Chass: A pink-slip thanks for a major decision in baseball

From Murray Chass at the New York Times on August 21, 2013:

When John Gaherin, the chief labor negotiator for Major League Baseball, arrived for a meeting with the chief of the players union and baseball’s arbitrator, he carried an envelope in the pocket of his suit jacket.

It was two days before Christmas 1975, not a time to be conducting serious business, but Gaherin and Marvin Miller, the executive director of the union, knew why Peter Seitz, the arbitrator, had summoned them. They knew that the subject of the meeting would be as serious a bit of business as baseball had ever experienced, and Gaherin went to the meeting prepared.

Seitz had informally telegraphed his decision in a grievance case, and now he would formally hand his written opinion to the two men. As soon as he did, Gaherin handed Seitz the envelope. “You’re fired,” it said in effect.

Such is the perilous life of impartial arbitrators in baseball and other professional sports. Either side — the league or the union — has the right to fire them. Like managers, they are hired to be fired.

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Originally published: August 26, 2013. Last Updated: August 26, 2013.