Kaplan: This year in baseball, 1976

From SABR member Ron Kaplan at The National Pastime Museum on April 26, 2016:

At the beginning of America’s bicentennial year, Major League Baseball paid homage of a sort—by following in the footsteps of the Founding Fathers—when it announced plans to expand once again: west to Seattle (if at first you don’t succeed) and north to Toronto.

Another sort of battle for “independence” took place at the beginning of spring training. Owners locked out players on March 1 when no agreement could be made on a proposed basic contract. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn overruled them on March 17, and life on the diamond resumed.

Once the season was under way, fans and players enjoyed an extra dimension of pomp and circumstance. Red, white, and blue were omnipresent in the newly renovated Yankee Stadium, the house that another George (Steinbrenner) (re)rebuilt.

Ted Turner, the media mogul who purchased the Atlanta Braves in January for $11 million, signed pitcher Andy Messersmith for the campaign, seeking to give him a uniform bearing the name “Channel” with the numeral 17, a nod to his TV superstation. Not surprisingly, NL President Chub Feeney put the kibosh on that notion.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/1976

Originally published: April 28, 2016. Last Updated: April 28, 2016.