THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Sunday; September 15, 1968
FREEHAN QUESTIONS SYSTEM
Diamond draft limits prospects choices
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By ROBIN WRIGHT
Daily Sports Analysis
Within the small world of ath-
letics, college baseball coaches
face a moral dilemma when eval-
uating the college baseball draft
Over the last decade the rela-
tionship between college baseball
and the major leagues has gone
through three stages.,
With each stage, the individual
star has been the victim of an
increasing loss of rights.
In the first stage, enforced dur-
ing the career of former Michigan
catcher Bill Freehan, individyal
major league teams bid competi-
tively for the college baseball
stars. There were no restrictions
on the time in a player's career
he could enter the pro ranks.
In 1961, as a sophomore, Free-
han broke the Big Ten batting re-
cord by hitting .585 - a record
he still holds.
That summer, after being offer-
ed several bids he joined With the
Detroit Tigers for a healthy
bonus, and therefore became in-
eligible for college ball.
As Freehan explained it, "Be-
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cause pro teams were forced to
bid for players, the boy usually
went to the team with the high-
"This worked out to be a very
competitive system. As a result,
the money offers had to be large,
and good money became a main
argument for a player to leave
"Of course, this favored the in-
dividual college star as he could
call the moves.,
Four years ago the baseball
draft was revised and set-up along
the lines of the professional bas-
ketball and football systems.
The teams are ranked accord-
ing to the previous year's losses.
The team with the worst record
gets first choice of a player, and
on down the line. The process is
repeated until all the teams have
drafted all the men on their lists.
There are two drafts a year-
winter and early summer. If a boy
does not wish to accept the offer
of the team that drafted him,
then his name will be placed back
into a central pool.
So, by the time former Michi-
gan outfielder Elliott Maddox re-
peateti the Freehan accomplish-
mfents in 1968/by copping the Big
Ten batting championship in his
sophomore year, the draft rules
Michigan lost him in the spring
draft as the number one draft
choice of the Detroit Tigers.
But despite a record similar
to Freehan's, Maddox was not
able to control the financial of-
fers during the draft as Freehan
could, and had only one team to
Freehan explained the differ-
ence between the two systems,
"The revised system eliminated
bidding, which naturally cut down
the bonus offers. A team, Just like
business, wants to pay as little as
possible for a product."
Outlining the logic behind the
change, he commented, "The pros
favored it because they now have
exclusive rights to the player with
no sweat of an expensive system.
"Schools favored the change-
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because there was no longer intra-
major league competition and
subsequently the money offers
were lower. Therefore the appeal
to leave college is not as great.
The college would then be in a
position to argue with the star
to 'stick it out another year in
hopes of a better contract'.
The 'third regulation takes ef-
fect beginning with this year's
The new (1967) draft rule pro-
hibits a college player from sign-
ing apro contract until he has
graduated or turned 21. This ob-
viously further restricts the in-
dividual college star's freedom,
though it may be to the advant-
age of the college team.
As Freehan explained, "A play-
er will be forced to sign out of
high school or play a minimum
of three years on the college lev-
el." (Most seniors are 21 before
December 1 and therefore are eli-
gible for the winter draft before
spring baseball begins.)
"The real threat of course is
that major league recruiters will
concentrate their efforts on high
school boys, and this might hurt
the college teams more than the
old draft system did. N
"However, in the end, this pro-
bably will work in the colleges'
favor. Pro teams will naturally of-
fer a player out of high school less
than if he had played as well after
two years in college.
"It's not worth going pro unless
the bonus is at least $35,000. And
that's a lot to get out of high
Although college baseball as a
whole seems to have profited from
the changes, Freehan observed
that, "neither side (the major
leagues and colleges) is completely
happy with the present scheme.
Pro teams want to be free to pick
up guys as the colleges ripen
them, and colleges want some in-
surance that a boy will stay four
But the most dissatisfied party
is the player - who has fallen
victim to the compromises of col-
lege and professional coaches.
Now, not only has he lost the
benefit of a bidding system, which
brought large bonuses, but he is
forced to accept either a pro offer
out of high school - probably
for a minimum bonus - or play
at least three years on the college
Because of the three-sided dis-
satisfaction, Freehan predicted,
"there must be and will be further
changes in the college draft with-
in the next few years."
CATCHER BILL FREEHAN disputes "fair-" call on an Oakland bunt yesterday, as umpire Bill
Haller hears him out. Freehan claimed the bunt was foul because it hit Oakland batter Sal Bando,,
but Haller disagreed. Needless to say, Haller won the argument. Freehan, who turned pro in 1961,
signed for a healthy bonus. He claims that under the present draft system, the'elimination of com-
petitive bidding has sliced the amounts- of bonus offers so that a
It is at this point that colleges
face a dilemma.
