(1970-71 Milwaukee Brewer Bernie Smith; Photo: Out Of The Park Baseball)
(Editor's Note: This is a guest post by author Douglas J. Gladstone, who has written about the plight of financially marginalized ex-ballplayers in his book, A Bitter Cup of Coffee.)
As MLB prepares to usher in its new season on Sunday, March 31, our national pastime is an $8 billion industry. The average player reportedly makes $3.29 million. And, in the latest collective bargaining agreement unveiled in November 2011, the union representing today's current crop of ballplayers managed to negotiate a raise in the minimum salary each player makes to $480,000, a 16 percent increase over the $416,000 they used to earn.
Unfortunately, just under 900 men who played between 1947-79 find themselves on the outside looking in. That's because they didn't satisfy the pension eligibility requirements you needed then. At that time, you needed four years to vest. Since 1980, however, all that's been require...