Major League Baseball Players Association

The Major League Baseball Players Association (or MLBPA) is the collective bargaining representative for all current Major League Baseball players. All players, managers, coaches, and athletic trainers who hold or have held a signed contract with a Major League club are eligible for membership in the Association.

The MLBPA has three major divisions: a labor union, a business (Players Choice Group Licensing Program), and a charitable foundation (Major League Baseball Players Trust).[2]

The MLBPA primarily serves as a collective bargaining representative for all Major League Baseball players, as well as playing significant roles in MLB-related business and non-profit affairs.

Major league baseball players association graphic
Full nameMajor League Baseball Players Association
Key peopleTony Clark
(Executive Director)
Daniel Murphy
(National League Association Representative)
Andrew Miller
(American League Association Representative)
Office locationTower 49, New York, NY
CountryUnited States, Canada

Players Choice group licensing

The MLBPA's Players Choice group licensing program utilizes collective marketing to assist licensees and sponsors who want to associate their brands and products with that of Major League players, teams, and coaches. Through an individual agreement with each player, the MLBPA holds exclusive right to use, license and sublicense the names, numbers, nicknames, likenesses, signatures and other personal indicia (known as “publicity rights”) of active Major League Baseball players who are its members for use in connection with any product, brand, service or product line when more than two players are involved.

Among its other functions, the Players Choice licensing program also protects the rights of players from exploitation by unauthorized parties.[3]

Major League Baseball Players Trust

Major League Baseball players also formed the Players Trust, a charitable foundation that is the first of its kind in professional sports. Through the Players Trust, Major Leaguers contribute their time, money and fame to call attention to important issues affecting those in need and to help encourage others to get involved in their own communities.

Many programs including Buses for Baseball, City Clinics, Medicines for Humanity, the Players Choice Awards and Volunteers of America are funded through the foundation.[4]

Action Team

In 2003, the Major League Baseball Players Trust and Volunteers of America created the Action Team National Youth Volunteer Program to recruit and train high school students to become volunteers in their communities.[5]

Players Choice Awards

The Players Choice Awards is an award ceremony held to recognize each season's best performers, as chosen by the players themselves. Each Players Choice Awards winner designates the charity of his choice to receive a grant from the Player's Trust.[6]


The MLBPA was not the first attempt to unionize baseball players. Earlier attempts had included:

  • Brotherhood of Professional Baseball Players - 1885 (founded by John Montgomery Ward)[7]
  • Players' Protective Association - 1900[8]
  • Fraternity of Professional Baseball Players of America - 1912
  • National Baseball Players Association of the United States - 1922 (founded by Raymond Joseph Cannon)
  • The American Baseball Guild – 1946 (founded by labor lawyer Robert Murphy)




Executive Director

  • Frank Scott: May 1, 1959 – 1966

The Marvin Miller era (1966–83)

The organization that would eventually become the MLBPA was conceived in 1953. However, it was not officially recognized as a union until 1966. That year the newly recognized union hired Marvin Miller from the United Steel Workers of America to head the organization, serving as Executive Director until 1983. During Miller's tenure, base salaries, pension funds, licensing rights and revenues increased.

In 1968, Miller negotiated the first collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the team owners, which raised the minimum salary from $6,000 to $10,000 per year.[9] The 1970 CBA included arbitration to resolve disputes.[8] In 1972 the major leagues saw their first player strike, in opposition to the owners' refusal to increase player pension funds.

In 1974, when owner Charlie Finley failed to make a $50,000 payment into an insurance annuity as called for in Catfish Hunter's contract, the MLBPA took the case to arbitration. The arbitrator ruled that Hunter could be a free agent.[10]

When Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally had their 1974 contracts automatically renewed by their teams, the MLBPA supported them by challenging the reserve clause which was used by team owners to bind players to one team. On December 23, 1975, arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled in favour of the players. Following the Seitz decision, the modern free agent system was created, and the strength of the union was immeasurably increased.

