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Our first look inside the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

This is Part 1 of a multi-part series on the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement

On November 22 of last year, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA did something that the NFL and the NBA could not: reached a new labor agreement without a work stoppage. For those that follow baseball’s labor history, it has become a miraculous run. By the time the current five-year Basic Agreement (read here) expires on December 1, 2016, it will have been 21 years of uninterrupted labor peace.

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As teams and players settle in arbitration or avoid it entirely, refresh your memory on how the process works.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audiencesend us your suggestion.

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The new CBA makes many changes, most of them positive, but small-market teams may find that it makes their chances of competing even slimmer.

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association unveiled the latest collective bargaining agreement yesterday afternoon, and it brings numerous changes, many of them major.

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With the announcement of the MLBPA head's timetable for retirement, it's important to recap the talent he's brought to his duties.

There are jobs that demand of the person filling them that they be able to forgo popularity to do them well. No one likes public defenders. No one likes tax auditors. And no one likes the men who have chosen to represent baseball players as if they were a group of laborers in an industry long dominated by a paternalistic management and covered by an unquestioning press largely bought and paid for by the same.

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January 31, 2005 12:00 am

The Arbitration Process

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Thomas Gorman

Over the next three weeks, hearings will be held to determine salaries for dozens of ballplayers. These hearings are the culmination of a process that begins in December, but has its roots in the early 1970s.

Salary arbitration had humble beginnings. The owners were exhausted by holdouts who refused to show up for spring training. The players were sick of having that refusal to play as their sole leverage in contract negotiations. With Flood v. Baseball failing to force a change in the reserve clause, arbitration seemed a reasonable solution.

Ed Fitzgerald, the Milwaukee Brewers Chairman and head of the owners' Player Relations Committee (PRC) in the early 1970s, embraced the idea as a way to neutralize the MLBPA's push for free agency. The Association's arguments against the owners would be weakened if the Lords showed a willingness to submit to binding and independent salary arbitration. Other owners, in particular the A's Charlie Finley and the Cardinals' Dick Meyer (who had experience with binding arbitration when he was labor chief of Anheuser-Busch), were suspicious, claiming that arbitration would drive salaries up. Which it would, compared to the status quo.

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December 9, 2003 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: The Rules Have Changed

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Joe Sheehan

Two years ago, I wrote a column that lambasted a couple of teams which had neglected to offer arbitration to their free agents: The decision to offer arbitration to a player eligible for free agency is one of the few bright-line tests of a baseball team's front-office acumen. The elements of the decision are fairly simple, yet nearly every year a handful of teams do things that border on the bizarre, that reflect a lack of preparation for the problem or a misunderstanding of the issues involved. My first reaction to the news that Vladimir Guerrero, Gary Sheffield, Greg Maddux and others hadn't been offered arbitration was pretty much in line with the above. It seemed silly to decline even the option to continue to negotiate, and to forfeit the valuable draft picks that you get if the player signs elsewhere, as most free agents of this quality do when faced with current teams who show little interest in having them return. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that the thought process from two years ago no longer applies.

As most of you know, I didn't write for Baseball Prospectus 2003. Having taken a year off, I apparently completely forgot what it was like to put together book chapters, and getting back on that horse has swallowed all my time since the postseason ended. Hopefully, you'll all enjoy the finished product, because a lot of work has gone into putting together our first book with a new publisher.

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June 3, 2003 12:00 am

The New CBA, Part I

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Doug Pappas

Doug Pappas starts his series on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement today with a look at Articles I-IV. Over the next few weeks he'll explore some of the key clauses in the CBA as well as some of the most important changes made in this latest edition.

The new collective bargaining agreement between the 30 clubs comprising Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association is the ninth in a series which began in 1968. Although the MLBPA was officially organized in 1956, it didn't function as a union for another decade, until Marvin Miller was hired to serve as its full-time executive director in 1966. Judge Robert Cannon, the players' advisor before Miller, got along so well with the owners that he was a serious candidate for Commissioner when Ford Frick retired. Under Cannon, the MLBPA was even funded by the owners, using money from the players' pension fund, in flagrant violation of federal labor law.

