credit card transfer offers unauthorized credit card charges police report chase prepaid card build credit what to know when applying for credit card bank of america terms and conditions for credit cards us bank credit card processing 0 financing credit card balance transfers instant online cash loans eliminate credit card debt new payday loan direct lenders 2012 credit card interest rate per month calculator same day cash loans for unemployed compare credit card machines apply for credit card online instant decision different types of credit cards in us iphone credit card processing comparison secured credit cards for bad credit with rewards lost visa card uk first horizon credit card bad credit payday loans online direct lenders free mastercard credit card number jcpenney credit card account phone number what is the best prepaid credit card for online use capital 1 credit card ppi claims cash out prepaid visa card black credit card no limit hyatt credit card authorisation form how to pay hdfc credit card payment options merchant credit card rate comparison mastercard securecode uk how can we pay lic premium using credit cards same day payday loans online direct lenders online credit card services natwest how to use natwest credit card points business credit card no cash advance fee bank of america credit card international fees president choice credit card lost can you get cashback with a capital one credit card amazon credit card payment phone number best zero percent credit cards 2013 chase credit cards for students icici credit card reward points mint natwest online credit card payments how to get a credit card with no credit history yahoo answers accept credit cards everyday rewards cards au credit card payment approval form direct payday lenders no third party bad credit what is the best credit card for rewards points test credit card numbers for testing free black card nandos 70 000 mile american express delta credit card dubai first credit card offers prepaid credit card reviews canada santander credit card 0 purchases online visa card generator citibank business credit card offers chase credit card visa southwest portable credit card machine hire what is the best credit card deal at the moment apply for hsbc platinum credit card online pay as you go credit card visa canada loans you can pay back weekly cash loans with bad credit history can you pay household bills with a credit card new uk resident credit card ebay credit card payment problems visa credit card insurance uk how to use fake credit card information discover credit card reviews 2013 how to get your first credit card with no credit standard chartered credit card login uae compare credit cards rewards travel good first credit card for students capital one credit cards for no credit history rbs 18 month interest free credit card can i get a credit card with bad credit and no job credit cards for new business owners unsecured credit card bad credit no deposit required can you link prepaid credit card paypal virgin credit card uk gnc gold card discount best credit card for business travel low interest payday loans no credit check prepaid credit cards with overdraft what is the security code on your credit card 6 months interest free credit card australia free no annual fee credit cards credit card charge approval form online credit card prepaid find pre approved credit card offers online application for credit card sbi bank icici credit card apply online in coimbatore best business credit card credit card number validation using javascript credit card merchant credit card calculator spreadsheet template aaa bank of america credit card login apply for credit card bad credit history wells fargo mobile credit card processing small business loans for veterans with bad credit cheap credit cards for bad credit history ipad credit card app australia get a credit card quickly black card credit score requirements american express delta credit card td canada trust student visa application direct payday loan lenders uk credit cards for small business with bad credit paypal credit card verification not working chase credit card no balance transfer fee vodafone to airtel balance transfer code what to look out for when applying for a credit card hbc mastercard benefits what are the best credit cards for students in canada secured personal loans with bad credit best credit cards to have with fair credit citibank credit card singapore business loans with bad credit rating black cardigan women;s cheap best payday cash advance loans closing low limit credit cards check credit history free without credit card platinum card concierge review bank of america international credit card charges can prepaid credit cards be used abroad td canada trust credit card car rental citibank credit card apply online in india average credit card apr chase credit card terminal app review barclays platinum credit card balance transfer cibc credit card lost or stolen best buy credit card account login cash back business credit card offers hdfc credit card instant payment online costco credit card merchant processing citibank credit cards australia transfer credit card balance to current account credit cards accepted at walmart canada tips for getting a first credit card student credit cards instant approval gap credit card services phone pay my first premier bank credit card bill united airlines credit card offer uk credit card protection insurance uk credit card number location manual credit card machine best us airways credit card offer 2013 diy iphone credit card stand chase united credit card foreign transaction fee whats an easy credit card to get with bad credit short term loans online south africa visa credit card application online usaa credit card score requirements hdfc bank toll free customer care number credit cards how to lower credit card interest rate apply for student credit card discover credits cards capital 1 lost or stolen credit card spg amex best credit card multiple credit card payoff calculator excel credit card apps for iphone best credit cards with rewards consumer report 0 interest credit cards offers 0 financing credit card offers best small business credit card cancel halifax credit card application quick payday loans for bad credit in south africa marriott