Saratoga Doug Gladstone’s 2010 book, “A Bitter Cup of Coffee,” shed light on the plight of 847 former Major League Baseball players who were receiving no pensions or health benefits from the league.
Now, those players – all of whom had less than four years of major league service between 1947 and 1980 – are scheduled to receive up to $10,000 a year form the league for the next two years. That announcement was made on April 21, less than one year after “A Bitter Cup of Coffee” was published.
“Certainly, there is a validation to the extent that two years out of your life has meant something towards the greater good,” said Gladstone.
“I was just elated to know that in some small way, my book was a catalyst for these men to get at least something from Major League Baseball.”
However, Gladstone was quick to add that the money those players have been promised has yet to be delivered, nor is the amount nearly what post-1980 MLB alumni receive in pensions and health insurance.
“One of the players I profiled, [former Kansas City, Toronto and St. Louis pitcher] Tom Bruno, came up one game shy of qualifying for the pension,” said Gladstone. “He could have had either $10,000 or $930,000.”
Gladstone, a Saratoga Springs native who works for the New York State and Local Retirement System, added that the money these players are scheduled to receive will not come close to covering their costs.
“You know what Bob Sadowski [a former pitcher with the Milwaukee Braves and Boston Red Sox in the mid 1960s] wants to do with that money? He wants to buy an air conditioner,” said Gladstone. “To think that he doesn’t have the money to buy an air conditioner and he lives in Georgia – a place where you’d think that you would need an air conditioner – should tell you what his situation is like.”