Fred Claire was the last Dodgers’ General Manager to win a World Series title in Los Angeles. That’s about all you really need to know about him to understand that his opinion absolutely matters in all baseball-related issues. Aside from that, Claire also happens to be one of the most intelligent, compassionate people that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
We spoke to Fred on Wednesday morning, just a few hours before news broke that MLB would be turning down the Player’s Union offer of 114-games. Claire took over the Dodgers’ GM job back in 1987 and would keep the position until the FOX takeover in 1998. In that 11-year span, Claire saw his fair share of labor disputes and knows a thing or two about how they go.
Bill’s [Bill Shaikin] story yesterday in the LA Times was one that I think was noteworthy and very sad for me to see his inclusion or his thought that what’s happening here is a lack of trust. The players not trusting management. In all my years with the Dodgers…the one thing that I tried my best every day, every period, every hour, was to build a relationship of trust with the players.
With the Dodgers, Claire experienced two MLB lockouts. One of those was the 1994 lockout, which canceled the playoffs altogether. But while he knows that games absolutely need to be played for the sake of baseball’s future, he also understands the importance of one major aspect.
You can’t reach a good result in a notion without having trust…I think that’s really what needs to be done because in the negotiations today, first of all, if I had any involvement…I would’ve said to the players ‘Look we’re not going to discuss any financial part until we discuss how we’re handling the health and welfare of the players and others involved in the game.
Fred is so passionate about the health and wellness of the players, staff, and media involved that in his mind, he wouldn’t have even to start talking financial details until a medical plan was cemented.
Until we agree that we have a foundation of health and yiur safety first, I have no interest in discussing money. Once we agree on that and we’re partners in that, then let’s talk about the financial part of this.
We’ll have more from Fred Claire this week as we dove into issues surrounding the game of baseball and around the world. You can watch the full interview with the former Dodgers GM here.