rewards credit cards in uk best app for accepting credit cards ford motor company credit card application how much does it cost to accept credit card payments online hdfc credit card offer on goibibo credit card balance transfers 0 interest instant cash loans no brokers how does credit card interest work in india small business credit card transaction fees icici instant credit card charges how to know my icici credit card status list of real credit card numbers that work disney rewards credit card phone number marriott rewards credit card login uk fake us credit card number generator how to calculate your credit card interest payment does sams club accept credit cards visa horizon unsecured credit card reviews is it best to pay off high interest credit cards first hdfc credit cards payment online how do i apply for a reward zone mastercard walmart credit card cash back rules what credit card will accept me chase southwest rapid rewards credit card metlife monthly recurring credit card authorization form citibank platinum credit card review india best air travel rewards credit cards visa card canada td government travel credit card citi verifone credit card machine instructions activate td visa card online citibank credit card online banking premium credit cards credit card minimum payment calculator uk what is the best credit card for bad credit credit card rates ireland compare how do i sign up for itunes without a credit card can online payday lenders sue list of payday loan lenders uk no credit check prepaid creditcard nederland mastercard walmart credit card status check barclays credit card eligibility in india compare bank of america credit cards credit card 0 apr first 12 months credit card verification form korean air new york and company credit card payment number hello kitty credit card uk credit card interest rate calculator compare rcbc credit card online application philippines guaranteed credit card uk shell gas credit card find the best credit card for me canada i need a fake credit card number and security code should i pay off my student loans or invest sears credit card lower interest rate lost everyday rewards cards free online loan quote moneysavingexpert best cashback cards does applying for a credit card hurt your credit rating credit card acquiring bank definition cash same day payday loans visa black card benefits how to apply for a hsbc credit card in the philippines capital one secured credit card $3000 limit td canada trust visa debit security code sallie mae cash back visa 5 how to get a bad credit loan personal loan private black credit card natwest best 0 interest credit cards on purchases us airways mastercard natwest student credit card minimum payment zero balance transfer credit cards australia disney visa card application status cash back visa credit card canada visa card exchange rates currency do i need a credit card to rent a car in the uk pay my national city credit card online best no annual fee credit cards canada credit card prepaid to build credit top 50 credit card companies cash converters payday advance loans what is an immediate cash advance on a credit card ed sheeran nandos black card first american cash advance payday loan best credit card for travel rewards no annual fee how to get credit card in sbi bank household credit card application anz platinum card travel insurance terms and conditions best credit cards for balance transfers no fee online credit card security system rbc best visa card chase opt out of credit card offers citibank balance transfer credit card best credit card reward programme uk amazon visa rewards card application status art van ge credit card login pc richards ge capital credit card longest 0 interest credit card visa credit card details free test credit card numbers wikipedia how to remove halo reach credit limit compare 0 interest credit cards cash loans to your door uk list of online loan sharks stolen credit card numbers free 2013 platinum card american express travel credit cards instant approval good credit prepaid visa gift card td canada trust citibank australia credit card travel insurance best visa card for travel british airways credit card points cash advance lenders direct 0 credit card offers for good credit top credit card issuers in canada what;s the difference between secured and unsecured credit cards chase mastercard credit card best reward credit cards for students generate random credit card number federal grants for credit card debt relief halifax 0 interest credit card best lifetime free credit cards in india online cash loans for bad credit best credit card app for ipad 2 hdfc bank credit cards payment hbc mastercard best payday online loan companies cash loans online fast review marriott rewards chase credit card online union bank online application for credit card pay walmart credit card credit card verification process india who has the best credit card processing rates buy virtual credit cards bank of america credit card login mastercard petro canada credit card login top 5 credit card companies us canada business credit card comparison axis bank gold credit card online apply credit card with bonus miles offer singapore airlines credit card verification form bank of india credit card apply online in india is there any way to get a credit card under 18 credit card 0 interest rate credit card authorization form word template credit card offers for 600 credit score does virginia dmv accept credit cards credit card reader app for iphone uk how long before wells fargo secured credit card is unsecured credit card offers $500 cash back how do i calculate credit card interest pay best buy credit card online compare commonwealth bank credit cards bad credit loans no credit check online payday loan direct lenders reviews best credit card after bankruptcy 2009 visa credit card number hack suze orman credit card advice diners club international credit card switzerland us bank secured credit card application status phone number is an amazon credit card a good idea apply for barclays credit card online india average credit card interest rate united states hsbc gold credit card promo how to get a 30000 credit card limit new horizon credit card reviews lowest interest credit cards uk where to mail amazon credit card payments online