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Over the next few weeks, I’ll be emailing out sections of a larger story, titled “Labor peace is a lie.” Here’s part three, on Bud Selig’s transition from owner to “acting” commissioner. If you missed any of the other five parts, you can find them here.
The rise of Bud Selig
Bud Selig wasn’t MLB commissioner in 1990. He was the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, and a central figure in every labor dispute. He was one of the colluding owners, and a ringleader of the ‘90 lockout — he even attempted to divide the union by exploiting the different concerns of its age groups, secretly negotiating with veterans like Brewers’ star Paul Molitor, who just wanted to get back to work and cash his already-large paychecks at the expense of those younger players still working toward or within their arbitration years.
There were cracks in the union, and while the Players Association held firm during the 1990 lockout and 1994 strike, through failure Selig had figured out how to widen those cracks and start earning wins for the owners once again.