November 10, 97

Vol. 13 , No. 05   


View Entire Issue (Vol. 13 , No. 05)


The Business of Baseball
WES PARKER '62
ANDY ROUNDTREE '76
DEAN TAYLOR '73
BILL ARCE P'80, moderator
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1997

The pennant races this year highlighted an undeniable fact about our nation's pastime. To succeed in major league baseball, you need to spend money-lots of it. Both of the World Series participants this year-the Cleveland Indians and the Florida Marlins-were near the top of their respective leagues in payroll expenditures, as were the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland's close competitor in the American League, and the Atlanta Braves of the National League.

Baseball has become a big business, as the era of private family ownership has ended with the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to Rupert Murdoch and his vast media empire. To begin to understand what this great sport has meant to the nation and what it may become in the future, it is necessary to take a look at the business of baseball. Business decisions have brought us free agency, the M.L.B. Player's Association, longterm contracts, and exorbitant signing bonuses. The business of the sport has also begun to look beyond America and has become increasingly international in its appeal, with 147 foreign national players from 19 countries now playing in major league baseball.

To help flesh out major trends in baseball which follow from these business decisions, the Athenaeum has assembled a panel of CMC alumni prominent in baseball to represent the perspectives of players, coaches, and general managers. Moderating this panel will be Claremont-Mudd-Scripps founding athletics director and longtime baseball coach Bill Arce. Coach Arce has spent the last 35 years of his life promoting baseball at home and abroad. Beginning in 1962, he used sabbaticals and summer vacations to develop baseball in various European countries including Holland and Italy, two countries for whom he coached teams to European championships. He is now widely recognized as one of the great ambassadors of the game.

Wes Parker, a 1962 CMC alumnus, was the first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1964 to 1972 and earned Gold Gloves for fielding his last six years in the Majors. He retired as the finest fielding first baseman ever by both reputation and percentage. He was also the team's rookie of the year and MVP in 1970. He will present the perspective of the players and the unions and their role in the business of baseball.

Andy Roundtree is a 1976 graduate of CMC and is currently the Vice-President of Finance and Administration for both the Anaheim Angels and the Mighty Ducks. He is responsible for the overall financial operation of the clubs, including budgeting, accounting, planning, and payroll. He will be representing management's perspective on changes that have occurred in the business of baseball.

Finally, Dean Taylor '73, the Assistant General Manager of the Atlanta Braves, will place himself squarely in the middle of management and labor, to discuss the difficult role of the general manager in managing the great changes and many conflicts that have been very much a part of baseball in the last few decades.