loans in south africa no paperwork guaranteed unsecured credit cards for poor credit grocery store rewards cards mbna credit card offers uk halifax credit card ppi claim rejected credit cards for bad credit no processing fee how do i pay icici credit card bill online citi corporate credit card india how to get otp in hdfc credit card all unsecured credit cards bad credit get a credit card with no credit check very poor credit credit cards best buy reward credit card review wells fargo credit card cash advance apply for credit card online canada ppt on credit card fraud detection methods victorias secret credit card number location citi aadvantage credit card review how do i get my starbucks gold card mastercard credit card number example visa reward cards comparison what is a cash advance fee wells fargo what happened to fixed rate credit cards aventura credit card cibc cibc visa lost credit card how long does a bank of america credit card application take sear credit card offers mastercard careers sydney td low interest rate credit card how to get a cash advance on a visa credit card low rate credit cards uk counter offer credit card settlement file bankruptcy credit cards only sign up for chase freedom credit card virgin credit card uk postal address sbi credit card offers on flight booking 2013 the best credit card to have now discover credit card payment due date do all credit cards have ppi money magazine credit card ratings 2012 citibank platinum credit cards india where do i mail my walmart credit card payment black card magazine usa direct payday advance loans credit card interest free cash withdrawals fake credit card numbers with security code for itunes petro canada credit card application prepaid visa credit cards india o percent balance transfers credit card tata sbi credit card online payment black cardboard boxes nz cancel virgin credit card online is it good to have 2 credit cards credit card limit calculator australia free prepaid credit card generator credit card protection insurance india best credit card for a college student with no credit interest free credit cards for 18 months on purchases bmo secured credit card canada best uk credit card for overseas travel best uk credit card balance transfer how to get an itunes account without a credit card in uk payday loan lenders direct bad credit standard chartered credit card payment gateway best 0 balance transfer credit cards uk business credit cards for poor credit what is credit card issue number mastercard easy approval credit cards canada delta airlines credit card review how do interest free credit cards work types of online credit card fraud wells fargo secured credit card cash advance instant unsecured bad credit loans secured credit card in canada virgin mbna credit card minimum payment instant cash advance online australia hdfc credit card settlement india virgin credit card uk contact number black cardigan coat bank rakyat credit card application form visa credit card merchant fees buy prepaid credit card ireland unsecured bad credit personal loans instant decision discovery platinum credit card benefits sears application for credit card halifax credit card transfer deals square credit card reader android uk magnum cash advance reviews total us credit card debt what happens to your credit score when you cancel a credit card hsbc credit card dining offers cash advance payday loans online credit card balance transfer fee calculator credit card online application south africa where can i apply for credit cards with bad credit bad credit card offers unsecured easy approval credit cards unsecured costco credit card machine can you transfer from credit card to bank account credit card virtual terminal no monthly fee do you need a credit card to rent a car from avis business credit cards with bad personal credit credit card offers 0 purchases can you apply for an ikea credit card payday loan bad credit direct lenders only capital one credit card login to pay bill comenity pay lane bryant credit card best cash rewards credit card canada 2013 credit card visa number + security code sbi credit card offers 2013 bank of america student credit card bad credit credit cards unsecured instant approval uk bad credit cards instant approval barclay credit card contact number hsbc apply for credit card new credit card rules singapore prepaid credit card visa canada amazon uk credit card application reducing credit card debt credit score manhattan standard chartered credit card helpline hudson bay company credit card best credit cards 2013 canada best credit card cashback bonus best visa credit card for business who has the best cash rewards credit card what is the average minimum payment on a credit card capital one compare all credit cards how do i opt out of credit card applications virgin barclays credit card login credit union credit cards canada credit card issuers list wiki direct lender payday loans online no credit check mastercard credit card rental insurance citibank credit card application status singapore chase credit card visa customer service visa debit card application form pdf no foreign transaction fee credit card points guy best credit cards for small business owners unsecured instant approval credit cards gold card south west trains benefits wells fargo credit card services online visa prepaid credit card activation how does paying with a credit card work online usaa credit card cash advance limit amazon credit card payments instant unsecured credit card approval for poor credit capital one visa secured credit card bad credit bank accounts master credit card number generator best credit cards no interest 12 months how to apply maybank credit card machine high limit credit cards with low interest rates citibank credit card payment singapore best first credit card company the best credit cards 2013 malaysia best credit cards 2010 natwest credit card online banking ge capital credit card application virgin credit cards ppi best buy credit card apr how to get a 5 000 loan with bad credit axis bank credit card apply procedure what is one disadvantage of using a credit card to get a cash advance best credit card students no credit nhs cashback black card
Home Biz of Baseball - Interviews Interview - (Part 1) Dick Moss - MLBPA Legend & Agent

