2011-05-04 / Front Page

MLB Reaches Decision On Players Comp

In the wake of the recent joint announcement by both Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) that inactive, non-vested men who played between 1947 and 1979 will receive up to $10,000 per year, depending on their length of service credit, as compensation for their contributions to the national pastime, Douglas J. Gladstone, the author of the controversial book, A Bitter Cup of Coffee: How MLB and The Players Association Threw 874 Retirees A Curve, called the agreement only a partial victory.
“We don’t live in a perfect world, and this is far from a perfect solution to this problem,” Gladstone, who is widely credited with spurring the league and union into action, said. “What was announced on April 21, 2011 doesn’t provide health insurance coverage, nor will any player’s spouse or loved one receive a designated beneficiary payment after the man passes. So in my estimation, this is only a partial victory.
“I am, however, elated that these men are at long last finally going to receive some type of payment for their time in the game,” Gladstone continued. “This was a wrong that should have been righted years ago.”
A Bitter Cup of Coffee tells the true story about a group of former big-league ballplayers denied pensions as a result of the failure of both the league and the union to retroactively amend the vesting requirement change that granted instant pension eligibility to ballplayers in 1980. Prior to that year, ballplayers had to have four years’ service credit to earn an annuity and medical benefits. Since 1980, however, all you have needed is one day of service credit for health insurance and 43 days of service credit for a pension.
Many of the former ballplayers affected by this situation are household names, including Pat Darcy, the Cincinnati Red hurler who gave up Carlton Fisk’s dramatic game-winning homer in Game six of the 1975 World Series and former Chicago Cub Jimmy Qualls, who memorably broke up Tom Seaver’s bid for a perfect game on July 9, 1969.
“I’ve said on numerous occasions that this whole disgraceful chapter in labor relations was a terrible inequity and injustice that stained baseball’s history,” Gladstone said, whose book features a foreword written by the Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist, Dave Marash. “The announcement is a step in the right direction, and I hope that both the league and the union will ultimately restore these men into pension coverage.”
Gladstone served as the governmental and public relations director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce in the early 1990s, and was also on the Executive Board of the Queens chapter of the American Cancer Society. A Bitter Cup of Coffee, released in April 2010, was his first book.


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