04/21/2011 3:46 PM ET
Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players Association reach agreement regarding payments for pre-1980 players
NEW YORK -- The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association jointly announced today that they have agreed to make an annual payment to players who retired before 1980 but who did not have enough service time to qualify for a pension benefit under the Major League Baseball Players Benefit Plan.
The measure was announced today at a press conference in New York City. Among those in attendance were Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig; Michael Weiner, the executive director of the MLBPA; Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball's executive vice president for labor relations; Dan Foster, CEO of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association; and Eddie Robinson, the former All-Star Major League first baseman and the former general manager of the Atlanta Braves and the Texas Rangers.
Since the 1980 season, all Major League players have vested as members of the benefit plan after just one day of service in the Major Leagues. Prior to 1980, players secured a pension benefit only after completing at least four years of Major League service. Under this new agreement, players who retired between Jan. 1, 1947, and Jan. 1, 1980, with no retirement benefits for their Major League service will receive an annual payment of up to $10,000, jointly funded by the Commissioner’s Office and the MLBPA. The collective bargaining parties have committed to these payments for an initial period of two years. Payments beyond the initial period will be discussed in collective bargaining.
Commissioner Selig said, “Very simply, we felt that this was the right thing to do for these former players, who contributed to our game’s unparalleled history. I am very pleased that we have partnered with the Players Association to take this step.”
Weiner said, "Today's players appreciate the contributions made by former players to the game's success and to the union's efforts. The MLBPA has worked for many years with the Alumni Association on this effort, and we're excited to announce this significant agreement with Major League Baseball."
Foster said, “Today is a day of celebration and appreciation. The payments to these former players not only acknowledge their role in the evolution of the game but also honor the men who developed the great American pastime. The MLBPAA is grateful to Major League Baseball and the Players Association for their dedication to support and assist this group of former Major Leaguers.”
Robinson said, “This decision is the culmination of 14 years of concerted effort by the Major League Alumni Services Board of Directors and the former Major Leaguers who have served on our pension committee over the years. The owners and current players have shown great willingness to come together and agree on important issues.”
Longtime Major Leaguer Craig Counsell, a member of the Milwaukee Brewers and an representative for the MLBPA, said: “As a current player, it is truly an honor to be able to take this step and help pre-1980 players. Retirement benefits were the primary concern in 1966 when the players hired Marvin Miller and the modern-day Players Association was born. Over the ensuing 45 years, every player experiences the same feeling of indebtedness to those who came before him. It is with that in mind that I personally thank everyone involved for their determination in making this happen.”