I have had more than one former player mention the book, "A Bitter Cup of Coffee" by Douglas J. Gladstone. I finally got around to reading this one!
This is a very nice, well researched book that discusses the fact that in 1980 Major League Baseball and the players' union worked out a deal where anyone who even makes one appearance in a game in the Majors is elligible for retirement benefits- STARTING in 1980.
Those guys that played before 1980 could only get benefits IF they played for the previously required 4 YEARS.
Gladstone makes a great arguement that those players before 1980 were really neglected. Not only that, but this whole issue could be fixed easily. He also feels that it really wouldn't cost any parties involved a lot to do the right thing and extend benefits to them.
At first, as you read the book, you might think that this isn't that big of a deal. A lot of these guys should be happy to say that they had some sort of professional baseball career.
Gladstone makes a great case for the players who do not get a benefit. He points out that those guys really paved the way for future players- influencing how nicely the players are treated in these modern times.
Not only that, but back in the 70s and earlier, players weren't making the kind of money they are now. Some of the pre-80s players might need benefits more since many weren't making a lot by any standard at that time.
Douglas J. Gladstone's book is a very well done, and easy to read book about how these players have been cheated. A lot of the benefits and comforts players enjoy now were built on the backs of the guys that played before them. With very little effort and cost, MLB and current players could give something back to those earlier players.
I also want to mention that author Doug Gladstone VERY kindly agreed to answer some questions for me about his book! I will get that Q &A up soon within the next couple of days!