Players and owners failed to come to terms over free agent compensation, which led to another strike in 1981. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the MLBPA filed collusion charges, arguing that team owners had violated the collective bargaining agreement in the 1985–1987 seasons. The MLBPA won each case, resulting in "second look" free agents, and over $269 million in owner fines.[11]


After Miller retired, Ken Moffett became the new executive director in December 1982, but in November 1983 he was dismissed, and Marvin Miller was named interim director. Donald Fehr was named acting director in December 1983. Miller supported a strong antidrug policy, whereas Fehr opposed penalizing players.[12]

  • Ken Moffett: December 9, 1982 – November 22, 1983
  • Marvin Miller (interim): November 22, 1983 – December 9, 1983
  • Donald Fehr (acting): December 9, 1983 – December 1985;
  • Donald Fehr: December 1985 – 2009
  • Michael Weiner: June 22, 2009 – November 21, 2013
  • Tony Clark: December 2, 2013 – present

Recent history

Donald Fehr (2011)
Donald Fehr

Donald Fehr joined the MLBPA as general counsel in 1977 and was named executive director in 1985, leading it through the 1994 Major League Baseball strike and recent issues.

On June 22, 2009, Fehr announced he would step down, and after a transition period and was replaced by the union's general counsel, Michael Weiner.[13]

On November 21, 2013, MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner died after a 15-month battle with a non-operable brain tumor. He was 51 years old. Tony Clark, the Deputy Executive Director, was named Executive Director on December 2, 2013, the first former major league player to hold the position.[14]

In 2016, the MLBPA celebrated its 50th anniversary as a union, commemorating the event at the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game with a redesigned golden logo and merchandise such as T-shirts.[15]

Basic agreements

In 1968, the Major League Baseball Players Association negotiated the first-ever Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in professional sports. Several agreements have been negotiated since the original agreement, the latest of which expired on Dec. 1, 2016. A new agreement took effect at that time and is set to expire on Dec. 1, 2021.[16]

MLBPA/MLB Joint Initiatives

Joint Drug Agreement

The Joint Drug Agreement went into effect in December 2011 and is scheduled to terminate Dec. 1, 2016, the same date as the Basic Agreement. The prohibited substances section of the Joint Drug Agreement is updated annually.[17]

Domestic Violence Policy

In August 2015, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA reached agreement on the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy, and is intended to provide a comprehensive policy addressing issues such as protecting the legal rights of players, treating violations seriously, holding players accountable through appropriate disciplinary measures and providing resources for the intervention and care of victims, families and the players themselves.[18]

The terms of this joint policy cover four primary areas: Treatment & Intervention; Investigations; Discipline; and Training, Education & Resources.

Youth Baseball initiative

In June 2016, Executive Director Tony Clark and Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred, along with Curtis Granderson, Andrew McCutchen, Marquis Grissom, and Ken Griffey Jr., announced major initiatives within youth baseball in a press conference held at Citi Field.

On top of jointly donating over $2 million several youth-focused initiatives supported by current and former Major League player, other major initiatives included financial contributions to youth baseball projects and the creation of a partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance for the training of coaches and administrators from the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.[19]


Salary cap

As of 2019, Major League Baseball is the only major professional sports league in North America that does not have a salary cap; the MLS, NHL, NBA, and NFL all implement some sort of salary cap. The MLB does have a luxury tax that penalizes clubs that exceed the designated amount for that season.


The MLBPA was initially opposed to random steroid testing, claiming it to be a violation of the privacy of players. After enormous negative publicity surrounding the alleged or actual involvement of several star players in the BALCO steroid scandal, the players dropped their opposition to a steroid testing program and developed a consensus that favored testing. Under pressure from US Congress which threatened to pass a law if the MLB's drug policy was not strengthened, the baseball union agreed in 2005 to a stricter policy that would include 50-game, 100-game, and lifetime suspensions.[20]

See also


  1. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions: 'When was the MLBPA created?'". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  2. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions: 'What does the MLBPA do?'". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  3. ^ "Licensing". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  4. ^ "About | The Players Trust". Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  5. ^ "About | The Players Trust". Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  6. ^ "Players Choice Awards | The Players Trust". Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  7. ^ Spalding, Albert G. (1911). American National Game.
  8. ^ a b "History of the Major League Baseball Players Association".
  9. ^ History of the MLBPA. The Major League Baseball Players Association. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
  10. ^ Catfish Hunter
  11. ^ The Economic History of Major League Baseball Archived 2006-12-16 at the Wayback Machine Michael J. Haupert, University of Wisconsin -- La Crosse
  12. ^ Ken Moffett, fired last November as executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said Wednesday he believes the FBI has evidence of cocaine use by players during regular-season games - Don Cronin, UPI, 22 February 1984
  13. ^ "Fehr to Leave Job Held Since 1985". 22 June 2009.
  14. ^;_ylt=A2KJ2UhiZp5SM1IAQ5XQtDMD
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions: 'When does the current CBA expire?'". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  17. ^ "Basic Agreement". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  18. ^ "MLB, MLBPA agree on domestic violence policy". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  19. ^ "MLB, MLBPA announce new youth initiatives". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  20. ^ "MLBPA/MLB joint announcement". MLBPA. 2005-11-15. Retrieved 2007-03-21.

