This Day in Baseball History: March 18th, 1990

Awkward. You know, for most of the people who bicker about Scott Boras ruining baseball, isn’t Fehr worse?

On March 18th, 1990:

The 32-day lockout ends.

Leading up to the December 31, 1989 deadline, the owners and players feverishly worked on the Collective Bargaining Agreement that would bring labor peace. As it has often happened in baseball history, it didn’t quickly lead to labor peace. The talks centered around free-agency and arbitration. The owners feared the rising salaries (the top now near $3 million a year). They, therefore, proposed a salary cap and a pay-by-performance scale that would judge a player against his peers. The players, obviously, didn’t like that idea.

So the two sides continued to work. Ultimately, this is how it worked out. The owners wanted a $85,000 minimum salary and the players $112,000, and it ended with $100,000. Though the owners desperately wanted a revenue sharing aspect to the contract, it did not include one. The players wanted a 25-man roster and the owners wanted 24, but the first year saw a 24-man roster and the remaining saw 25-man rosters. The players wanted arbitration after 2 years and the owners wanted to get rid of it for all players with less than 6 years of service, but the resolution was the one we see today. All in all, this was pretty much a compromise, but the players won every battle, though not entirely.

As we all know, these compromises ended up much like the Missouri Compromise, not well and with an ensuing war (Did I really just compare those two things?). By 1994, the contract was up and the two sides were back at it. The owners (much like today) campaigned and begged for a salary cap, but the union saw this as a way to take money away from the players. Because Fay Vincent was forced out in 1992, baseball really didn’t have a commissioner, and therefore no one to referee. Bud Selig came in, but because of his involvement in the collusions, Donald Fehr and the MLBPA didn’t trust him.

Salary caps are nothing new, and my guess is that they won’t win out this time, either.


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