Moore: On Calvin Griffith, Rod Carew and free agency

From Jack Moore at The Score on November 7, 2013:

Last week, this column took a look at baseball’s racist response to free agency. There was some obvious unease surrounding the new flow of money to star players — especially star players of color, like Reggie Jackson. But just as notably, Jerry Green, the Hall of Fame sportswriter from Detroit, seemed particularly perturbed by the newly rough financial fates of the owners — owners who were among the richest men in America, as financially secure as was possible in America in the 1970s.

One of the oddest parts to me, reading Green’s piece, was the sympathy the reader was apparently supposed to feel for Calvin Griffith, the Twins owner. Rod Carew was an impending free agent, and in one of the first deals of its kind, the Twins sent Carew to the Angels for four lesser players. Carew eventually signed a five-year, $4 million contract with the club. Multiple other Twins had recently left in free agency for bigger paydays.

Here’s how Green paints the situation:

Calvin Griffith dumped Carew because the Twins no longer could afford his salary. The four new players won’t cost the Twins as much. That is the way it works in baseball now. But Calvin Griffith felt rooked. Bowie Kuhn refused to allow Griffith to accept any cash, a supposed outlay of $400,000 from the Angels. Griffith complained:

“It was very, very unusual since Brad Corbett said he had to sell players to raise $800,000 to pay the bills. Here I am, the only owner left in baseball solely dependent on baseball, and I can’t get money for players.”

Read the full article here:

Originally published: November 8, 2013. Last Updated: November 8, 2013.