Recently, in these pages, I made a case for a way of discussing books in a manner conducive to NotGraphs. You can read those exact words, if you want. Alternatively, you can just believe me when I say that the basic idea is to share lightly annotated passages and ideas from interesting baseball-related books.
Reggie Jackson: The Life and Thunderous Career of Baseball’s Mr. October by Dayn Perry
A Note on Very Bad Behavior
One impression that is impossible not to have while reading Mr. Perry’s book is how poorly behaved basically every single one of its protagonists is. A’s owner Charlie Finley? A miserly emotional terrorist. George Steinbrenner? Less miserly than Finley, but more — I don’t know — nakedly tyrannical (?). Billy Martin? Almost definitely a victim of untreated borderline personality disorder. Jackson himself? Less self-esteem, and a greater proclivity for drama, than every 15-year-old girl everywhere.
A Note on Aesthetics
The book has compelled me to do a number of image searches. Here’s what one learns while doing so: the 1970s, aesthetically speaking, were pretty dominant — or, if not dominant per se, at least hairier.
A Note on the Dave Winfield Situation
Dave Winfield signed with the Yankees before the 1981 season. “How did Reggie Jackson feel about this?” maybe you’re wondering. As Perry’s account of the situation reveals, “Not so great,” is the answer, on account of Winfield’s contract — 10 years, $23 million — was easily the highest in baseball time and dwarfed what Jackson was being paid.
A bit of research reveals two notable notes about the Winfield situation beyond Jackson’s discontent.
1. Steinbrenner mistakenly thought he was signing Winfield for $16 million.
You’ll have to ask the internet more questions about this than I’m capable of providing, but it’s still an actual fact.
2. There was something called the Re-entry Draft.
Winfield had to go through a thing called the Re-entry Draft.
First off: “Re-entry Draft.” That’s what she said, amirite?
Second off: here’s what that thing even was, courtesy of the BR Bullpen:
The Free Agent Reentry Draft was a short-lived system through which teams selected free agents with which they wished to enter into negotiations. The Draft was created with the advent of widespread free agency following the 1976 season…
The purpose of the draft was nominally to prevent one team from signing a great number of free agents, and to put a limit on a player’s bargaining leverage. Teams had to select which of the free agents of that year’s class they wished to bid on. They could only select a limited number of players, and there was also a limit to the number of teams that could select a single player. The players were then limited to signing a contract with one of the teams that had selected them. However, there was an out clause: if a player was selected by three teams or fewer, he was deemed to be available to all teams.
The reentry draft system was scrapped after the 1981 strike, to be replaced by the Free agent compensation draft, which was meant to address another perceived problem of free agency, the lack of adequate compensation paid to teams losing a front-line player through free agency.
Below is an article (the beginning of it, at least) about the event, by now-blogger Murray Chass, from the Nov 14, 1980 edition of the New York Times. Please note that Joe Torre is large and in charge.
Image stolen shamelessly from Kadir Nelson.
Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.