From the introduction of the reserve clause in 1879 to the lockout and new basic agreement of 1990, baseball players have been engaged in one of the longest and most colorful labor struggles in our nation’s history. The Imperfect Diamond tells the stories of the players and their opponents, the powerful owners: how John Montgomery Ward led the Players League Rebellion of 1890; the rise and fall of David Fultz and the Baseball Players Fraternity (1912–18); the iron-fisted regime of Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis; the case of Danny Gardella vs. Happy Chandler and the blacklisting of the players who jumped to the Mexican League; the founding of the Baseball Players Association in 1953 and the tempestuous but triumphant reign of Marvin Miller; the struggles of Curt Flood, Andy Messersmith, and Dave McNally, and how they brought about the demise of the reserve clause; the unprecedented midseason strike of 1981 and the collusion cases of the late 1980s.
In the epilogue for this Bison Books edition, Lee Lowenfish guides the reader through the turbulent 1990s and first decade of the twenty-first century, covering expansion teams, the monumental 1994 strike, and performance-enhancing drugs. Listed by the Society of American Baseball Research as one of the fifty essential baseball books, The Imperfect Diamond will stand for years to come as the source for the real story behind America’s national pastime.