Skip to content

Commissioner Hank Aaron would have instituted interleague play, tried to impose a salary cap

Feb 26, 2013, 9:11 AM EDT

Hank Aaron AP AP

Yesterday I linked that story in which Ernie Banks talked about Hank Aaron “applying” to be the commissioner of baseball once upon a time. Last night my friend Jess Lemont sent me a news article from 1983 with some details about it.  Seems that was when he announced his desire to replace Bowie Kuhn, who had just recently announced his resignation under pressure from the owners.

Obviously Peter Ueberroth got the job. He then proceeded to break the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the law with his collusion schemes. That ended up costing the players and the owners hundreds of millions of dollars which in turn led to double expansion in the 1990s to pay for it.  Good going, Pete!

What might have happened if Aaron had gotten the job instead? My theory: the owners either would not have engaged in any greedy illegal schemes or else Aaron would have resigned in protest had they tried.  Short of that, though there there’s at least some evidence to suggest that, if he were commissioner, he might not have taken too different a course than Bud Selig took when he got the job in the early 90s. From the article, Aaron’s response when asked what changes he might institute as commissioner:

“A major one is Interleague play. We are denying fans of both leagues the opportunity to see outstanding players and teams.”

He added that he’d push for a uniform DH rule, though he doesn’t say if he’d prefer all DH or no DH. He also pushed for two-team expansion to get the leagues up to 14 teams each. Oh, and there’s this:

Aaron, currently the Braves’ director of player development, said he is not anti-player, but he supports placing a salary cap on teams’ payrolls.

He goes on to talk about how the Twins can’t compete without a salary cap because Calvin Griffiths doesn’t have the money to sign free agents. Never mind that, within eight years and a couple of months the Twins will have won two World Series. Whatever the case, this is on all fours with Selig’s talking points from 1994 through around 2002 or so, which led to the most destructive work stoppage in the sports’ history and nearly led to another.

Notably, Selig — a longtime close friend of Aaron — led the search committee that ultimately settled on Ueberroth over Aaron. He also promised Aaron the chance to talk to the committee. Given that they remain friends I’m guessing that it wasn’t him, but rather, other owners who “laughed” at Aaron’s candidacy, as Banks said.

Neat stuff. Thanks Jess!

Latest Posts
  1. Shane Victorino could be activated Wednesday

    Apr 22, 2014, 11:20 PM EDT

    shane victorino getty Getty Images

    CSNNewEngland.com’s Sean McAdam reports that outfielder Shane Victorino may be activated from the disabled list Wednesday if he makes it through his third minor league rehab game Tuesday night at Triple-A Pawtucket without experiencing any issues.

  2. Adam Wainwright leaves start with hyperextended knee

    Apr 22, 2014, 10:01 PM EDT

    adam wainwright getty Getty Images

    Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright landed awkwardly while trying to chase down a high-chopper off the bat of Chris Young in the seventh inning Tuesday at Citi Field and left the game with a hyperextended right knee.

  3. This is the fan who caught Albert Pujols’ 500th homer …

    Apr 22, 2014, 9:17 PM EDT

    pujols homer fan

    Angels fan Tim Sherrill, a resident of Ponoma, California and a member of the United States Air Force, caught Albert Pujols’ 500th career home run on Tuesday night in the nation’s capital …

  4. Albert Pujols becomes 26th member of 500 home run club

    Apr 22, 2014, 8:53 PM EDT

    pujols getty Getty Images

    Albert Pujols hit a three-run shot to left field off Nationals starter Taylor Jordan in the top of the first inning and then crushed a two-run bomb to deep left-center off Jordan in the top of the fifth for the 499th and 500th home runs of his 14-year major league career on Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.

  5. Manny Machado cleared to begin playing in rehab games

    Apr 22, 2014, 8:39 PM EDT

    manny machado getty Getty Images

    Manny Machado will soon be one phone call away from rejoining the Orioles’ active major league roster. According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, the young third baseman has been cleared to embark on a minor league rehab assignment this Friday with the High-A Frederick Keys.

