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Friday, July 06, 2007
Jeff Bailey and The Good Health of Making it to The Show

Earlier today, the Boston Red Sox purchased the contract of first baseman Jeff Bailey, a 28-year-old who, until now, had been a career minor leaguer. He began his professional baseball career in 1997, after being selected in the second round of the 1997 baseball draft by the Florida Marlins. He's bounced around since then, producing relatively modest statistics until last season, when he hit 22 home runs and drove in 75 RBIs for the Triple A Pawtucket Red Sox.

Bailey will start at first base tonight when the Red Sox take on the Detroit Tigers. I know what you might be thinking: "Why am I reading about this seemingly obscure player, who is involved in a seemingly uninteresting chain of events?"

Here's why: by virtue of being on a big league roster for a mere one day, Bailey will enjoy complete medical benefits for the rest of his life, pursuant to Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement. Call it the Moonlight Graham provision, if you will. Even better, if Bailey can stay on the active roster for 43 days, he'll also get a pension. Bailey can thank Marvin Miller and Donald Fehr for fighting for guys like him--the 25th man on the roster, "cup of coffee" types--as opposed to simply focusing on the interests of the game's stars or established players.

So aside from the thrill of making it to "The Show" and earning a big league pay check, veteran minor leaguers like Jeff Bailey have a pretty strong incentive to keep playing if they believe they have a chance at cracking a big league roster. A lifetime of guaranteed health care is quite a pay off indeed.


Great stuff for Jeff Bailey. Earlier this year, one of my teammates, Guillermo Rodriguez, was called up after spending more than ten years in the minors. I'm sure there were countless low times in these guys' careers where they could've elected to hang 'em up and retire, but instead they persevered.
Even if they only spend a week in the big leagues, it amounts to more than lifelong health benefits. It also amounts to the culmination of a boyhood dream for which they've been struggling for their entire life. This feeling of fulfillment is priceless, and something they will hold onto always.
For more about life in the minors and the struggle to the majors, see my articles for the Sporting News at:
and my new blog at:

Blogger gbroshuis -- 7/07/2007 2:23 PM  

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