Written by Jeff Euston
Friday, 02 February 2007 02:46
Duration - 4 years
- December 23, 1975 – Arbitrator Peter Seitz rules that the Reserve Clause in each player contract binds the player to his club for only one year, not indefinitely. The decision grants free agency to pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally, who had played the 1975 season without signing contracts.
- February 4, 1976 – The Seitz decision is upheld in federal district court.
- March 1-17, 1976 – Owners order spring training lockout, which lasts 17 days. Unwilling to delay the start of the season, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn orders training camps open March 18. Players agree to open the 1976 season without a collective bargaining agreement in place, and no games are canceled.
- March 10, 1976 – Federal appeals court in St. Louis upholds the Seitz decision, making Messersmith and McNally free agents.
- June 16, 1976 – Citing his power to act in the “best interests of baseball” under the Major League Agreement, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn voids Oakland owner Charlie Finley's sales of Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers to the Boston Red Sox and Vida Blue to the New York Yankees.
- July 12, 1976 – Owners and players agree on four-year labor deal giving players freedom of movement for the first time through free agency. Marvin Miller announces ratification by the players in an Aug. 2, 1976, appearance before a House committee.
- Commissioner Bowie Kuhn (not directly involved in negotiations)
- MLB: John Gaherin, AL President Lee MacPhail, NL President Chub Feeney, PRC counsel Barry Rona
- MLBPA: Executive Director Marvin Miller, General Counsel Richard Moss
- Term: 1976 – December 31, 1979.
- Free Agency: Players qualify for free agency after six years of service. Players whose 1976 contracts were unilaterally renewed (not signed by the player) become free agents after the season. (This group consists of 39 players, including Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, Ken Holtzman, Fred Lynn, Rollie Fingers, Graig Nettles and Bert Campaneris.) Players with unsigned contracts for 1977 will become free agents after the 1977 season. Players with multi-year contracts may become free agents at the end of the next regular season, if they choose not to sign. A player entering the free-agent pool may negotiate with no more than 12 clubs (13 in 1977), which must have acquired the right to negotiate with him by selecting him in the re-entry draft. Clubs are limited in the number of free agents they may sign, based on the number of players in the free agent pool. However, a club may sign as many free agents as it loses in any one season.
- Free Agent Compensation: A club losing a free agent is entitled to draft-choice compensation from the signing club. If the signing club finished in the top 12 of baseball’s 24 clubs, the signing club loses its first draft choice to the club losing the free agent. If the signing club finished in the bottom 12 clubs, the signing club loses its second draft choice to the club losing the free agent.
- Right to Demand Trade: A player with at least five years of service may demand that his club trade him. He must submit the request in writing during the 15-day period between October 15 or the end of the World Series, whichever is later. In addition, the player has a right to veto trades to six clubs. If his club does not arrange a trade by March 15, the player becomes a free agent.
- Salary Arbitration: As in the 1973-’75 agreement, players with at least two years of service are eligible to submit their salaries for arbitration. If a player is eligible for free agency, his salary dispute may go to arbitration only upon mutual consent by the player and club.
- Minimum Salary: The minimum salary is increased to $19,000 for 1976 and 1977, and $21,000 for 1978 and 1979. The increase is retroactive for the 1976 season.
- Pension: Owners increase their contribution to the players’ pension fund to $8.3 million, an annual increase of $1.85 million.