1975: A big Christmas for major league baseball players

It was Christmas 1975, and Santa Claus dressed up as Peter Seitz, an arbitrator called into action to settle an argument between the players and the owners. Seitz came down the chimney and left baseball a decision that would change the game forever. The decision involved a couple of veterans fighting to survive in the majors: Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith. McNally was one of the game's premiere pitchers with the Orioles but was traded after the 1974 season. He retired after the decision. Messersmith had pitched for the Braves and felt underpaid, and he was probably right.    Neither man benefited much from free agency, but they did challenge the rule and won in the courts.    For almost a hundred years, baseball had operated under what they called "the reserve clause:"     Until Peter Seitz came along, Major League Baseball interpreted the reserve clause to renew itself "for the...(Read Full Post)