Wilmington Morning News - March 5, 1980
Bowa is hurting – right in the wallet
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Larry Bowa is hurt.
"No, make that bleeping hurt," snapped the Phillies' shortstop. "I just can't believe this is happening."
Nothing physical, mind you. It's just that Bowa has suddenly found out he's way down the National League pay scale for shortstops.
And after all, when you're No. 1 at your trade year after year and find out most of the other guys around the league are making tons more money, you suffer inside and eventually that hurt has to come out.
The Phillies officially opened spring training yesterday at Carpenter Field and before Manager Dallas Green convened his first team meeting, Bowa let his unhappiness spill around his locker.
Later, the day became even more difficult for Green when reporters wondered why Steve Carlton was not required to run sprints like all the other pitchers.
Apparently, the left-hander will be a special case.
Bowa, 34, completed his 10th season with the Phils last fall and is currently earning $300,000 a year through 1982. Apparently, when St. Louis signed shortstop Garry Templeton to a long-term pact at an estimated $700,000 per, Bowa thought it was time he investigated the salaries of other shortstops. Marvin Miller, executive director of the Major League Players Association sent him the confidential list.
"I couldn't believe it," said Bowa. He then rattled off the names of Houston's Craig Reynolds, Cincinnati's Dave Concepcion, Los Angeles' Bill Russell, New York's Frank Taveras and Pittsburgh's Tim Foli as those who earn more than him.
"I'm not saying I should be the top, but I'm saying that I should be paid comparable," added Bowa. "I don't think I am worth $600,000 or $700,000, but I am the lowest-paid starting player on our team. No, I am not in a class with Pete Rose ($810,000), but if Nolan Ryan gets a million a year from Houston, Pete should get 2 million.
"I have been here 10 years and I have been consistent. Garry Templeton may hit .320 for the next 50 years – he better hit .320!"
Bowa and Concepcion are generally considered the best shortstops in the league and until the new editions of press guides were released, Bowa thought his Cincinnati counterpart was far ahead in offensive statistics.
"The stats don't lie," said Bowa. "I thought Davey had a lifetime average of about .285, but it's only .270 and mine is .263. We both have 10 years in. And I have more hits (1,552 to 1,268) than he has. The only place he really has an advantage is in home runs (70-11) and runs batted in (529-351)."
Bowa, of course, has been the best defensive shortstop for years. He has made just 128 errors during the past decade for a percentage of .982, a major league record.
"I was told all along if I hit .200 the way I play defense, forget about raising the average," he said. ' I didn't want it that way. I worked hard; I became a respectable hitter. If somebody had told Ruly Carpenter or Paul Owens 10 years ago that I would have a .263 lifetime average, they would have said no way."
Bowa's feelings will be soothed if Carpenter, the team president, or Owens, player personnel director, picks up the phone and gives him a call.
"At least call me up and tell me they aren't going to do anything," said Bowa. "Call me up and tell me the other guys are overpaid and the Phillies can't go higher. I signed a contract and I will honor it I am not going to renegotiate, but I think something should be done whether they extend me or give me some extra money. I am not going to walk out. If I wanted to, I could say, 'Screw it and not play, not come to spring training.' I am not going to do that.
"It bugs me more than anything else because my way of living is not so extreme that I need the extra money. But I have worked so hard and have accomplished a lot, yet when you look at the whole list of shortstops, I am way down there. I'll tell you what. If I went to arbitration, I wouldn't have one single worry."
Bowa says his one regret is that everyone close to the front office knows how much he wants to play baseball for the Phillies.
"I'll run through a brick wall for those guys," he said. "But my father has told me that all along I shouldn't let them know how much I want to play, that that was a mistake. If I had it to do over again, I would have a different attitude. I wouldn't be nonchalant, but more firm.
"I am the first to admit when I first came up if somebody had said I would be making $300,000 a year, I would have laughed at him. That IS a lot of money – a hundred thousand is a lot of money, but the fact remains if they are going to give it out, let's be fair about it. If they don't have the money, then don't give it out. If they say they are bankrupt, then OK. Take my money and I'll play for whatever they want to pay. I have been fair, but I was told I was one of the top three or four paid players on the team. I believed them, but that was a bleeping lie. There are some pitchers on this team who have done nothing who are making just as much as I am."