The dilemma arises from the
fact that college restriction is no
longer the only way a star can
continue his full-time academic
Previously, spring training forc-
ed players to drop the second-
semester of school. College
'68 ELkCTIONS * *
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Tues, Sept. 17 Room 3A Union
Gridders take part in scrimmage
designed to better their play
By FRED LaBOUR
Who has not awakened on a
crisp autumn morning to find
himself on the way to a battle
between grid giants?
Who has not thrilled to the
crunch of body upon body, pad
upon pad, helmet upon helmet,
and foot upon mouth?
Who has not looked at a play
developing before his very eyes
and exclaimed loudly, "Why don't
they give it to somebody else be-
Who has not purchased a new
tweed Jacket to wear to afootball
contest? Or perhaps a stunning,
cute, groovy little chic skirt and
sweater combo with knee socks of
an appropriate hue?
I'll tell you who. Xuan Thuy,
Football, specifically Michigan
football, is getting it's cleated
hoof in our doors again this fall,
and if yesterday's scrimmage at
Michigan Stadium was any indi-
cation, Michigan will definitely
field a team again this year. Per-
haps even two teams on a Satur-
day when Michigan is scheduled
to take on the representatives of
another institution of higher
It was a scrimmage marked by
little or nothing; as head coach
Bump Elliott hardly even let the
fellows in blue shirts play at all.
Oh, they were in a little at the
beginning ,all right, but mostly
Elliott and his coaching cohorts
were interested in discovering
which members of the second;
Gold team are ready to iove into
starting positions should they be
There was a player or two who
won notes of comment from El-1
liott "I thought Brown wasamore
on his game today," said Elliott,
in a remark obviously concerning
the progress of his starting quar-
terback, number "22" Dennis
Brown. "I'd be lying if I said I
wasn't expecting a whole lot from
him this year."
Other than some players pant-
ing heavily after getting sat upon
by big teammates, there were no
coaches could then argue it wouldi
take eight years for a player to j
complete a degree and that even
then the chances of finishing
school were slim. Therefore, it fol-
lowed that it was in the best in-i
terest of the individual to remain
in school until graduation.
But professional contracts now
include a scholarship for full-time
enrollment, at a university, plus
a bonus and a superior training
*Realizing they may be confront-
ed with a change in the draft,
should universities, in the interest
of maintaining top level college,
teams, purpose a system that
would further restrict the in-
dividual college star?
The draft has gradually whit-
tled down the opportunity of the
star to cash in on his talent.
Further restrictions would seem
to only serve to the good of the
college, and to further inhibit the
rights of the-college star.
Should universities promote self-
interest and work for a more
favorable system, which would
further diminish the rights of the
star by forcing him to play out
his full term of eligibility?
Or, should the coaches recog-
nize the universities primary goal:1
education-and understand that
the present draft, "or one with
further regulations, does not in-
sure any educational benefits to
the player, but only bars the star
from the superior quality of3 the
major league training program.
As one familiar with both train-
ing systems, Freehan described
pro training as, "a great benefit
to the serious, baseball career-
oriented player. The competition
prospect no longer "calls the
in the minor leagues is much stif-
fer than anything in college-es-
pecially the pitching.
. "Since there is such a distinct
difference, it is to the advantage
of the boy to start a pro career
early and get a chance to move
Professional baseball is also in
an awkward situation.
If the pro teams were con-
sidered bisinesses, the 1964 com-
pact between major league teams'
to eliminate' bidding would be call-
ed a ,conspiracy, Under the anti-
trust laws, pro baseball is not con-"
sidired a business, it is a "sport."
Since the draft system, over the
decade, has gone from a rather
loose and rule-free system to one
with regulations-the only differ- v
ent road open would seem to be
one of further regulations.
This relates back to the rights
of the individual star and the role
of the college coaches in influen-
cing a new, system.
Obviously, the professionals
would not object to a draft where '
the players were given more free-
dom in deciding between a pro
career and college ball. Such a
set-up would give them access to
players at more varied points dur-
ing the athlete's career.
So it remains in the haends of
the baseball coaches. When evalu-
ating their role in suggesting a
new draft system, should they
promote a natural self-interest to
maintain high quality college ball,
or promote the rights of the in-
dividual star and ,his chance at
a better training, program while
being able to remain full-time in
school at the expense of the pro
team which drafted him?
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