Yesterday Bud Selig, when talking about baseball’s recent harmonious relationship with the players’ union, said “In American labor history it’s probably as bad a relationship as ever existed.”
Rob Neyer — who knows a few things about history — wasn’t going to sit for that. He detailed a handful of labor disputes that, with all due respect to Bud “Abner Doubleday, in conjunction with the Great Gazoo and the saucer people, invented baseball” Selig, were a tad worse than the 1994-95 strike. I won’t spoil it for you because I want you to read it yourself, but here’s a hint: unless the owners employed Baldwin-Felts agents to crack picketing players’ skulls when none of us were looking, the baseball strike doesn’t make a top 1000 list of ugly labor disputes in American history.
I think history is going to be more kind to Bud Selig than a lot of us are on a day-to-day basis, because he’s done a pretty good job with the broad strokes. But man, when you think that baseball has been run by judges and senators and generals and comparative literature professors cum Ivy League presidents, it’s kind of galling to be reminded that it’s currently being run by a used car salesman who lacks even a basic grasp on history.