Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services

November 29, 1980 Sporting News

Activist Mike Marshall Idle Now
The Sporting News
November 29, 1980
by Patrick Reusse

Mike Marshall has long been an activist.  He marched through the streets of Selma, AL, with Martin Luther King.  He was at the forefront of the Major League Baseball Players Association's battles with management after the Andy Messersmith decision created free agency.  He successfully sued Michigan State University for the use of the school's athletic facilities.

It is difficult to imagine Marshall living the low-key, quiet life of a wealthy suburbanite, but that is what the former Minnesota Twins reliever is doing these days at his home at Lake Minnetonka, west of Minneapolis.

"Starting in December, I'm going to teach a graduate course in kinesiology one night a week at St. Cloud State," Marshall said.  "Beyond that, I'm unemployed.  I'm preparing some papers that, hopefully, will be published in academic journals."

There is also the relaxation.  Marshall runs three miles every day through the scenic back roads around the lake.  He also does some fishing. "I've caught some good-sized northerns (northern pike)," Marshall said.  "But I let one get away right by the boat awhile back that would have been a trophy.  That fish was as big as my leg."

Since his release by Minnesota June 6, Marshall has helped the players' association prepare a grievance against the Twins.

"My involvement in that is not as great as people might think," Marshall said.  "It is very important for the players' association, because it will involve the protection of player representatives.  For that reason, Marvin Miller and his staff have been handling it.  I have had very little conversation about it recently."

Marshall expects the grievance to go before an arbitrator some time in January.  It will charge that Marshall was released primarily because of his union activism.  In addition to having the potential to establish guidelines for the protection of the baseball players' union leaders, it could also cost the Twins an additional $500,000 on Marshall's contract.

At the urging of former Manager Gene Mauch, the Twins signed Marshall as a free agent after the 1978 season.  The contract guaranteed Marshall $850,000 for three seasons, and there was an option clause for 1982, which said that the Twins would have to pay $500,000 to keep Marshall.

The Twins contend that the clause was put in at Marshall's request to insure he would be a free agent after Mauch's contract (it was scheduled to run through 1981) expired.  But Marshall and the players' association contend that an illegal release has cost Marshall the opportunity to earn that $350,000 in 1982.

"I think we can convince the arbitrator of the logic of that," Marshall said. "I was the Fireman of the Year in 1979 and I had the potential to be that again in 1980 until Gene Mauch started messing with me."

Mauch joined Marshall as an ex-Twin when he resigned on August 24, but he is expected to be a witness for management.  It was Marshall's 6.12 earned-run average and not his outspoken union stance that caused Marshall's release, Mauch said.

Marshall had been the American League player representative (as well as the Twins') at the time of his release.  Now he can only observe from a distance the pending negotiations on compensation for free agents.

Happy Pitching Everybody

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