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Thursday December 7, 1972
. . . where the 1970s live forever!

Miller Strikes Back At Kuhn, Says 'Gentleman's Agreement' Broken

NEW YORK -- Marvin Miller, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Assn., Thursday struck back at commissioner Bowie Kuhn and accused him of acting in bad faith by breaking "a gentlemen's agreement" not to make public facts of the current owner-player negotiations. Miller called Kuhn's revelation of the owners' position during the recent baseball meetings in Hawaii the "act of a rank amateur." He said Kuhn's statement on Nov. 29 was "disruptive and designed to psych the public." Kuhn said at the time he was merely acting as a "coordinator" in relaying the owners' compromise position on the reserve clause.

The owners had proposed that a player could become a free agent if he was not offered a $30,000 contract after five years in the major leagues and $40,000 in his ninth year. "We are striving to avoid a repetition of the strike that hit baseball last season and inferences that players would be mistaken in not accepting the owners' proposal is fraudulent," Miller said. "Only about five of the 960 players on major league rosters would actually be affected by this measure. When you consider that the average career of a major league player is about 4¾ years, very few players will last long enough to achieve that salary scale."

"When negotiations began two months ago, we agreed to conduct ourselves in a professional manner, with the understanding that our discussions would not be made public," Miller said. Then Miller, for the first time, made known these association demands:

  • If a player completes 5 years of professional baseball -- 3 in the major leagues -- and he is not offered an average salary of $32,000, he could negotiate with another club.
  • If a player has been in baseball 7 years -- 5 in the big leagues -- and is not offered 1½ times the average rate, he can bargain with another team.
  • If a player has 9 years of service (7 in the majors) he should be entitled to double the average wage, or else be allowed to negotiate with another club.

[source: upi]

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