Further reading

  • Helyar, John. (1994). Lords of the Realm: The Real History of Baseball. New York: Villard. ISBN 0-679-41197-6.
  • Korr, Charles P. (2002). The End of Baseball as We Knew It: The Players Union, 1960–81. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-02752-3.

External links

2016 Caribbean Series

The 2016 Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) is the 54th edition of the international competition featuring the champions of the Cuban National Series, Dominican Professional Baseball League, Mexican Pacific League, Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League, and Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. It took place February 1–7 at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The teams played a ten-game round robin, followed by the semifinals and championship game.

For the first time, the tournament featured a home run derby, however Major League Baseball players were barred from participating due to complaints from Major League Baseball Players Association over injury risks.

Bo Porter

Marquis Donnell "Bo" Porter (born July 5, 1972) is a former MLB player. He is also a coach who was most recently a special assistant to GM and former third base/outfield and base running coach for the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball. Porter previously served as manager of the Houston Astros for two seasons until his termination on September 1, 2014. During spring training in 2018 he ran the Major League Baseball Players Association free agent camp. In 2019, he became a television broadcaster for the Washington Nationals on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

Donald Fehr

Donald Martin Fehr (born July 18, 1948) is the executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association. He became nationally prominent while serving as the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1985 to 2009.

Jerry Crasnick

Jerry Crasnick is an American sportswriter and baseball executive. He is a senior advisor to the Major League Baseball Players Association. Previously, he wrote for the sports website, the Biddeford Journal Tribune, the Portland Press Herald, and The Cincinnati Post.

Ken Griffey Jr.'s Winning Run

Ken Griffey Jr.'s Winning Run is a baseball video game developed by Rare for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System that is named after the baseball player Ken Griffey Jr. It is the follow-up to Nintendo's previous Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball but with a Japanese publisher, and a British developer. Two years later, Nintendo released another game featuring Griffey, Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr., for the Nintendo 64.

The game's title is derived from the final play of the 1995 American League Division Series featuring the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees. On a play that is sometimes credited with "saving baseball in Seattle," Griffey scored the game's winning run all the way from first base, on a close play in the bottom of the 11th inning.Due to the lack of a Major League Baseball Players' Association license, Griffey is the only player in the game to use his actual name.

MLB Industry Growth Fund

MLB Industry Growth Fund is a pool of money collected by Major League Baseball. The purpose of the Industry Growth Fund (IGF) is, essentially, to promote Major League Baseball. Specifically, there are three goals; to enhance fan interest in the game, to increase baseball's popularity, and to ensure industry growth into the 21st century. It was created as part of the Major League Baseball (MLB) Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in 1997.

The IGF is managed by a seven-member board of directors. The board of directors meets in person at least three times per year.

Funding for the IGF comes, primarily, from the MLB Competitive Balance Tax. Additional funds may also come from the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) or the individual baseball clubs.

Major League Baseball (video game)

Major League Baseball is a sports video game released in 1988 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is notable for being one of the first video games licensed by Major League Baseball, although it was not endorsed by the Major League Baseball Players Association. Without the backing of the Players Association, the game could not name the actual players, although it was able to use their numbers, thus accurately portraying the contemporary teams and their rosters. In doing so, it became the first baseball game for the Nintendo Entertainment System to carry official Major League Baseball licensing and lineups.

Major League Baseball was developed by Atlus and published by LJN. It featured many facets of realistic gameplay and a focus on managerial details, which stressed the importance of choosing a well-balanced team. Despite its graphical limitations, it was considered a three-dimensional game at the time and was featured in the first issue of Nintendo Power as compared the system's other baseball games of the era.

