Cover image for The end of baseball as we knew it : the players union, 1960-81
The end of baseball as we knew it : the players union, 1960-81
Korr, Charles P.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xviii, 336 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV880.2 .K67 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Written from files, letters, and correspondence of the Major League Baseball Players Association, this analysis of the most successful sports labor union delves deeply into the long-standing battle between players and management in baseball. (Sports & Recreation).

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

By the time this review is published, the 2002 major-league baseball season may have ended prematurely, the victim of a labor dispute between millionaire players and billionaire owners. Korr puts labor issues and baseball in perspective with this history of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1960 to 1981, when the union succeeded in overturning the century-old "reserve" clause, which bound a player to his original team for life. The reserve system had worked well for owners, keeping the minimum salary to seven thousand dollars in 1966, and giving players virtually no bargaining power. Enter former steelworkers union man Marvin Miller, who, over the next decade and a half, challenged the reserve clause in the courts and in the equally important venue of public opinion. Korr tells the story of these tumultuous years vividly, helped along by interviews with most of the principals. An insightful foreword by broadcaster Bob Costas provides additional context. An engagingly written, carefully researched study of the forces that have shaped the National Pastime into the game it has become today. --Wes Lukowsky

Library Journal Review

Korr carefully explores labor-management dealings involving major league players and team owners during a crucial two-decade imbalance. The author sketches the stark imbalance that existed in that relationship until the 1960s, when Judge Robert Cannon and Marvin Miller came to represent the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). Cannon deferred to baseball moguls, as players like Robin Roberts and Jim Bunning courageously battled for such elementary rights as improved bullpens and toilet facilities and better lighting for night contests. Miller's appointment as the MLBPA's full-time executive director in 1966 proved crucial, but Korr (West Ham United: The Making of a Football Club) challenges many assumptions about the labor leader. Rather than manipulating the players, Miller frequently felt compelled to respond to their greater militancy. Notwithstanding embittered attacks by sportswriters and owners alike, Miller generally remained calm and thoughtful, even prescient at times. Korr discusses how first Curt Flood and then Ted Simmons, Andy Messersmith, and Dave McNally challenged the owners' contractual leverage, which eventually led to free agency. A lengthy strike in 1981 proved the union's toughest test but kept its winning streak intact. For general libraries. [With another work stoppage a strong possibility, this book may circulate well among fans. Ed.] R.C. Cottrell, California State Univ., Chico (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Korr (history, Univ. of Missouri, St. Louis) has written a concise, informative history of the Major League Baseball Players Association, focusing on the years when the MLBPA cohered as a union and achieved the successes that transformed labor relations in professional sports in the US. The author challenges, for the most part successfully, three "widely held assumptions" about the MLBPA: "that the success of the union was inevitable, that it had a well-defined master plan, and that it was [Marvin] Miller's union." But even though Korr's unlimited access to MLBPA files allowed him to provide some heretofore unpublished background information, students of sports labor relations will be familiar with much of this story. For those coming to this story for the first time, Korr's account is the most complete currently available, although the writing style is pedestrian and uninspired. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Undergraduate, professional, and general collections. D. A. Coffin Indiana University Northwest