Reading Eagle - March 27, 1980

Players, Owners Battle


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) – The Meeting that will determine if and when major league baseball players will go on strike is less than a week away, yet club owners and players remain miles apart on a new four-year basic agreement.


“I’m not optimistic until I see a reason to be,” said Marvin Miller, the director of the Players Association, after negotiations between owners and players reopened Wednesday. Miller said no movement was made on any of several key issues during the session, which lasted just under two hours.


“The owners are not seeking a strike,” said Ray Grebey, chief owners’ negotiator. “But at the same time, they feel very strongly about their proposals.


“We’ve had very constructive negotiations so far,” he added.


The two sides planned to meet again today and Friday.


Miller is also meeting this week with members of several teams to outline what is going on in the talks and to discuss the possibility of a strike. He met Wednesday with 40 members of the San Francisco Giants and 22 players from the Cleveland Indians, who voted unanimously to authorize a strike is no agreement is reached by April 1. Of the nearly 800 players to vote thus far only one, on the Kansas City Royals, has voted against strike authorization.


Barring a major breakthrough soon, “it’s been pretty much decided we’ll have to take some sort of strike action. The question is when,” said Gary Levelle, the Giants’ player representative.


“We’re so far apart that everything is questionable,” said Indians’ player representative Wayne Garland.


“The meetings have been pretty much a standstill,” said San Diego pitcher Randy Jones, who attended Wednesday’s negotiations.


Player representatives from all the major league teams plan to meet with Miller in Dallas April 1 to decide whether to strike, if an agreement is not reached by then.


The talks apparently are deadlocked over several issues, the most important involving the free agent system.


The owners want a modification in the system that would increase the compensation a team could get after losing a highly-sought free agent.


For example, Grebey noted, when Pete Rose was signed as a free agent by Philadelphia, the Cincinnati Reds in return “got a young gentlemen (whose) chance of moving from the rookie league to the major leagues is one in 10.” The owners believe the Reds deserved more than that, Grebey said, and are proposing that a team losing a highly-regarded free agent should be allowed to select a player from the roster of the agent’s new team.


The free agent’s new team would be permitted to protect 15 players from that selection process, but players believe nevertheless that few teams would be willing to sign a free agent if they could end up losing their 16 best player.


Among other items remaining on the bargaining table, including whether players should receive a piece of baseball’s television revenues and whether a player of four years service or less should be restricted to a one-year contract.

Schmidt B-L-A-S-T-S Mets With 2 Homers


By The Associated Press


Mike Schmidt, who once hit a speaker hanging from the top of the Astrodome ceiling and has sent residents across the street from Chicago’s Wrigley Field scrambling to avoid his home run shots, can add St. Petersburg, Fla., to his list of conquered cities.


Despite his career of long louts, Schmidt called his home run off Juan Berenguer in Philadelphia’s 9-8 exhibition victory over the New York Mets Wednesday “the hardest I’ve ever hit a ball in my life.”


The blast, estimated at 450 feet, easily cleared the fence and nearly bombed the Bayfront Center Auditorium across the street.


Schmidt had another homer and knocked in six runs Wednesday, giving him a spring batting average of .480, with 11 RBI in eight games, four homers and nine runs scored. But he takes a reserved approach to the significance of spring statistics.


“I’ve had the best spring in the world and had a bad year,” he said. “I’ve had mediocre springs and had a great year.


“Down here all I want to do is get mentally and physically ready. Statistics mean nothing, and I’ve said that in springs when I hit .050.

“The game’s always fun when you’re hitting the ball, whether it’s winter or whether it’s a softball game.”


Elsewhere in spring games, Cleveland edged San Francisco 3-2, Seattle outlasted San Diego 8-6, the Chicago Cubs nipped California 2-1, Los Angeles bombed St. Louis 12-8, Houston tripped Boston 5-3, Texas beat Montreal 6-2, Atlanta topped Cincinnati 6-2, Minnesota whipped Pittsburgh 4-1, Oakland beat Milwaukee 7-2, Toronto blanked Kansas City 2-0, the Chicago White Sox shut out the New York Yankees 1-0 and the Detroit Tigers bombed the Baltimore Orioles 7-3.


Designated hitter Steve Kemp did the damage for Detroit, driving in five runs with a three-run homer and a double against Baltimore.


Matt Keough, who was 2-17 for Oakland last season, won his third straight spring training game with a solid seven-inning performance as the A’s beat the Brewers. Dave Revering homered for Oakland.


Steve Trout allowed only six hits in eight innings and Glenn Borgmann hit an eighth-inning homer off Tom Underwood in Chicago’s defeat of the Yankees. Chicago got only five hits off Ron Guidry, Luis Tiant and Underwood.


Rico Carty slammed a two-run homer and five Toronto pitchers stopped Kansas City on six hits as the Blue Jays beat the Royals.


Preston Hanna won his fourth straight spring game with four scoreless innings as the Braves defeated the Reds. Glenn Hubbard had a three-run double for Atlanta.


Danny Heep had three hits, including a homer, and Joe Niekro pitched six hitless innings in the Astros’ defeat of the Red Sox.


Steven Ontiveros hit a two-run double in the six inning and Rick Reuschel pitched six strong innings to lead the Cubs over the Angels.


Left-hander Geoff Zahn pitched seven strong innings and Jose Morales had three hits, scored two runs and knocked in another as Minnesota defeated the Pirates.


Rick Honeycutt and Rick Anderson combined for three hits in eight innings and Seattle survived a nine-inning rally to beat San Diego. The Padres scored five runs on six hits in the ninth, including a three-run homer by Jim Beswick, while the Mariners pounded 15 hits.