Mandy Romero

Armando "Mandy" Romero (born October 29, 1967 in Miami, Florida) is a former Major League Baseball catcher.

Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 19th round of the 1988 MLB amateur draft, Romero would make his Major League Baseball debut with the San Diego Padres on July 15, 1997, and appear in his final game during the 2003.

Romero is noted for his role as a replacement player during spring training prior to the 1995 Major League Baseball Strike. Replacement players took over for professional baseball players when the Major League Baseball Players Association went on strike. The strike was resolved at the end of spring training. Romero would return to Major League Baseball with the San Diego Padres in 1997, however, was blacklisted and not permitted to join the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Pedro Martinez, Red Sox teammate of Romero, was quoted, "Mandy is a guy that likes to take life by the horns. He lives, he laughs, and most of all, he loves."

Mark Belanger

Mark Henry Belanger (June 8, 1944 – October 6, 1998), nicknamed "The Blade," was an American professional baseball shortstop. He played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers. A defensive standout, he won eight Gold Glove Awards between 1969 and 1978, leading the American League in assists and fielding percentage three times each; he retired with the highest career fielding average by an AL shortstop (.977). He set franchise records for career games, assists, and double plays as a shortstop, all of which were later broken by Cal Ripken Jr. After his playing career, he became an official with the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Marvin Miller

Marvin Julian Miller (April 14, 1917 – November 27, 2012) was an American baseball executive who served as the Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) from 1966 to 1982. Under Miller's direction, the players' union was transformed into one of the strongest unions in the United States. In 1992, Red Barber said, "Marvin Miller, along with Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, is one of the two or three most important men in baseball history."

Marvin Miller (disambiguation)

Marvin Miller (1917–2012) was an American labor economist and head of Major League Baseball Players Association.

Marvin Miller may also refer to:

Marvin Miller (actor) (1913–1985), American voice-over character actor

Marvin E. Miller Sr. (1927–1999), American journalist, editor and state legislator

Marvin E. Miller Jr. (1945–2016), American state legislator, son of above

Marvin Miller, the main character in the U.S. comic strip Marvin

Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award

The Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award is given annually to a Major League Baseball (MLB) player "whose on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire others to higher levels of achievement." The award was created by the Major League Baseball Players' Association (MLBPA) and was presented to the inaugural winner—Mark McGwire—in 1997 as the "Man of the Year Award". Three years later, it was renamed in honor of Marvin Miller, the first executive director of the MLBPA. The award forms part of the Players Choice Awards.In order to determine the winner, each MLB team nominates one of their players, who is selected by their teammates to appear on the ballot. An online vote is conducted among baseball fans in order to reduce the number of candidates to six. MLB players then choose the award winner from among the six finalists. In addition to the award, recipients have $50,000 donated on their behalf to charities of their choice by the MLB Players Trust. John Smoltz, Jim Thome, Michael Young, and Curtis Granderson are the only players to win the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award on multiple occasions. Four winners – Paul Molitor, Jim Thome, Smoltz, and Mariano Rivera – are members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.Winners of the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award have undertaken a variety of different causes. Many winners, including McGwire, Thome, Smoltz, Mike Sweeney, Torii Hunter, Young, Curtis Granderson and Brandon Inge, worked with children in need. McGwire established a foundation to assist children who were physically or sexually abused, while Inge visited disabled children at the Mott Children's Hospital and donated part of his salary to raise money for a pediatric cancer infusion center. Other winners devoted their work to aiding individuals who had a specific illness, such as Albert Pujols, whose daughter suffers from Down syndrome, and who devoted the Pujols Family Foundation to helping those with the disease, and Chipper Jones, who has been raising money for cystic fibrosis since 1996, after meeting an 11-year-old fan who suffered from the disease and who died several weeks after meeting Jones through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Michael Weiner (executive)

Michael S. Weiner (December 21, 1961 – November 21, 2013) was an American attorney who served as the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association for 4 years. He assumed the role on June 22, 2009, replacing Donald Fehr, becoming only the fifth executive director of the union. Weiner joined the organization in September 1988 and had been general counsel since 2004.

Players Choice Awards

The Players Choice Awards are annual Major League Baseball awards, given by the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA).

