THIS DATE IN BASEBALL HISTORY-DECEMBER 16, 1974- ARBITRATOR DECLARES OAKLAND A’S STAR PITCHER JIM ‘CATFISH’ HUNTER A FREE-AGENT

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This Date In Baseball History- December 16, 1974. Oakland A’s star pitcher Jim ‘Catfish’ Hunter is declared a free-agent.

It all started back in February 1974 when the Oakland A’s and their star pitcher Catfish Hunter agreed on a two year, $200,000 contract with a clause stipulating that $50,000 payments be made to a life insurance annuity of his choosing each season. The A’s Owner Charles Finley refused to make the payment after discovering he had to pay $25,000 in taxes which was due immediately. Hunter filed a breach of contract dispute and it went before an arbitration hearing on November 26, 1974. On December 16, arbitrator Peter Seitz decided the case in favor of Hunter making him a free agent.

23 of the 24 teams courted Hunter- only the San Francisco Giants failed to make him an offer. In the end he signed a contract with the New York Yankees making him the highest paid pitcher in baseball history at that time- 5 years $3.5 million. In signing with the Yankees he turned down higher offers from San Diego and Kansas City.

One response to “THIS DATE IN BASEBALL HISTORY-DECEMBER 16, 1974- ARBITRATOR DECLARES OAKLAND A’S STAR PITCHER JIM ‘CATFISH’ HUNTER A FREE-AGENT

  1. a real bit of history that changed the face of the game…I never knew the circumstances behind it though. Interesting. Interesting too that other teams outbid the Yankees…I assumed they offered tons more than any other team.

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