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Original Issue

JIMMY JEMAIL'S HOT BOX Once upon a Time...

This SI reprint from 1957 recalls the simpler days when only the ump called strikes

THE QUESTION: Would a union be good or bad for baseball?

Williamsport, Pa.
Little Leagues
Bad, because baseball is a sporting profession. As Phil Wrigley once said, "Baseball is too much of a sport to be a business and too much of a business to be a sport." A union for ballplayers would make baseball 100% commercial and would probably end up taking the sport out of it.

President, International League
I think a union would be bad for the players. There is so great a difference in pay and ability that it would be impossible to set up salary rules that would benefit all. Right now ballplayers are getting more pay and benefits than any union in the world could possibly get for them.

Detroit Tigers
Very bad. There are just not enough major problems that cannot be settled through our player representatives. I know. I served on this committee. Even the minor league problems can be settled without a union because the major league teams must have strong farm systems to exist.

Washington, D.C.
Chief of U. S. Secret Service
A players' union could get some general benefits for all players, but it would be beneficial only if management were free to run the teams without player interference. Anything like a shop steward giving an ultimatum to the manager of a team would destroy the game of baseball.

Chicago White Sox
Second baseman
A union would be bad for most of us. I don't I see how conditions can be improved. We'll get good pensions at 50. Is that bad? Few persons can retire that early. You hear a lot of talk about a higher minimum wage in the majors, $7,500 a year. I think that will come in time.

Years ago, labor rejected a proposal for a union of baseball players. First, we doubted that such a union could benefit the players. Second, we felt that the players were not in need of collective bargaining but were independent contractors who bargained with employers as individuals.

New York Mirror
Sports editor
Bad. Baseball players are individualists. They would never agree to standardized pay, even though, at one time, baseball almost had a union. Larry MacPhail of the Yankees and Tom Yawkey of the Red Sox stymied it by insisting on raising minimum pay and the creation of a players' pension fund.

Charlottesville (Va.) Progress
Sports editor
A players' union is not the answer. Elimination of the inequitable reserve clause would foster better relationships. Players are little more than serfs. A union would be bad because any strike would threaten the existence of baseball and discourage sports-minded businessmen.

Milwaukee Braves
Third baseman
I think that a union I sounds like a very good thing. But don't get me wrong. I don't think ballplayers should or ever would strike. We love the game too much. But if we stick together in a union, we'll get more benefits. And we may find a way to help the minor leagues get stronger.

Beverly Hills
Movie actor
Good. Baseball players don't have enough say I about themselves. Many I brilliant youngsters are kept in the minors for years because the clubs that "own" them are "loaded." Some players make the majors too late, if at all. This is unfair, and I'm sure that it has ruined many a career.