Game Changers: Baseball Fans, Strikes, and Free Agency, 1966-1981
Siqueira Paranhos Velloso, Carolina
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This research paper examines the way in which the broader labor movement of 1970s America affected the game of baseball. In particular, I look at the impact that certain player gains - particularly free agency, implemented in 1976 - had on both the makeup of the game and on the baseball fans who were accustomed to the baseball status quo. Although it is widely assumed that fans profoundly altered their relationship with baseball when its players began making inconceivably high salaries with the advent of free agency, I argue that it was, in fact, a work stoppage five years later truly caused a long-lasting resentment of fans towards the players and team owners, because a strike of that magnitude directly affected the fans' ability to enjoy the national pastime.