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 978 guests online

Atom RSS

Interview - (Part 1) Dick Moss - MLBPA Legend & Agent PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 102
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 17 July 2007 20:00
Dick Moss

In Major League Baseball history, there may not be a more seminal point in its history as the period in which the players organized themselves as a union, and started chipping away at the control that the owners had had over them since the dawn of professional baseball.

The movement and actions of the players seemed to mirror the events of the day in the United States. There was the Civil Rights movement. Vietnam. Watergate. Nixon’s resignation. The Watts riots. The counterculture movement. Ronald Reagan’s ascension... All within the period from the early ‘60s well into the ‘70s when the players took on the establishment – ergo, the owners and the commissioners of the day. "Change" seemed to typify history during this time in America, and baseball was no different.

The Biz of Baseball has been extremely fortunate to interview several key figures that were in places of power during that time. Former executive director of the Players Association Marvin Miller. Former commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Fay Vincent. Former GM, and executive vice-president of the Dodgers, Angels, and Padres Buzzie Bavasi, as well as Tal Smith, who was one of the first to pioneer the use of statistical analysis on management’s side of the table when free agency occurred in the mid-‘70s. Smith is current the President of Baseball Operations for the Houston Astros.

Now, The Biz of Baseball adds one other interview – one that is our most inclusive and expansive to date – with the former general counsel for the MLBPA and a man that would become one of the very first “super agents”, Dick Moss.

Moss is legendary in the sense that he witnessed every work stoppage in MLB – all eight of them. He was the general counsel when Curt Flood fought for the right to be a free agent during MLB’s reserve list period. He represented the much maligned Alex Johnson in arbitration, arguing that mental illness should be treated the same as a physical illness in Major League Baseball. He was a player agent for Nolan Ryan and Fernando Valenzuela, negotiating the first million dollar a year contract for Ryan, and the first million dollar salary arbitration case in 1983 for Valenzuela. And, he was able to argue before an arbitor to get Steve Howe reinstated in baseball after being banned from baseball for life due to drug abuse.

Moss has been there for all of this… and more.

Given Moss’ place in history, and the numerous key events that he has been a part of, this interview has been broken into two parts. The interview touches on all the points mentioned above in Part I and much, much more.

Part II of this interview will be coming very shortly. We hope you enjoy. – Maury Brown 

Maury Brown for The Biz of Baseball: John Helyar portrayed you as a “rabid Pirates fan” in his seminal book, Lords of the Realm, as did Marvin Miller in his autobiography, A Whole Different Ballgame. What’s your most vivid Forbes Field memory?

Dick Moss: That’s easy. The seventh game of the 1960 World Series.

Bizball: How did Miller approach you about leaving the Steelworkers Union and joining him as general council at the beginning of the Players Association as we know it today?

Moss: Well, Marvin was an old friend of mine. We worked together at the Steelworkers Union. When he was approached by the players regarding the Player’s Association, he asked me to advise him, and I sort of represented him during that whole process. At the end of it, he asked me to join it as general counsel.

Bizball: Did your love of the Pirates, and baseball in particular play a pivotal role in accepting the position with Miller? Making the jump to the Players Association was a pretty big career gamble, wasn’t it?

Moss: Not really. It was an interesting idea. My mother thought it was a gamble. She didn’t think it was a good job, you know. She thought, “You have a job, but you should have a different job. Something where you are not dealing with baseball players.” I ignored her advice and took the job anyway. I had just been promoted to assistant general counsel so there were other lawyers at the Steelworkers Union.

Some people think it would have been a gamble, but it really wasn’t.

Bizball: Can you recall what the first meetings between you and Miller were about once you were installed as general council?

Moss: Well, the first thing that was to be done after Marvin was retained was the negotiations regarding the Pension Agreement. In December, 1966, there was a Board meeting to be held in Pittsburgh. Marvin invited me to that meeting and introduced me to the players’ representatives at that time, as the new general counsel.

Bizball: For those that may not understand the differences between how the relationship between management and labor were in early years of the Players Association to how they are today, can you go over how some of the initial disputes, such as management’s issues over the players pension plan in 1966?

Dick Moss quote on Joe CroninMoss: There was a general issue that they were accepting it as a labor unionaccepting the legitimacy of it. It was as if they were treating it as if we were meddlers – outsiders in the business of baseball. That’s not right.

I remember in one of the early meetings, Joe Cronin, who was then the President of the American League, became very upset when we were talking about scheduling problems. Joe said, “This is none of the players’ business. This is our business.” And he got up and walked out of the meeting. It was little things like that that would happen.

Bizball: If there was a word to describe what management probably thought of Miller and you when it was clear you would not be simply “going along for the ride”, what do you think it was?

Moss: Well, Marvin tells the story about his first involvement when he went to the All-Star Game in 1966 – I think it was with Joe Cronin again. It was just after it was announced that he was the new Executive Director of the Players’ Association. And Joe said to him, “Marvin there’s something you’ve got to remember. Players come and go, but the owners are there forever.”

Bizball: We could talk on just the early days of the PA for one interview alone, but in the meantime, let me go through out some names and if you could, give me some thoughts or recollections on any events that were related to them during that time:

Bizball: Bowie Kuhn

Moss: Bowie was not involved in the very beginning. The National League counsel had Louis Carroll who was the Senior Partner in Louis’ firm; Bowie was more of a junior partner. When it came to negotiations it was always Carroll who was on the negotiating committee. Bowie came along later.