Bowa became pensive for a moment, obviously not finished.
"They want me to hit eighth this year. OK, I have accepted that. They say Manny Trillo should bat second because he is more comfortable there. What does that mean? Because I am hitting eighth I don't want to play? They know I am going to yell and scream, but when the gun sounds I am going out there and bust my butt, I am going to dive for balls and do everything I can to win.
"I have worked hard this winter, but I feel like I have ' to prove something to these people. I have played 10 years and done almost everything out there, but I still feel in my mind I have to prove I can play.
"I am ready to hit eighth. I won't say a word to him (Green) about that. Don't let him bug me, about little things and I will be all right."
• • •
Green said all along that Carlton would run sprints with all the other pitchers, but when yesterday's workout ended, the left-hander did not join them; He did, however, run laps with the whole squad prior to the workout.
"I said all winter long that Steve Carlton is in better physical shape than most pitchers I have ever seen," commented Green. "Others are unable to go through the physical conditioning routine he goes through. I tried it and was unable to do it. He ran around the field and shagged fly balls in the outfield. Believe me, I am not a drill sergeant."
EXTRA POINTS – Outfielder Lonnie Smith and catcher Bob Boone were missing from the workout... Smith is fighting the snow drifts in South Carolina and Boone, the National League player representative, attended a meeting with Miller in Tampa... This is the 34th year the Phillies have .trained in Clearwater... Green was excited about trim Greg Luzinskl, but worried about a pulled groin muscle that is hampering pitching prospect Marty Bystrom... Vice President Bill Giles arrived and reported that he has made arrangements with United Airlines for 20 of the Phils' 30 trips to be via charter.
Strike stance authorized by players’ executive board
By Ralph Bernstein, AP Sports Writer
TAMPA, Fla. – The executive board of baseball's players association yesterday authorized striking the opening of the 1980 season if a new labor contract is not reached with major league club owners.
The action was disclosed after a nearly five-hour meeting between the executive board and its director, Marvin Miller.
Miller said that a resolution was adopted directing him to seek ratification of the strike action by major league players.
Miller said the board would meet again April 1st in Dallas to consider the status of the 16 week old negotiations and take whatever action warranted at that time.
Miller explained that the strike action, if ratified by the players, would be taken on or after April 1. The season is scheduled to open April 9.
Miller added, however, that the board hoped movement is shown by management and that the players remain hopeful that an agreement can be promptly concluded.
Miller said, "Accordingly, the players association calls upon the owners to commence bargaining in good faith, in a serious attempt to reach an agreement."
Miller said that during the last four years of the contract that expired Dec. 31 and that introduced the free agent re-entry draft, baseball had experience unparalleled prosperity.
"The game has reached record attendance levels each year and achieved record television contracts for the next four years.
"Against this background, it is not appropriate for management to try and turn back the clock and cut."
Miller said management has not yet chosen to bargain in good faith.
Ray Grebey, the owners' chief negotiator, had no immediate comment.
Miller said that during the 23 negotiating sessions thus far, management has proposed a radical departure from the way player salaries traditionally are negotiated.
The players union executive director said management had proposed a maximum salary structure with incremental increases each year for all players with less than six years of major league experience.
"In most instances this (salaries) would fall below the 1979 average in each group," Miller said.
"If adopted, this would reduce salaries in the 0-6 year period by approximately 30 percent.''
He said the owners also had demanded a major change in compensation for clubs that lose a free agent. They want a major league player instead of an amateur draft pick.
"This is intended to impair the freedom of bargaining power for ' free agents which would seriously reduce salaries for those with more than six years of service," Miller said.
"It would open the door for practical elimination of free agency," Miller added.
Miller also said that the owners' proposed pension changes were a blatant attempt to deny players their traditional share of national television revenues. He said the players firmly believe that this share must be maintained.
"It has been the basis of each negotiation on pension issues since 1966," Miller said.