The super stars were still twiddling their thumbs, but some more cracks were developing in the baseball players’ boycott as the holdout headed into its second week. Saying he could stay out “only so long,” Steve Blass, Pittsburgh’s leading pitcher last season, junked a one-day holdout and turned up at Pirates camp. Meanwhile, four top pitchers – Ron Reed, Phil Niekro, George Stone, and reliever Claude Raymond – reported to the Atlanta Braves, veteran Don Cardwell showed up at the New York Mets’ camp.
The owners rejected a $5.9 million compromise proposed but the Major League Baseball Players’ Association and demanded a poll of the entire membership on their $5.3 million proposal. That’s expected to take two weeks – too long for a number of the players who have simply been straddling the fence, hoping for a quick solution.
Atlanta’s four hurlers who reported Friday joined the team’s top pitcher in 1968, Pat Jarvis, who cracked the boycott earlier. “My salary has gone up from $6,500 to $33,000 in just two years,” explained Jarvis. “I’d have to be out of my mind to strike.” The Braves’ full squad isn’t due until next Thursday but outfielders Rico Carty and Felipe Alou have suggested they will defy the holdout.