Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



There is Nothing Free About Free Agency 0

Posted on March 13, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Legend has it that future Hall of Fame center Jim Ringo (51) was traded by the Packers after bringing an agent to contract negotiations.

Legend has it that future Hall of Fame center Jim Ringo (51) was traded by the Packers after bringing an agent to contract negotiations.

If he were still alive, I wonder what NFL Hall of Fame center Jim Ringo would think about the concept of an “un-capped” NFL salary structure or of the multi-million dollars in guaranteed money being given to players with only average NFL  pedigrees.

As legend has it, Ringo, an All-Pro center and anchor of the Packer’s vaunted offensive line, brought an agent with him to contract negotiations with Green Bay Packer head coach Vince Lombardi prior to the 1964 season. Lombardi then excused himself and when he returned five minutes later told Ringo and his agent that they would have to go to Philadelphia to discuss his new contract because he had just been traded to the Eagles.

Some historians claim that the actual incident between Ringo and Lombardi is just a myth, but what isn’t a myth is the sacrifice that many athletes from the past made to ensure that the players of today are able to freely negotiate and sign lavish contracts.

For more than a half-century, the contract of every player in Major League Baseball included what was known as the “reserve clause”, which bound a player, one year at a time, in perpetuity to the club owning his contract. Basically, it meant that the player was tied to the team until the team chose to trade or release the player and he had no opportunity to pursue employment with another organization on his own terms. As professional sports leagues started in football, basketball and hockey, owners in those leagues essentially emulated baseball’s “reserve clause.” Read the rest of this entry →

Jerry Jones and the Temple of Doom: Dallas vs. Buffalo for “America’s Team” Designation 6

Posted on September 21, 2009 by John Wingspread Howell

Is the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium a model for how to build a sports venue or a temple to greed and gluttony?

Is the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium a model for how to build a sports venue or a temple to greed and gluttony?

Are the Dallas Cowboys still America’s team, or are they America’s bad dream?

I recently watched Jerry Jones show off the monument he has built to American excess on the Today Show. It struck me as hauntingly ironic that Dallas, one of the demographic icons of the excesses and extravagance of the recent bubble, is opening a billion dollar stadium, in the middle of the debris of the bubble burst, and that Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, is chatting it up with Matt and Al on what is supposed to be a morning news program.

It is news of course, but not in the way it is being covered.  NBC is just whoring their Sunday Night Football coverage in an infomercial disguised as news. And to think the Today Show used to be serious about journalism. But that’s another topic.

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rocky Colavito: Super Slugger
      March 30, 2020 | 7:24 pm
      Rocky Colavito

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was just the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to have 11 straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, yet could not sustain that greatness long enough to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      In some sense, the legend of Rocco “Rocky” Colavito Jr. began long before he ever started pounding home runs at the major league level.

      Born and raised as a New York Yankees fan in The Bronx, Colavito was playing semipro baseball before he was a teenager and dropped out of high school at 16 after his sophomore year to pursue a professional career. The major league rule at the time said a player could not sign with a pro team until his high school class graduated, but after sitting out for one year, Colavito was allowed to sign at age 17.

      Read more »

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