I went to law school during my playing days,
advised players once I became a lawyer,
and later organized the Baseball Players’ Fraternity
I didn’t call it a union
or affiliate it with organized labor,
and in retrospect those were both mistakes
During its existence the Fraternity did secure some reforms,
but without a collective-bargaining agreement
they could be, and often were, taken away
at the whim of the National Commission
And at various times
I was too conservative, or not conservative enough:
too conservative in not making it clear
that the reserve clause was for one year only;
too conservative in not even trying
to set up a pension for retired players;
not conservative enough when I tried
to organize a strike of all players,
not just those already in the majors,
the failure of which for all practical purposes
ended the Fraternity
A real players’ union would have to wait decades
for both changed circumstances and effective leadership