The Players Choice Awards are given following a secret ballot by players. Four awards go to a player in each league, while two awards each go to one player in all of Major League Baseball. Prize money is donated to a charity of each winner's choice.The first Players Choice Awards were given in 1992, to the Comeback Player in each of the two major leagues. There were no other awards that year. In 1993, the Comeback Player awards were replaced by an Outstanding Player award for each league. Then, in 1994, two more categories were added: Outstanding Pitcher (in each league) and Outstanding Rookie (in each league).

In 1997, the dual Comeback Player awards were again named, along with the first-ever single award — the Man of the Year — for one player in all of Major League Baseball. In 1998, a second non-dual award was added, Player of the Year. In addition, the Man of the Year award was renamed in honor of Marvin Miller, former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. In 1999, a special Player of the Decade award was given.

In 2015, a third non-dual award was created. The "Always Game" award is given to the player who – game in and game out – constantly exhibits positive energy, grit, tenacity, hustle, perseverance, relentlessness and sportsmanship; all for the benefit of his teammates and fans.

Robert C. Cannon

Robert C. Cannon (June 10, 1917 – October 22, 2008) was a Presiding Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, Vice President of the Milwaukee Brewers and Legal Advisor to the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Seitz decision

The Seitz decision was a ruling by arbitrator Peter Seitz (died October 17, 1983) on December 23, 1975, which declared that Major League Baseball (MLB) players became free agents upon playing one year for their team without a contract, effectively nullifying baseball's reserve clause. The ruling was issued in regard to pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally.

Since the 1880s, baseball owners had included a paragraph described as the reserve clause in every player contract. The paragraph as written allowed teams to renew a contract for a period of one year following the end of a signed contract. Owners asserted and players assumed that contract language effectively meant that a player could be "reserved," by a ballclub's unilateral contract renewal, year after year in perpetuity by the team that had signed the player. That eliminated all market competition and kept salaries relatively low.

In 1975, Messersmith of the Los Angeles Dodgers and McNally of the Montreal Expos had had their 1974 contracts automatically renewed by their teams on the basis of this reserve clause. Since neither signed a contract during that option year, both insisted that they were free to sign with other teams the following season. The owners disagreed, arguing that under the reserve clause the one-year contracts were perpetually renewed.

The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) filed notices of grievance on behalf of both players on October 7, 1975. Eventually hearings were held on November 21, 24 and December 1, 1975 before an Arbitration Panel composed of MLB Player Relations Committee chief negotiator John Gaherin, MLBPA Executive Director Marvin Miller and Seitz, the Chairman and Impartial Arbitrator agreed upon by both opposing parties. Seitz ruled in favor of Messersmith and McNally on December 23, 1975, declaring:

Seitz's Opinion further stated:

In essence, the players were free to bargain with other teams because organized baseball could maintain a player's services for only one year after expiration of the previous contract. According to Gaherin, Seitz indicated soon after he heard arguments from both sides that he was leaning toward ruling for the players.MLB appealed the decision to the United States district court for Western Missouri, but Seitz's ruling was upheld on February 3, 1976 by Judge John Watkins Oliver, and later by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. After all appeals were exhausted, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association signed a new agreement in 1976 allowing players with six years experience to become free agents.

Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award

The Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award is the oldest of three annual awards in Major League Baseball given to one player in each league who has reemerged as a star in that season. It was established in 1965. The winner in each league is selected by the TSN editorial staff.

In 2005, Major League Baseball officially sponsored its own Comeback Player of the Year Award for the first time. TSN and MLB honored the same players in 2005—Ken Griffey, Jr. in the National League and Jason Giambi in the American League. The Players Choice Awards, awarded by the Major League Baseball Players Association, also began a Comeback Player honor in 1992.

Listed below are the players honored with the TSN award by year, name, team and league.

Tony Clark

Anthony Christopher Clark (born June 15, 1972), is a former Major League Baseball first baseman and current executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Clark had his best years with the Detroit Tigers (1995–2001), but also played with five other teams during a 15-year career that ended in 2009. He was a switch hitter, and threw right-handed. He was third in Rookie of the Year voting in 1996, and was an All Star in 2001.

Clark was a union representative while he was a player, and after retiring he joined the staff of the MLBPA in 2010. He served as deputy executive director and acting executive director of the union before he was appointed executive director in December 2013, upon the death of Michael Weiner. Clark is the first former player to be executive director of the MLB players' union.

North American major league sports player associations


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