When he became the commissioner, Bowie adopted a philosophy that he was the commissioner of everybody in baseball, including the players. Therefore, he was sort of "neutral." Again, Marvin in his book, talked about a time that we were having a meeting with John Gaherin in John’s office and we cut Bowie out of the rear door because he had the pretense that he wasn’t involved in management.

Bowie was sort of an interesting character. He had the views and the roles of the commissioner and then he tried to convince us that he was going to be neutral, even though he was hired by the owners. Just sort of a ridiculous concept.

Bizball: John Gaherin

Moss: John was a professional negotiator/management guy. He always acted professional. I like John. He carried about his orders as best he could. Many times what he wanted people to do was not followed. I think honestly, he will go down as a professional and as an accomplished one, at that.

Walter O'MalleyBizball: Walter O’Malley

Moss: Well, Walter O’Malley is an especially interesting man. I am so appalled that both Walter O’Malley and Marvin Miller are not in the Hall of Fame.

O’Malley – for as long as Kuhn was thereO’Malley ran baseball. He was the most powerful force in baseball. There were many who used to call him the crocodile. What they were referring to was that he would take positions on various things and it would be like if you were going in one direction and then he went in another direction and then he went in another direction until he ended up where he wanted to be and he really controlled the others. That was all true in the Kuhn administration.

Bizball: Barry Rona

Moss: Barry was one of John Gaherin’s assistant’s. I have been trying to get in touch with him and he hasn’t returned my telephone calls. I don’t know why he’s mad at me but, I haven’t talked to Barry for many, many years. Barry was okay.

Bizball: Ed Fitzgerald

Moss: We didn’t really have much to do with Ed Fitzgerald. He played a role in the background at the time, on the management side.

Bizball: Gussie Busch

Moss: Gussie Busch was, uh… I think he was appalled about the idea that players would have a union. There was a time when a labor dispute ended in a strike. And at a owner’s meeting Gussie sat up and made this long ranting speech about how they had to take the players on, and not compromise. Walter O’Malley at one point stood up and said, “Gussie, sit down.” And that was the end of that.

Bizball: Curt Flood

Moss: Curt was a very lovely person. Curt and I shared the same view about the case that it was an anti-trust case, but it wasn’t really an anti-trust case, it was also a civil rights case, and Curt treated it that way.

He had been through a lot of prejudicial behavior early in his career. In Spring Training he wasn’t able to stay in the same hotel with other players. Not being able to go into the front door of restaurants and things like that. Those were humiliating experiences. He treated what happened to him as related to that, too. It was a question of dignity and human rights and while it wasn’t a question of a black/white matter, to him it was to him a broad civil rights matter and I feel that way about the case as well.

He was dedicated to it. He made an appearance before the Board in winter 1969, and we wanted him to make the appearance and be questioned about his motivations and his sincerity. And he was terrific and the Board voted unanimously to back his lawsuit.

Bizball: One of the more interesting cases you’ve been involved in… Charlie Finley, and the Jim Hunter contract violation, and Hunter’s ability to become a free agent due to the arbitor's ruling. The ruling and Hunter’s subsequent free agency showed what could happen if the Reserve Clause were revoked; a huge increase in the salaries that owners would offer star players. Finley said that he was going through difficulties with his personal relationship and his insurance company as the excuse for simply forgetting about the provisions within the contract wherein he was supposed to put one-half of his salary into an insurance company named by Hunter. What are your recollections of the case?

Dick Moss quote on Charlie FinleyMoss: The excuse that he had was, well… it was an excuse. There are a couple of cases I think that really changed the whole climate. The Hunter case was certainly one because it showed what a player’s real value was if they were free agents. Another was the Alex Johnson case. It was regarded in the press as outrageous, what we were trying to do, but Alex had problems and the arbitrator recognized it and history repeated in that context.

Bizball: Many casual fans of baseball have misunderstood what the Flood case was about. Whether it is that they see him as the man that broke the reserve clause, or was the first modern day free agent, his place in history has been clouded, for whatever reason.

Curt FloodCan you describe what Flood’s case meant in terms of the Players Association, to Flood himself, and what he did to advance the effort for further test cases against the Reserve Clause? (read the Supreme Court decision here)

Moss: The Reserve List at the time was enormous, and certainly one-sided.  We felt that was the way to solve the problem since we couldn’t negotiate it - the owners refused to negotiate on the subject. It came down to the Supreme Court deciding to just follow the older cases, starting with the Toolson decision.