  6. VIDEO: Albert Pujols slugs 499th career home run

    Apr 22, 2014, 7:51 PM EDT

    albert pujols getty Getty Images

    Watch as Albert Pujols hits his 499th career home run Tuesday off Nationals starter Taylor Jordan …

  7. Matt Moore undergoes Tommy John surgery

    Apr 22, 2014, 7:07 PM EDT

    matt moore getty Getty Images

    Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports that Rays left-hander Matt Moore underwent Tommy John reconstructive surgery, as scheduled, Tuesday on his pitching elbow. The procedure was conducted by Dr. James Andrews and deemed a success.

  8. Vidal Nuno named Yankees’ new fifth starter

    Apr 22, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT

    vidal nuno getty Getty Images

    Ivan Nova was diagnosed Sunday with a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and is expected to undergo season-ending Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. That leaves a big gap in the Yankees’ starting rotation — one that will be filled, at least initially, by left-hander Vidal Nuno.

  9. The Red Sox have a “sleep room” and use sleep study research to optimize player performance

    Apr 22, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    red sox logo

    I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Or when Napoli gets out of the sleep room so that I can have a turn. Jeez, what’s up with that guy?

  10. Josh Lueke is a rapist. How often does that bear repeating?

    Apr 22, 2014, 4:40 PM EDT

    Josh Lueke

    Some folks would say never enough. I’d agree.

  11. Doctors recommend Tommy John surgery for Ivan Nova

    Apr 22, 2014, 4:18 PM EDT

    ivan nova yankees getty Getty Images

    Ivan Nova went for a second opinion after being diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament and another doctor agreed with the initial verdict, recommending that the Yankees right-hander undergo season-ending Tommy John elbow surgery.

  12. MLB suspends Martin Maldonado, Carlos Gomez, Travis Snider, and Russell Martin for Easter brawl

    Apr 22, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Russell Martin AP AP

    MLB has handed out suspensions for the Easter afternoon brawl between the Brewers and Pirates.

  13. “Respect the Game?” Phooey.

    Apr 22, 2014, 3:08 PM EDT

    carlos gomez getty Getty Images

    Baseball has survived “threats” like Carlos Gomez before. And has even thrived because of them. Should guys like him respect the game? How sad that’d be.

  14. HBT Daily: Trout vs. Harper is a marathon, not a sprint

    Apr 22, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    HBT Daily Logo

    And talking about baseball stars going “head-to-head” is kinda meaningless.

  15. Report: Martin Maldonado suspended five games for brawl

    Apr 22, 2014, 1:27 PM EDT

    Travis Snider black eye AP

    No official word from MLB yet, but Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado has been suspended five games and fined $2,500 for his role in Sunday afternoon’s brawl with the Pirates.

  16. Ryan Dempster hired by MLB Network

    Apr 22, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    ryan dempster getty Getty Images

    MLB Network now has approximately 3,457 major leaguers on staff. Ryan Dempster is the newest.

  17. Bob Uecker is getting a second statue at Miller Park

    Apr 22, 2014, 11:31 AM EDT

    Bob Uecker AP

    Guess what: it’s not in the front row.

  18. Yankees activate David Robertson from the disabled list

    Apr 22, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

    David Robertson AP

    Yankees closer David Robertson is back from the disabled list after missing the past two weeks with a strained groin.

  19. James Paxton out until at least late May

    Apr 22, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

    james paxton getty Getty Images

    Left-hander James Paxton has been on the disabled list since April 9 and Adam Jude of the Seattle Times reports that the Mariners rookie is unlikely to rejoin the rotation until at least late May.

  20. Salvador Perez line drive broke Royals first base coach Rusty Kuntz’s wrist

    Apr 22, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

    Luis Mendoza, Rusty Kuntz AP

    Batting practice can be a dangerous place, as Royals first base coach Rusty Kuntz unfortunately learned Monday when a Salvador Perez line drive broke his wrist.

Featured video

Harper vs. Trout? It's just the opening act
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. I. Davis (3792)
  2. M. Machado (2542)
  3. M. Minor (2527)
  4. D. Robertson (2492)
  5. K. Farnsworth (2480)
  1. M. Cuddyer (2412)
  2. G. Springer (2377)
  3. C. Kershaw (2218)
  4. J. Mejia (2210)
  5. C. Gonzalez (2198)