One of Miller's first tasks was to formalize the relationships between the owners and the MLBPA, and the terms and conditions of players' employment by the clubs, in a collective bargaining agreement. The first Basic Agreement, as MLB's CBAs have always been officially called, with its provisions retroactive to January 1. As a sign of where the parties stood before the first CBA, one of its provisions eliminated the $30 deposit on their uniforms the players had previously had to pay. Since then, all subsequent CBAs have built on the outline of this original document, rewriting articles to reflect new terms and adding new matters to the end of the document.

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April 25, 2003 12:00 am

Bye Bye, Bud?

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Doug Pappas

Yesterday, Commissioner Bud Selig announced his intention to retire when his current five-year term expires on December 31, 2006. I'll believe it when I see it. Selig claims never to have wanted the Commissionership. Less than a month after becoming Acting Commissioner on September 9, 1992--after leading the insurgency which forced his predecessor Fay Vincent to resign in midterm--Selig told Hal Bodley of USA Today that he planned to remain in office "two to four months." In December 1992, he assured Claire Smith of the New York Times that he had "zero interest in the job."

Selig claims never to have wanted the Commissionership. Less than a month after becoming Acting Commissioner on September 9, 1992--after leading the insurgency which forced his predecessor Fay Vincent to resign in midterm--Selig told Hal Bodley of USA Today that he planned to remain in office "two to four months." In December 1992, he assured Claire Smith of the New York Times that he had "zero interest in the job."

Another baseball insider was very interested in the job: the managing partner of the Texas Rangers, one George W. Bush. As Fay Vincent relates in his autobiography, Bush called him several months after his ouster to say, "Selig tells me that he would love to have me be commissioner and he tells me that he can deliver it." Vincent responded that he thought Selig wanted the job for himself. Months passed. Selig continued stringing Bush along--"he told me that I'm still his man but that it will take some time to work out." Finally Bush had to choose between running for Governor of Texas or waiting for Selig to deliver on his promise. As Vincent told the Miami Herald earlier this year, "If it hadn't have been for Bud Selig, George W. Bush wouldn't be President of the United States."

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August 26, 2002 10:01 am

The Daily Prospectus: Two Hours of Rambling

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Gary Huckabay

I recently sat down for lunch with a very old friend of mine with an affinity for baseball, finance, and philosophy. Lunch took about half an hour, and the ensuing conversation took about two hours. Since I've mentioned him before in this space, and he's fond of his privacy, we'll call him "Dave" for purposes of this column.

I recently sat down for lunch with a very old friend of mine with an affinity for baseball, finance, and philosophy. Lunch took about half an hour, and the ensuing conversation took about two hours. Since I've mentioned him before in this space, and he's fond of his privacy, we'll call him "Dave" for purposes of this column. (Approximately 70% of the guys I speak with on a regular basis are named Keith, Chris, Michael, or Dave. A much lower percentage is named Rany.)

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Obviously, this is paraphrased, but has been run by Dave to make sure everything's on the up and up as far as he's concerned. I hope you enjoy this edited transcript as much I as enjoyed the conversation. It's long, and it's rambling, so perhaps you should check it out in small bites.

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In 1994, I never did believe there was going to be a strike. I was wrong, of course, and in the process of being wrong learned a lot about labor relations, economics, and how those things apply to baseball.

In 1994, I never did believe there was going to be a strike. It was inconceivable to me that such an amazing season could be interrupted, or that the World Series could go unplayed. That was the kind of thing that happened in the formative days of baseball, certainly not something to worry about in the latter part of the 20th century.

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I was wrong, of course, and in the process of being wrong learned a lot about labor relations, economics, and how those things apply to baseball.

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