Ray Grebey, negotiator in 1981 baseball strike, dies at 85

From Douglas Martin at the New York Times on September 4, 2013, with mention of SABR member Jeff Katz:

Ray Grebey, a tough labor negotiator who represented major league baseball owners in the 1981 players strike that led to the cancellation of 713 games over nearly two months, died on Aug. 28 in Stamford, Conn. He was 85.

The cause was complications of stomach cancer, his son, Clarence R. Grebey III, said.

Sports Illustrated titled its cover article on the strike “The Walkout the Owners Provoked.” It was a widely held view: that the owners were trying to recoup some of what they lost in 1975 when an arbitrator ruled that players could become free agents after playing one year without a contract.

Before then, owners had included a paragraph in every player’s contract giving the team the right to renew the contract for a year after its expiration.

In the 1981 negotiations with the players union, Major League Baseball demanded that an owner be compensated for losing a player to another team through free agency. To the players, who had made concessions of their own in 1975, management was simply trying to win back prerogatives it had already lost.

“We gave last time,” a players representative at the negotiating table told Mr. Grebey.

He replied, “That was last time.”

Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/04/sports/baseball/ray-grebey-who-represented-baseball-in-1981-labor-dispute-dies-at-85.html

Originally published: September 5, 2013. Last Updated: September 5, 2013.