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Quotables

"Baseball’s probably where my future is, but my heart’s always been with basketball. It’s always been my first priority. But I’ve always wondered what kind of baseball player I’d be if I gave it my full attention."
San Diego State two-sport star Tony Gwynn (June 1981)

"It appeared the strike had little effect on us. We have been averaging a 10-percent gain during the last three or four years and we can see that pattern still in effect. I think most of us expected more of an impact, but we are happy with the gains just the same. Our club operators are doing a great job."
National Association president Johnny Johnson, on the minors’ 10-percent attendance gain in 1981.

"I’m looking forward to the challenge. I want to find out once and for all whether I can play shortstop."
Orioles third base prospect Cal Ripken, on the possibility of his playing shortstop in spring training (1982).

"Statistically, only one out of 10 draft choices ever get to the big leagues and it takes the ones that get there an average of 41Ú2 years to reach the major leagues. During this time, the ballplayers are totally unproductive in terms of producing revenue for their clubs. I spent three years obtaining a law degree and paid for the privilege. No one offered me any bonus to go to law school and I was not paid while I was attending."
Padres president Ballard Smith in 1983, questioning the merits of paying signing bonuses to untested college and high school players.

"It’s an antiquated system we cannot afford. We’re taking 17-year-old kids with no real chance to make the majors just because we have to have them play catch with a few guys who do . . . we’re taking away their chances to go to college and get on with their lives. We’d be doing a social service by getting rid of the farm system as we know it."
White Sox co-owner Eddie Einhorn, on his belief that farm systems have become obsolete (1984).

"They can blame agents and college coaches all they want. But the bottom line is, when they won’t even tell a kid what round he was drafted in, they are trying to curb the bonuses. It really boils down to a case of ethics, of not being fair with the players. The players are upset by it; it’s developed a very negative attitude on their part toward professional baseball."
A college coach, challenging MLB’s decision not to release the 1986 draft list beyond the first round for at least a week—and even then in alphabetical order.

"This ain’t the Oklahoma City 89ers. We’re Red Sox people. Amen, period, case closed."
Ben Mondor, owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox, on his team’s lack of game promotions (1987).

"Major league owners are concerned about the rising value of franchises, which, to me, is none of their business. My answer is that you fellows bailed out long ago and missed the boat."
National Association president Johnny Johnson, on the growing profitability of minor league clubs (1987).

"What I would do, and I’m going to suggest it to them, is that they should place on the ticket whatever the fee is they have to pay the major leagues, so that everybody knows these cheap bastards are getting 25 cents off the tickets."
Harold Cooper, International League president, explaining his digust at the percentage-of-revenue payment from minor league clubs to MLB as part of the new PBA (1991).

"This is an exercise in folly. I will go down in flames defending the principle and hope history will judge me accordingly. This increases our chances of winning the division, but I’m against the whole idea. I don’t want to see an expanded playoff format."
Texas Rangers owner George W. Bush, the only owner to vote against a realignment plan that lumped the Rangers in a division with California, Oakland and Seattle (1994).

"It’s the same factors every year. Is McGwire healthy, will he get pitches and will he connect? He’s said himself that he gets on average one pitch per game that he can hit (for a home run)."
Home run authority David Vincent, asked about the possibility of Mark McGwire breaking Roger Maris’ home run record in a feature on home run hysteria before the 1998 season.

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