This week the Major League Baseball Player fraternity lost a member, Scott Sanderson, whose impact on Player rights should never and will never be forgotten.
A major leaguer of 19 years, Sanderson died on Thursday (April 11) at the age of 62. An All-Star who amassed a career record of 163-143 and a 3.84 ERA, while helping the Chicago Cubs win two division championships, Sanderson was far more than a consistent and reliable pitcher to his fellow players.
At a California meeting involving several hundred players during the 1994-1995 strike, the most contentious in baseball history, Sanderson, who was on the tail end of his professional career, reminded his contemporaries about their obligations to the players who would one day take their place.
Former Players Association assistant general counsel and chief operating officer Gene Orza recalled Sanderson’s immense influence that day.
“What today’s players owe to Scott is both incalculable and largely unknown to them, for it was Scott, more than any other player, whose message to his contemporaries both captured what was at stake in the Great Strike of 1994, and alerted them to their responsibility,” Orza said. “Who among us wants to leave to the players who come after him less than what he received from the players who have come before him?”
Executive Director Tony Clark, in a statement issued following Sanderson’s passing, also honored the former pitcher’s leadership during the work stoppage.
“Scott was a leader among player leaders who rose to meet the challenges that presented themselves at one of the crucial moments our in union’s history, urging his fellow players with dignity, clarity and conviction to consider future generations of players in a way that resonated during our 1994-95 strike and which still resonates today.”
Orza also discussed Sanderson’s player meeting speech in an interview he did in 2016 for the MLBPA’s 50th Anniversary video series …