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Back "in the day" there was a common baseball saying of "having a cup coffee" in the big leagues. This saying was used mostly to decribe players that have made brief appearances in the show and then were exiled to the minor leagues or released all together. It would best be described today as "a drive through cup of coffee". Doug Gladstone's compelling and very accurate story of the 900 or so former major leaguers that made it to the big leagues but did not stay around long enough to earn a pension is such an interesting read for the true baseball fan. If you want to know the details of how Baseball forgot about these players who had hopes and dreams and many long careers in professional minor league baseball, then buy Doug's book. As I understand it, Doug is a baseball fan who one day ran across an anomaly which peaked his curiosity so much that he was driven to find the truth to many questions leading to this book.Because of his relentless campaign to bring awareness to the subject and these these players, Major League Baseball and the union are beginning to pay attention and have made small concessions to help these 900 aging veterans. The fight continues for Doug and others that think when a person has the talent to reach the big leagues and to make the sacrifices necessary to be succesful they deserve to be a part of the overall baseball family.
The book is so well written and layed out so clearly that the casual fan would appreciate very quickly all of the research and interviews that had to be done to gain such knowledge. I submit that Baseball is "America's Sport" and Baseball should support in some manner the players who have contributed in their own way to our national pastime. We are losing many each day and I'm sure that they and their families could use a health care program that other retirees from baseball enjoy.
Thanks Doug, well done and a well named book!
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Journalist and baseball fan Douglas J. Gladstone presents A Bitter Cup of Coffee: How MLB and The Players Association Threw 874 Retirees a Curve, an examination of how 874 Major League Baseball players who played professionally between 1947 and 1979 with brief trials in the majors ("just long enough to drink a cup of coffee", or so the metaphor goes). Ever since 1980, Major League Baseball players have only needed one day of service credit to be eligible for health benefits, and 43 days for a retirement allowance, but these benefits were not retroactive - dealing a "bitter cup of coffee" to the men who previously served the sport. A wealth of interviews with former players, including heart-touching stories of the hard times some of them have endured, peppers this thoughtful and timely account, which gains especial relevance in light of the current debate about the state of health care in America.
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