Jack Moore

Jack Moore

Recent Posts

NCAA Football: New College Athletes Players Association-Press Conference

Wednesday’s ruling from the National Labor Review Board granting Northwestern University football players the right to form a union as employees may be the biggest sports story of the new Millennium. ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson called it a “a historic first step in a process that, together with litigation against the NCAA and legislation in Congress, could change the face of college sports.” The Nation’s Dave Zirin wrote “the established order in the sports world has been shaken to its foundation.”

If there is an analog to the NLRB decision in baseball history, it comes in 1976, when MLB arbitrator Peter Seitz granted free agent status to pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally. This was the final blow struck to defeat the reserve clause. The ruling left every major league player yet to sign a contract in 1976 eligible for free agency by the end of the season; those who had signed could be reserved one final time in 1977 before becoming free agents. Essentially, the whole league hit the free market at once, the exact kind of chaotic situation necessary to force real change.

Read the rest of this entry »

MLB: Texas Rangers-Press Conference

“For 150 years, ‘clubhouse chemistry’ has been impossible to quantify,” the article Chemistry 162 in the latest ESPN The Magazine begins. If you’ve read anything on sports analytics, you know what this means: the impossible to quantify has finally been quantified, and you, the reader, are one of the lucky people to receive this wisdom from on high.

Read the rest of this entry »

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago White Sox

“As I have said hundreds of times in the past, Mr. Finley owns the ball club and he can do whatever he likes.” — two-time Athletics manager Alvin Dark.

The second time Alvin Dark was fired by Charlie O. Finley, owner of the Oakland Athletics, his club had just finished the 1976 season with 98 wins and a fifth consecutive American League West championship. Dark was fired, as United Press International reported, because the manager said Finley was a sinner who “was going to hell unless he mended his ways” at a gathering at a Pentecostal church in Hayward, California. Charlie Finley had fired men for less.

The first time Alvin Dark was fired by Charlie Finley, nine years prior, his Kansas City Athletics players had called Finley’s meddlesome ownership style into question. A’s pitcher Lew Krausse had been suspended for an incident involving alcohol on the team plane. In response, the Athletics issued a statement:

“We players feel that if Mr. Finley would give his fine coaching staff and excellent manager the authority they deserve, these problems would not exist.”

Dark was fired the next day.

Read the rest of this entry »

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks-Workout

Kevin Towers is telling his pitchers to hit batters. This is simple, this is obvious, and Major League Baseball is doing nothing about it.

On March 14th, the Diamondbacks faced the Rockies in a Spring Training game. Rockies minor leaguer Tommy Kahnle, a 23-year-old with no experience above Double-A who has never appeared on a top prospects list and who has next to zero chance at making the Rockies club out of camp, hit Mark Trumbo in the back with a fastball. These things happen.

In response, Wade Miley threw at Troy Tulowitzki. Miley hit Tulowitzki in the calf, and the Rockies’ star shortstop will miss a few spring games as a result. There was concern, thankfully unrealized, that Tulowitzki had suffered a hairline fracture in his tibia.

The Rockies, according to Denver Post writer Troy Renck, were “privately convinced that Miley’s pitch was on purpose.” I wonder where they could have gotten that idea…

Read the rest of this entry »

MLB Photos Archive

A few times in this space, I’ve covered the rhetoric of owners threatened by the specter of rising player salaries. When the major leagues had their antitrust exemption challenged in Congress in the early 1900s, National Baseball Commission president August Herrmann sounded awfully similar to NCAA president Mark Emmert today. Both claimed the current way is the only way, and that any changes (calling baseball a trust or paying NCAA athletes) would destroy the game.

And as the early days of free agency led to players becoming millionaires, owners and writers alike fretted about the potential consequences of players earning increasingly higher salaries. As Jerry Green wrote in 1979:
Read the rest of this entry »

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants

Barry Bonds is back in baseball today, coaching up the San Francisco Giants at spring training. Before attending to his duties — seven days of coaching with his former club before he heads back to his home in San Francisco — Bonds addressed the media for the first time as an official baseball man since his retirement.

Read the rest of this entry »

An ominous headline graced the title page of the June 10, 1967 issue of The Sporting News: Athlete Union? STORM BREWING:

Read the rest of this entry »