports.

      • John Leavy says:

        There isn’t any point. That’s what I’m getting at.

        Look, I was an irrational kid once. I loved Ron Guidry and Don Mattingly once. Did they deserve that love? How would I know? But I understand now that I meant nothing to them, and there’s no good reason they should mean anything to me.

  15. Peter Harris says:

    Curt Flood payed a heavy price for his bravery. And to gauge just how long the rich hold a grudge, Miller is still not in the hall of fame.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *