Allentown Morning Call - March 23, 1980


Q&A – To strike or not to strike


Bob Boone


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


Bob Boone: There is no one in major league baseball in a more awkward position than Bob Boone, the Phillies' Golden Glove catcher and the National League player representative. He has always been a hard worker anyway, but this year it's been doubly hard since he is rehabilitating his left knee after surgery in September. By night, however, he is often working on negotiation business which could lead to a players' strike, thus rendering nseless all his personal preparation for the season.


Q: With the strain of getting prepared for the season, how much has your responsibility as player representative affected you personally? 


A: They are totally divorced. They have to be. You do what you have to on and off the field. You learn to turn it on and turn it off. And as far as my representative responsibilities go, I check in with Marvin Miller every day to find out what's happening which is basically nothing. Some days there's a lot to do but not all the time. 


Q: Was there a moment in your career, a single incident perhaps, that politicized you and got you involved in the Players Association? 


A: No. not really. I got involved the first day I was here because I was concerned about all of us. And not from a political standpoint. I have an interest in things that affect my career and my life.


Q: Has it ever caused a strain with teammates? Surely, somewhere along the line somebody said, "Bob, I'd rather go along with the owners on this one." 


A: Untrue. There is no player who has ever said anything to me like that. 


Q: Has the unanimous support surprised you? Even back in 1972 there were a few holdouts. 


A: No, not at all. Look, this thing as been presented as the players "going along with Marvin Miller." That's not the case. All Marvin Miller is doing is telling the players where it stands and the players are voting on the strike position. There are no arguments or anything amongst players. They know the facts and they're voting. 


Q: But surely you, the players, wouldn't be where you are today without Miller? 


A: There's no question about that. But he started things and players are now aware of things themselves.


Q: Ruly Carpenter says he feels the players are underestimating the resentment of the fans toward a strike. How do you feel about that? Should that be a factor in the players' decision? 


A: No, it isn't a factor in the players' decision. But the players are certainly concerned with the future of the game. Baseball, for players more than management, has been their life, sometimes since they've been 2 or 3 years old. There's no way a player wants to ruin a game that has given him everything.


That isn't the problem. The problem is that the players aren't going to take anything less than they already have at the present time. Tbe thing that really concerns me is that this strike idea is squarely in the owners' court. If they start to bargain, a strike will be averted.


If not, the players really have no choice. 


Q: Do you think baseball can survive a strike? 


A: I don't know. But we came out of the other one pretty well. The game has been nothing but on the rise.


Q: How do you explain that? Doesn't it surprise you that the average working guy wasn't more resentful of the '72 strike and now of the bidding prices and salary structure for free agents? 


A:  There's a simple explanation. Baseball is a great game. What's going on politically has nothing to do with the way you swing a bat or throw the ball and that's what fans come to see? 


Q: Okay, but do you think there's a chance they'll be MORE resentful this MnBliH time because of the cur rent state of the economy and what's been going on in their own lives? 


A: I have no idea. I'm sure it's going to come out that the players are the ones in the black hats in this thing, but I don't know if there's any way you can ever resolve that problem. 


Q: Did you see the owners' withdrawal of their six-year salary scale proposal as any kind of hopeful sign? 


A: No, none at all. It's like saying here's something that shouldn't be existing in the first place and we're going to remove it and call it progress. But I don't know if that's the general feeling of our negotiators. I kind of think it is but I'm not sure. 


Q: Despite all the other stuff, the bottom line is still compensation anyway, correct? 


A: Yes, that's it. 


Q: You've seen, I guess, the owners' fact sheet which was distributed to the media. Did it surprise you that they did that? 


A: No, it didn't. I figured eventually it would come to that. It's obvious now that that is the tact they're going to take. And it's an effective one for them. The players can't do it. It's totally to their (the owners') advantage. 


Q: Do you have any more reason to feel optimistic about the negotiations today (this was three days ago) than you did at, say, the beginning of camp.


A: Personally? No, I don't. Whether the negotiators do or not, I can't say for sure. 


Q: Do you and Ruly Carpenter discuss the issues on a private basis? 


A: Yes, we've talked about things. We know each others' positions. 


Q: Would you agree that you play for an owner who might be a little more receptive to what the players want than other owners? 


A Ruly is an owner. Period.

Q&A – To strike or not to strike


Ruly Carpenter


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


Ruly Carpenter: At age 39, R.R.M. Ruly Carpenter is one of the youngest club presidents in the majors; he was the youngest when he became president of the Philadel phia Phillies on Nov. 22, 1972, succeeding his father, Bob Carpenter, who stepped up to chairman of the board. Carpenter is an avid baseball fan and is praised by many of the Phillies – particularly those who have come up through the organization like Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski and Larry Bowa – as being fair to his players.


Q: Isn't there anything the owners could' ve or should've done to establish a ceiling before the free agent prices got out-of-sight? 


A: Well, not collectively. When people sit down and start talking in those terms, you are subjecting yourself to all kinds of legal problems. You are, in essence, conspiring to fix a price. Now, you can negotiate something like that over the table like we're now in the process of doing, but there's nothing we could've done without keeping the (players') union informed. 


Q: At any rate, since there is such a top and bottom of quality in baseball, that type of thing wouldn't go over with the have-nots anyway, correct? 


A: Probably not. Let's just put it this way: Since the new reserve clause was instituted in 1976, the owners in baseball have been unable to show any kind of restraint or common sense with the salary structure. 


Q: The Phillies' salary structure could hardly be called modest but, with the one major exception of Pete Rose, the organization has done pretty well in keeping out of free agent price escalation. (Note: Besides Rose in 1978, the Phillies only other free agent signings were Richie Hebner in 1976 and Greg Gross in 1979.) Why haven't you gotten more involved? 


A: With the exception of Pete, I have refused to get involved in the re-entry draft to the extent that it would distort my existent salary structure. That is what I want to preserve. I deviated from it in Rose's case for many, many reasons, but I would have to say that it has paid off for us and I'd debate that point with anyone. 


But anyway, it's not the Rose kinds of signings that hurt the game. There are so many players in this most recent re-entry draft who are not what I consider quality players. This is the problem.


Q:  How have you been affected personally by the possibility of a strike and the accompanying tensions between player and management? 


A: It takes a lot out of me personally. It's taken a lot out of everyone. And I think the one thing everyone has failed to consider here is the bottom line and that bottom line is fan interest. 


I personally feel it's extremely difficult for the average fan, the working man, to identify with a man who is making an average salary of $130,000 to $140,000 out on strike. I just don't think they can identify with that.


Back in 1972 when the players struck, the average major leaguer salary might have been maybe $30,000 or, at tops. $40,000. the average working guy might've been making $10,000 or $15,000. Well, he can understand it maybe. He thinks, "Hell, this guy's a major leaguer, a highly-skilled guy. Maybe he should be making two or even three times what I make."


But now you're talking about cases where players are making 10 times what the average guy makes. And in some cases, a player might make more in one year than some of these people make in a lifetime. You've really got problems then. Fan interest is a helluva' thing to gamble with. Since Marvin Miller has been touring the camps and getting those unanimous votes, I've noticed tremendous resentment on the part of the fans.


Sure, they've been attending spring training games, but the players haven't voted to strike yet. They've only voted to authorize a strike if certain things don't happen. I really fear what's going to happen if a strike is authorized. 


Q: Well, I don't know. The game survived it once, in 1972.


A: It's different now. There's real bitterness. I've listened to the fans on a few talk shows back in Philly and I've heard their comments down here.


Q: Couldn't some of the fans be just as mad at the owners? In many cases, maybe most cases, the owners are also in that special breed of people who make more in a year than a fan in a lifetime. And the owners have been doing it for a longer time than most of the players. 


A: Yes, but there has been nowhere near the kind of increase for the owners like there has been for the players. It's not even close. That's what we're talking about. Things getting too far out of hand too suddenly and showing no signs of stopping. 


Anyway, I'd rather have the fans mad at me than at the players. Once the fans become angry with the players, it's very destructive for the owners. They don't pay $6.50 for a box seat to come and watch Paul Owens and me sit at the 400 level at Veterans Stadium. They pay to watch these athletes perform. You turn the fans oft and it's destructive for the ownership because that's what we're trying to sell, not ourselves. 


Q: How do you think the average player reacts to your fear of turning off the fan? Don you think the average player is receptive to fan interest, too? 


A: Well. I guess I'm not sure anymore. I think they're extremely foolish if they don't consider the fan' involvement. If they do opt to strike. I would like any player to explain to me how they feel a strike would be in the best interest of baseball's future.


Q: I would think they'd be unable to do it. But they would say in return that the owners' unwillingness to negotiate compensation is not helping the game, either. I guess they'd say that, yes, fan interest is an issue but it cannot be the sole one. 


A: Well, it SHOULD be the main factor. Fan involvement is not only how many people you put through the turnstiles but also your television ratings on a local and national basis and all the other things that go into generating income for baseball. It's all predicated on fan interest.

It’s impossible to pretend that everything is the same


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


CLEARWATER, Fla. – The games go on for a few hours each afternoon as they always have. But it is impossible to pretend anymore that everything is the same. 


"I'm coming out to see them now;" said Gerald Forster, a retired postal worker from New York City, "because I don't think there's going to be nothing going on after April 1. To me, it takes something out of it." 


As the April 1 deadline gets closer and closer, the negotiating teams which are trying to prevent professional baseball's second strike in nine years appear to be farther and farther apart. 


The Toronto Blue Jays on Friday became the 16th major league team to support a strike mandate by the Major League Players Association. In contrast to 1972 – when at least A couple players from each team said they would rather carry bats than picket signs – this year's mandate has the near-unanimous support of the players. The count stands at about 620-1. the lone holdout a Kansas City Royal whose name was not released. 


The negotiating teams – the owners' headed by Ray Grebey the players' by Marvin Miller – are meeting irregularly. Miller, in fact, is rarely in one place since he has to travel from camp to camp to take a strike vote.


In the time-honored methodology of teachers' associations and school boards, which begin hacking out any labor disagreements right around Labor Day, the Grebey-Miller teams will probably hold a few marathon discussions just before the April 1 deadline given by the players' association. 


Earlier in the week, some progress was announced in the talk; well, some progress was announced by the owners anyway. In what Grebey side said was a concession and what many on Miller's side said was an empty gesture, the owners withdrew their salary scale proposal which set limits on salaries for the first six years of a player's major league career. 


There was some bitterness between the sides when the owners announced their withdrawal of the salary scale proposal through the press. They sent a "fact sheet" to all of the major league clubs and urged them to distribute copies to the media covering their respective teams. This was a reversal of previous policy set by Grebey when he said. "We will not negotiate in the media." 


There has, in truth, been some give-and-take on issues like the pension plan and structured salaries, but the primary stumbling block to an agreement remains – the owners' compensation clause for free agents. Grebey's side says the clause is a reasonable solution to the skyrocketing bidding wars which have been going on since 1976, the year the most recent contract gave the players the right to negotiate freely in a re-entry draft when their contracts ran out. 


The compensation clause the owners want works like this: 


► If a player is selected by zero to three clubs, no compensation need be given to the club losing the free agent player. 


► If a player is selected by between four and seven clubs, an amateur draft choice would have to be given to the club losing the free agent player. 


► If a player is selected by between eight and 13 clubs, an amateur draft choice plus one major or minor league player not on club's 15-man protected list would be the compensation. 


Under current baseball compensation procedure, if a team signs a player drafted by more than two clubs, it is required to give the player's previous club a No. 1 choice in the ensuing draft of amateur players. If fewer than two teams draft a player, no compensation is required. 


The most dominant fear of the Players Association, according to Miller, is that teams who are not committed to participating in the free agent draft (Cincinnati for one and even the Phillies to a lesser degree might select as many players as possible in an effort to drive up compensation. According to that scenario, then, teams would be scared off free agents and would eventually act to eliminate them entirely.


Also, from the standpoint of the players there is the unspoken rule of labor negotiation at work here namely that you do not set the precedent of surrendering something you already have. And the players feel they have an adequate compensation system that has helped the game grow faster from the standpoint of spectators in the last four years than in any time in its history. 


"Well, I really don't know all the issues involved here," said Gerald Foster, adjusting the bill of his long fishing cap, "and sometimes I wonder if all the players do. But if it comes down to a strike, and there's no games this season, I know the world'll go on. At least, my world will."

Munninghoff’s ‘ready’, but he’s not making the decisions


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


CLEARWATER, Fla. – Manager Dallas Green, his coaches and general manager Paul Owens spent last night playing surgeon, slicing off a few parts and leaving a few others, deciding what is not absolutely necessary to the functioning of a healthy major league baseball team. 


And the fineness of the line between who goes and who stays is perhaps best illustrated by a young, right-handed pitcher by the name of Scott Andrew Munninghoff. 


With the exception of Steve Carlton, no pitcher in the Phillies' camp has been more impressive than Munninghoff who pitched two scoreless innings in yesterday afternoon 3-0 victory over Houston at Jack Russell Stadium. Yet, it appears, in the immortal words of Dallas Green, "the numbers are going to get him." 


The first squad cuts are scheduled to be announced today although Green said he might wait until Tuesday afternoon, after the Phils play a game at Jack Russell against the Mets in the morning. The best guess is that it will be announced today although the only safe bet about spring training is that no games will be snowed out. 


The numbers' Green constantly refers to are formidable. There are 22 pitchers in camp and only 10 will go North on April 8. But Munninghoff. according to the scorecard of most of the media covering the Phillies, was given a chance of beating those numbers. It appears now that he won't if Green's statement stands. 


Munninghoff has pitched seven innings this spring, allowing four hits and just one run. He has struck out six and given up only one walk. But more than his stats, is his reputation. A couple of veterans have commented on his toughness an, more to the point, so have some of the other pitchers, like Dickie Noles and Kevin Saucier who are also battling for a spot on the roster. Green sees that quality, too. 


"He does have a lot of poise," said Green of the 21-year-old Munninghoff. "You can see the nervousness in a lot of the young pitchers down here, like Bob Walk, but not with Munninghoff. He's a very tough competitor." 


Actually, Munninghoff probably didn't have a chance of sticking even if he pitched even better than he did. The Phillies figure they don't need another right-handed starter in their immediate future (they have Nino Espinosa. Dick Ruthven, Larry Christenson and, perhaps, Noles), so Munninghoff will be converted to a "long man" to come out of the bullpen in the early innings. 


"I think that's the project we're going to start (presumably at Oklahoma City) with Munninghoff this year," said Green. "He's so young in terms of innings pitched. It's just a matter of acclimating his arm to pitching every day instead of pitching every fourth day. And it is a mental change for him, too. We have to talk to him and explain the different situations he's going to encounter as a reliever." 


The Phillies also like Munninghoff as a reliever because he is a sinkerball pitcher and keeps the ball down. The majority of his outs this spring have been groundball outs. 


In a situation that is typical of major league baseball. Munninghoff has not been apprised of his own status. In fact, when a reporter repeated Green's quote about the numbers getting him. Munninghoff said that's the first indication he's had. 


"I gave myself an in-between chance when I came down this year," said Munninghoff, who was 17-7 and 14-9 in his last two seasons at Spartanburg and Reading. "You never really know. It's always a numbers game for a young player like me." 


Munninghoff isn't even sure of his status as a reliever. 


"They haven't told me if they want me as a short man or a long man," said Munnighoff. "just that they like me as a reliever because I keep it down. I've been a starter for three years now and, well, I guess I do like it better. It's easier to get ready when you know you're going every four or five days. But I'll get used to it." 


Munninghoff, the Phillies' number one pick in the draft of 1977 looked like a dud in his first season when he was 0-5 with a 5.52 ERA at Auburn. 


"When I was first signed, I had a pulled muscle in my arm and I really didn't get it together at all," said Munninghoff. "Plus, I had very poor mechanics. I used to rush everything and I really did have a lot to learn.


But I think I learned it. 


"Do I think I'm ready this year? Well, yes, I guess I do. But I'm not making that decision." 


NOTES: Carlton worked the first five innings against Houston, giving up three hits and no runs. In 11 innings in three games. Carlton has given up only one run and has looked extremely sharp…


So has Mike Schmidt. He had two singles in three trips yesterday and is now an outlandish 9-for-13 .692) for the spring…


Garry Maddox knocked in one run with a long double to center in the seventh, then scored himself on a suicide squeeze by Larry Bowa. the Phillies' second such play of the Grapefruit League season.