1984 - Superstationary
Baseball’s Business - The Winter Meetings Volume 2 (Society for American Baseball Research 2017)
9 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2018
Date Written: February 1, 2018
The 1984 Winter Meetings in Houston, Texas, took place in the midst of important leadership transitions for both major-league baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association. Baseball had a new commissioner – Peter Ueberroth, an outsider best known for founding First Travel Corporation and for his role in the highly praised and financially successful 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He succeeded Bowie Kuhn, whose contract was not renewed after 14 years. The union did not have a new executive director. The players had misfired with their selection of Kenneth Moffett to succeed Marvin Miller, and so Donald Fehr, a baseball insider best known for his long and effective service as counsel to the union, was filling the role on an “acting” basis. (In December 1985, Fehr was elected to fill the position permanently.) Thus, a casual observer might well have assumed that in late 1984, the owners had their house in order while the players were in disarray. The reality was less dramatic, yet more interesting. First of all, owners and players alike were heavily concerned every December with achieving success in the short term, which meant putting together teams that could win games in the coming season. Second, baseball remained both a business and a game, and big changes tended to come slowly and only after much talking and agonizing and maneuvering. Third, no matter what else might be happening in baseball, traditions would be honored. All three of those points had always been present at the winter meetings, and 1984 would be no different. Fourth and finally, while labor-management negotiations loomed – the current collective-bargaining agreement was due to expire on December 31 – they would have to wait a few more days.
Keywords: cable, free agency, Hall of Fame, satellite, television
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