Reynolds may be the co-host of MLB Network’s Hot Stove, and he may have earned a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality / Studio Analyst in 2013, but he apparently doesn’t have the stones to go to bat for his older brother — one of the 645 men who played in “The Show” who isn’t receiving a pension from Major League Baseball (MLB).
Donald Edward Reynolds was a football star at Corvallis High the year the team won the 3A State Championship. He later attended the University of Oregon and was inducted into its Athletic HOF in 1993.
But he also played parts of two seasons for the Padres, in 1978 and 1979.
Reynolds and 644 other men don’t receive MLB pensions because they didn’t accrue four years of service, which is what you needed before 1980. However, in order to avert a threatened players strike during the 1980 Memorial Day weekend, the union representing the players, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), accepted a proposal from the league in which the vesting requirements were lowered to one game day of service credit for health care, and 43 game days of service credit for a pension.
Regrettably for Mr. Reynolds and the other men, the union didn’t request that this change be made retroactive.
Thirty-one years later, in April 2011, the league and the union partially remedied the situation. The non-vested retirees were awarded $625 per quarter for every 43 game days of service they accrued on an active roster, up to $10,000, for their service credit. And that’s before taxes are taken out.
However, these days, the maximum pension a vested retiree can earn is $220,000.
And while vested retirees get to pass their pensions on to a loved one, spouse or designated beneficiary, the non-vested players don’t.
Harold Reynolds, who also attended Corvallis High but was born in Eugene, has never publicly commented or taken a stance about whether the pre-1980 players such as his brother should get real pensions from the organization that pays his salary.
To date, the union representing the current players, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), has been loathe to divvy up anymore of the collective pie. Even though Forbes recently reported that the current players’ pension and welfare fund is valued at $2.7 billion, MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark— the first former player ever to hold that position — has never commented about these non-vested retirees, many of whom are filing for bankruptcy at advanced ages, having banks foreclose on their homes and are so sickly and poor that they cannot afford adequate health care coverage.
Unions are supposed to help the hard working women and men in this country get a fair shake in life. But the so-called executive director of the MLBPA doesn’t seem to want to help anyone but himself — Clark receives a MLB pension AND an annual salary of more than $2.1 million, including benefits, for being the head of the union.
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Douglas J. Gladstone authored the 2010 book, “A Bitter Cup of Cofee; How MLB & The Players’ Association Threw 874 Retirees a Curve.” His website is www.gladstonewriter.com