It’s interesting that the case was decided, 5-3. One judge had a conflict of interest due to investments in Busch Breweries (editor’s note: Moss is referring to Justice Lewis F. Powell. Busch, at that time, owned the Cardinals, for whom Flood was to be traded to the Phillies from) So it was one-sided. So, if the court had been the same when the case was filed, I think we would have won it.  There were two Nixon appointments made in the interim, and that worked against us (editor’s note: there were actually three appointments during the interim, as outlined in Miller’s bio). Even though it’s ridiculous to say that baseball is not involved in interstate commerce, it kept that ruse up. But, at that time it was treated as the Reserve System was broken.

Bizball: On Peter Seitz’s ruling and the breaking of the Reserve Clause… How confident were you and Miller that Seitz would rule in favor of Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally? Did you feel that you had a strong case?

Moss: Oh yes, absolutely. It was a case that had never been tested before, and we realized that testing it would produce the right result.  As a matter of fact, the case was almost tested  the year before, with Ted Simmons.  When Ted signed the contract.

Bizball: On Simmons… There’s been discussions around whether Simmons was truly interested in being the test case, or whether he was simply holding out to the last minute to get a better deal. Do you feel he would have gone along with being the test case?

Moss: Well, he said he was going to, and I have no reason to put Ted down, he’s a terrific guy. I guess he just got tempted by a better offer, and he signed a new contract.

Bizball: You’ve witnessed all eight work stoppages in MLB. I asked this of Bowie Kuhn (read the Bowie Kuhn interview here), and Marvin Miller (read the Marvin Miller interview here) in prior interviews, but when it came to labor negotiations, was there ever a point where there was concern about the public’s trust?  Certainly the ’94 strike did considerable damage at the time to fan support. Was there ever a case when there was consideration of saying, “enough is enough” as the number of work stoppages might damage fan support?

Moss: I think that issue has been over emphasized. I don’t think that’s really a consideration. The harm in the 1994 strike — when it was overeveryone went back to business, and baseball kept going.

Bizball: If there hadn’t been the situation with McGwire and Sosa and Ripkin’s record coming up that baseball would still be in trouble. It seems like they are just climbing out of the damage from it.

Moss: I think they climbed out of the damage a long time ago. Attendance records keep being broken. When it started, it was a business, now it’s a big business.

Bizball: I’m wondering if we can talk a bit about the Alex Johnson arbitration case. For those that may not know much about the case, and how important was it at the time, can you go over what transpired?

Moss: Alex was a very good player. He was a fine hitter. We were thinking that last year, before the suspension, he got into some strange behaviors. He would sometimes not take fielding practice. He would run in the outfield by himself, but he would always take his bat with him, strapped to his belt. Sometimes he wouldn’t run out ground balls.

Dick Moss quote on Alex JohnsonHe got into a dispute with a reporter who had been very critical of him and at the end of the dispute he took the reporter’s typewriter, and put it into a pail of water (editor’s note: there have been conflicting reports on this incident, in which the reporter in question played a prank and hid Johnson’s bat, which he was extremely attached to. Some have it as Johnson placing the typewriter of Dick Miller of the Los Angeles Examiner in a pail of water. Others have it as Johnson pouring coffee grounds into it when he discovered it was a prank. Whatever the case, Johnson was to have said to Miller, “Mess with the tools of my trade, and I’ll mess with yours.”)

That was sort of the last straw; he was suspended for a year without pay.

Now the bottom line was that Alex Johnston – at least at that time – was a very disturbed individual. The case came down to his testimony. Our argument was that he had an illness and he should be treated like any other player who had an illness and was disabled. We indicated he was disabled and that he should be put on the disabled list like any other injured player, and that’s the way the arbitrator ruled.

Bizball: Was the tipping point where the Players Association decided to get involved when Kuhn put him on the disqualified list?

Moss: Well, under the Collective Bargaining Agreement there has to be just cause for the penalty imposed. That was public perception, too. The public was unanimous – at least the sportswriters seemed to be – that Alex Johnston was a bad guy and deserved to be cut off at that point.

Bizball: Shifting gears a bit, when did you start to consider moving from general council of the Players Association to becoming a player agent?

Moss: Well I sort of got tired of doing the same thing with the same people for ten and a half years and I decided that it was time to leave in 1977. I didn’t know what I wanted to do at the time; I didn’t know that I was going to be a player agent. I had some thoughts about different things to do but, I thought that I should represent a player to show the agents out there how it should be done. I found that it was something I was interested in and I did it basically for the next 20-25 years.

Bizball: Miller said in his autobiography that, “Dick and I watched, first with a sense of satisfaction, then wonder, then ultimately horror, as the Association ushered in agents into the picture in 1970.”

Was your decision based on one part “being qualified” to properly represent players, or was there monetary considerations due to the fact that some agents were getting paid as much as the total budget for the Players Association?

