Today is deadline day for the Cubs and the Red Sox to come to an agreement on compensation for the latter allowing Epstein out of his contract to join the former. As Pete Abe reports in the Globe, there has been no real progress and it looks as though it will all be thrown into Bud Selig’s lap for resolution.
Which I have to assume is what everyone involved wants. The sort of negotiation going on there has to be awkward. Think about it: the team who was — for lack of a better term — jilted is in the position of arguing how valuable Epstein was and the team who desperately wanted him and paid big money for him arguing that, nah, he’s not worth a ton. Better to let Selig decide.
I would love to see his ruling be a crazy one: the Sox have to give John Lackey to the Cubs and the Cubs have to give Alfonso Soriano and $11.75 million to the Red Sox. The money would even out then, each would be stuck with a near-useless player and it would have the added poetry of making each team wear a scarlet “A” to memorialize their asinine free agent signing.
Sadly, I don’t think Bud has the flair for that kind of literary justice.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.