on Nov. 3. The new deal will give the sport, once torn by the rancor generated by these labor discussions, 16 seasons uninterrupted by work stoppages by the time the agreement expires on Dec. 11, 2011.
Unlike the 2002 talks, which went right to the edge of an Aug. 30 strike deadline called by the players, this deal was done almost two months before the last four-year Basic Agreement was set to expire on Dec. 19.But great progress was made four years ago when the contract was settled for the first time without a strike or lockout. There had been eight such work stoppages from 1972 to the strike that wiped out the 1994 postseason and delayed the opening of the following season. Since then, the two sides had twice renegotiated the terms and the penalties of the drug policy, and had also gone into partnership to stage the first World Baseball Classic, which was won by Japan earlier this year. This season alone, MLB regular-season games drew 76.2 million fans, while gross revenues leapt to $5.2 billion and the average player salary grew to $2.8 million -- each marking a new record. Also at the union's annual meeting, which was staged concurrently with the Winter Meetings, Tony Clark and Mark Loretta were re-elected as association player representatives with Craig Counsell and Ray King back as their alternates. Each will serve a term of two years.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.