Moss: Yeah, as I said, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do – I was having a midlife crisis I guess. I didn’t leave the Players Association to become an agent and make money. That wasn’t in my mind at the time.

Bizball: What kind of reactions did you receive from GMs when you first became a player agent?

Moss: I had had their respect from being the general counsel for the Players Association and I think that contributed to their ability to deal with the players, and with me individually. I think, in general, that was done professionally, and that helped me in my relationship with them.

Bizball: Let’s talk some of the key negotiations that have occurred while you have been a player agent:

Nolan Ryan the first million-dollar-a-year contract in professional team sports for Nolan Ryan in 1979. When I interviewed Buzzie Bavasi, he said there were conflicts over an insurance clause (read the Buzzie Bavasi interview here).

Moss: Tell me what Buzzie said.

Bizball: He said, “This was a life insurance policy; had nothing to do with baseball. So we said the contract is valid, except for the insurance policy. With that, the agent said, ‘Get lost.’ Never gave us a chance to negotiate.

Dick Moss quote on Nolan Ryan's contract Moss: Well, there were certainly negotiations. We made, at one point, a proposal to Buzzie. We offered a three-year contract and we wrote it up in with a third year, that he would make a million dollars. Buzzie, and the guys in the press said, “This guy is crazy! A million dollars – a million dollars a year for Nolan Ryan!” But you know that didn’t sound so outrageous. Now of course, a million dollars a year – we thought that was proper - much less a million dollars for three years.

Bizball: You negotiated outside of Tal Smith (read the Tal Smith interview here) to have Ryan go to the Houston Astros. Was that a conscious effort? He had a pretty structured system in the Astros organization with $200,000 contracts and that kind of blew up his structure. Did you feel that it was the best interest of Ryan and yourself to go directly to an owner in that situation?

Moss: No, I didn’t go directly to an owner. An owner came directly to me. John McMullen called me. We talked about Nolan Ryan. And, I like Tal as Tal’s a friend. I know Tal, and Tal was never in the picture in those negotiations.

Let me tell the story how it came together….

John and I made the deal over dinner in New York. He accepted the registered postage that I had mailed to him [regarding Ryan]. I took out a pad and started writing things down all that we were agreeing to, and then he would sign this paper. And we ran through the list, and everything was good.

And at the end I said, “Now, John, there’s one more thing that we have to talk about. When Nolan played for the Angels, he was given a single room when they were on the road,” – at that time, players had to share rooms – “and I’d like you to do that, too.”

And John said, “I’ll agree to anything else you propose, but I’m putting my foot down here; I won’t agree to it. But I’ll tell what I will do. I’ll see to it that Nolan Ryan gets offered participation in every investment deal that I personally get involved in the next three years. That’s a lot better than a single room on the road. And it’s appropriate. Because, Nolan Ryan is going to be making almost as much money as I’m making.” And that put the whole thing in context for me. Nolan Ryan is going to be making almost as much money as he makes. It wasn’t such a big deal, after all.

Bizball: At the time that this occurred his stats weren’t that great. He obviously wasn’t what he became. McMullen must have seen the potential in him. It obviously came to fruition: he’s one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Was it that it was a million dollars a year, but was it that it was a million dollars a year for Nolan Ryan?

Moss: Oh, absolutely. It had to be Nolan Ryan to give legitimacy to the contract.

Fernando ValenzuelaBizball: Fernando Valenzuela and his million dollar salary arbitration case in 1983… It was a big one because it was the first million dollar arbitration case. Was that part of the arbitration process? Did you sell it in that manner? Did you sell it on his great pitching because he was a great pitcher, but he was much more than that?

Moss: He was also the youngest player ever to go to arbitration. And I was able to prove that when he pitched, there were like an extra 10,000 people in the stands. And he involved the Latino community in Los Angeles for the first time – enthusiastically – for the Dodgers. He was a big asset to the Dodgers business.

In the arbitration case, we showed statistically that the Dodgers played much better when he pitched. We had a videotape that we showed during the hearing about various things that had been on television regarding “Fernandomania”. It ended with the General Manager Al Campanis. You see that Campanis is standing on the pitching mound at Dodger Stadium, and he’s been interviewed, and he says to Reuters, who are interviewing him, “You know, Walter O’Malley always said, ‘That wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a great Mexican player on this team?’" And he looked up in the sky and said, “Walter, I know you’re looking down now, and I know that everything you every dreamed of is now coming to fruition.”

They had a lawyer on the other side that jumped up and down and said this was outrageous you can’t do that, and the arbitrator said, “I’ll take it for what it’s worth.”

Bizball: Andre Dawson and the “blank contract” incident - When did the idea of doing the blank contract with Dawson? Was it something that you just hatched on a whim after being frustrated?

Moss: No. During that winter, I had a private off-the-record meeting with Dallas Green. Dallas, without saying it in precise words, indicated that he would like very much to have Andre in Chicago and that his hands were tied by ownership. This was true of all of the GMs in that period. They didn’t have any leverage; it wasn’t like they had players coming up through the system. Andre really wanted to go to the Cubs. That’s the team he really wanted to go to. And so, that seemed to be the only way to do it [do the blank salary value on the contract]. We walked into Dallas’ office − he was at the time in a general manager’s meetingand had a signed contract and told Dallas to just fill in the salary.

Bizball: Well, the press knew about it. You called the press after it happened?

Moss: The press knew about it of course. We told the press before it happened.

Bizball: That obviously got Dallas upset...

Moss: Dallas just pretended to be upset; that the whole thing was an outrage, that it was terrible and unethical and all that sort of thing, but he was really delighted.

Bizball: That he was “delighted” because he was forcing ownership’s hand?

Moss: That’s it exactly.

Bizball: Steve Howe’s reinstatement case and any comments about his life in light of his tragic death in a car accident. Can you touch on his situation? He really had some troubling things happen with him. You argued in his arbitration case that he used cocaine due to A.D.D. Can you touch on him as a person and his case and his life in general?

Moss: Steve was hyperactive as a child and was treated with Ritalin and we didn't know anything about A.D.D. at the time. But, the Ritalin just made things worse. Steve was very edgy and hyperactive as a child and young man.

He said he initially tried cocaine after his first year with the Dodgers, when he was the Rookie of the Year, and there was a ceremony to honor him and give him the award. He said he was very nervous and somebody offered him a little cocaine and he said it calmed him down - and he got into it that way, and he had an unusual reaction to cocaine. Rather than it being an upper, he found it to be a downer. He would take cocaine and then go sit in a corner for a couple hours.

Dick Moss quote on Steve HoweI used to say that Steve was wired differently than most of us because he reacted differently to different things. But Steve as a person... you would just love the guy! You talk to anybody that ever played with Steve Howe and they will tell you that he was a terrific guy; but in the press, they would say, "This is a bad guy. He was suspended seven times and this and that."

But, the Dodgers for example, decided after the first incident where he was suspended, that on the road, he would have someone with him after games; get a bite to eat and go have a drink or something. As it turned out, the coach was an alcoholic and Steve became an alcoholic, too, on top of that.

Steve had a very addictive personality. He was sent to various rehab centers and was given treatment that most other people get, but there was no understanding of his A.D.D. problem – that didn't come until later – until the arbitration case where we had very prominent psychiatrists on both sides – and we agreed that this was the root of the problem and that part of the treatment was that he had to understand that he couldn’t get away with anything and that he would get tested every other day (in season and off-season).  And, that was the deal that was made to get him back after the 6th suspension, and that Winter, he attempted to buy cocaine from a government agent and he got suspended again.

The problem was, the Commissioner’s Office had taken the responsibility of overseeing the testing every other day. And it worked, but they didn't follow through. That winter he went through a long period of time where he wasn't tested at all, and in his mind he could get away with it; but he couldn't get away with it. The problem was that the program they set up for him was not empowered by the Commissioner’s Office; it was on that basis that the arbitrator ruled that he should be reinstated.

Bizball: If I recall correctly, he had tried to play in the minors, and that his abusing of cocaine surfaced again when he signed again with the Yankees. Was that the period you are referring to?

Moss: No. He had been suspended for life after the 6th suspension and had been out of baseball for two years. I had not represented Steve before, but he told me that he wanted to get back into baseball.

And, so I did what I could with the Commissioner’s Office. I set him up with psychiatrists; I set him up with examination.

He had bounced around before getting back with the Yankees… Mexican League, and so forth. So, I talked to Yankees’ GM Gene Michael and he first agreed to take a look at Steve in Spring Training and see what they could do.  So as we got close that date he said, “I can’t do it. They called me off, and I can’t do it,” referring to bringing Howe on at Spring Training. It was very devastating to Steve, as no one would give him a chance at the time.

So, Steve and his wife Cindy and I, went to Ft. Lauderdale and went into Gene Micheal’s office. And I said, “Gene, I want you to take a look at Steve.”

Micheal said, “I told you, I can’t do it.”

Cindy sort of pleaded with him; I don’t think Gene wouldn’t have given him the chance without Cindy being there.

Eventually, I got Gene and the pitching coach to take a look at him, they liked what they saw, invited him back the next day. So, he came back the next day and then they decided to sign him to a contract. He signed with Columbus and then came up very quickly.

End of Part I. Part II to be released shortly

Interview by Maury Brown

Transcribed by Bill Jordan, Mike Elsen, and Maury Brown

Edited by Maury Brown

Maury Brown gives special thanks for Bill Jordan and Mike Elsen for great assistance in the transcription process. 



Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?