Free Agents Draft
One Special Case
NEW YORK (AP) There were three major classifications in today’s free agent baseball draft option playouts, six-year veterans and certain minor leaguers whose eligibility depended on contract assignment during the 1977 season.
And then, there was Junior Moore.
Moore, who batted .268 in his rookie season with the Atlanta Braves in 1977, was in a category by himself, just as available as all of the big name free agents even though he did not fit into any of the three conventional lists.
That was because of a unique clause written into Moore’s contract with the Braves that permitted him to leave at the end of the season.
When National League President Chub Feeney first saw Moore’s contract and its special freedom clause, he rejected it. But subsequent arbitration upheld the pact and it was finally formally approved in August.
The agreement, negotiated by Moore’s agent, Abdul Jalil of Superstar Management, was included in the third-baseman’s contract, giving him an escape route if he was dissatisfied with his playing time. Moore played in 111 games and went to bat 361 times.
After the season, he decided to exercise the unique contract clause and declare for free agency. He is by himself in a category labeled: “Agreement Between Player and Club.”
Moore was unlikely to attract the kind of big-money offers waiting for some of the other free agents in today’s auction. There were anticipated price tags of between $1.5 and $2 million for hitters like Richie Zisk, Lyman Bostock.
Braves’ rookie has sharp agent
By Milton Richman
UPI Sports Editor
NEW YORK A couple of nights ago, Phil Niekro, Atlanta’s tough luck pitcher and elder statesman, was watching Junior Moore hit and could hardly take his eyes off him. He was fascinated.
When he had the chance, Niekro went over to the Braves’ rookie third baseman and said to him, “there’s no pitcher in the league that can throw the ball by you, as quick as your bat is.”
Moore, hitting .329 for Atlanta right now, the same as he did last year for Richmond in the International League, is represented by an agent who is pretty quick upstairs, too. His name is Abdul Jalil, and at 26 he’s only three years older than Moore, but he already has some pretty impressive credentials.
Jalil holds a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford along with another business degree from the University of California where he not only graduated with honors but completed the four year course in two years. His *182 (146) I.Q. qualifies him as “near genius,” and he had to be one to think up the kind of contract he got Moore with the Braves.
Keep in mind Moore is only a rookie, yet here are the terms of the contract Jalil put together for him:
-The Braves were to pay Moore $75,000 this season. That was only his salary.
-They also were to pay him a $50,000 bonus and provide him with an additional $50,000 interest-free loan.
That’s not bad for openers, but wait, there’s more coming.
The imaginative, foresighted Jalil saw to it that three other clauses were written into the Atlanta contract of Alvin “Junior” Moore. The first one gave Moore the option of becoming a free agent simply by notifying the Braves of his intention, which works out to be the same as anytime he choses. Under the present Basic Agreement between the players and the owners, a player becomes a free agent the second year only after he plays for a team without signing a contract the previous year.
Another clause allowed Moore to veto any trade the Braves might involve him in, and still a third clause gave him the option of choosing the team he wished to be traded to.
What club owner in the world would ever sign a rookie to a contract like that?
Ted Turner, the Braves’ owner, would. Not only would he, he did last
Moore’s contract still had to be filed with the National League office and on April 28, Chub Feeney, the National League President, wrote a letter about it to Bill Lucas, the Braves’ Director of Player Personnel.
The letter said:
“Specific covenants contained in Alvin Moore’s contract are disapproved because it (the contract) contains provisions inconsistent with the reserve system article of the new Basic Agreement.
Please be sure the player receives a copy of this letter.”
Jalil sees nothing wrong with the contract the way it was originally written.
“Ted Turner signed it, and so did Junior,” he says. “The contract does not violate any law. What’s happening now reminds me of what happened to Jim Thorpe. Once he was awarded those medals, how could they take them away from him?
“All I want is protection for my ballplayer and a contract providing him with maximum flexibility. Feeney contends Junior Moore’s contract, in essence, bargains away the rights won by management in the Basic Agreement. Our contention is that the Basic Agreement only contains the player’s minimum rights, not his maximum rights.”
Next step is a grievance procedure. The Players’ Association has been apprised of Feeney’s disapproval and already has asked for a hearing.
Jalil contends Feeney’s action automatically made Moore a free agent, and if he’s right, it will move the present baseball contracts another step toward obsolescence. Pretty soon, there won’t be any contracts at all. Why bother signing them when they’re non-binding?
Junior Moore? All he wants to do is play baseball. He gives practically all the money he makes to his mother, but saves some for his car. Originally it was a 1965 Chevrolet Biscayne, and it was so banged up and rotted out, he picked it up for $50.
Moore has put a lot of work into it, remodeling it completely with Cadillac El Dorado and Mark IV parts. The car now can accommodate 12 persons and gets 30 miles to the gallon. Moore already has turned down a $2,000 offer for it. The new paint job he gave it catches everybody’s eye. He calls it “money green.”
Alvin Moore vs Atlanta Braves
Major League Baseball Arbitration Proceeding
MLB-MLBPA Arb. 77-18 (1977)
Alvin Moore (plaintiff) signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves. The contract contained a clause that said if Moore was not satisfied with his playing time, the Braves were required to trade him to a team approved by Moore. The covenant also stated that if a trade were not completed by the end of the season, Moore was allowed to become a free agent if he so chose. At the time, Moore had less than one year of service in Major League Baseball (MLB). The league president (defendant) disapproved of this covenant. The president believed that the covenant was inconsistent with the collective-bargaining agreement agreed to by the league and the players’ union. This agreement required players to have a minimum of five years of service in MLB before they could become eligible for free agency. The players’ union filed a grievance on Moore’s behalf. The union cited the collective-bargaining agreement’s clause permitting special covenants that benefit players. The union maintained that the president could disapprove of a special covenant only if the covenant did not benefit the player. The league countered that this covenant effectively created an entirely new reserve system, contrary to what the league and players had previously agreed to. According to the league, the reserve system created by the collective-bargaining agreement was created to provide for an even and equitable distribution of players among all of the teams. Additionally, the collective-bargaining agreement contained a free agent re-entry procedure. By giving Moore the ability to determine his own free agency, the league argued, the covenant contravened the agreed-upon system. The league contended that a covenant that violated the collective-bargaining agreement and the rights of the other 25 MLB teams could not be permitted to stand simply because it benefited a player. The issue was brought before an arbitrator.
Historic contract for Moore
RICHMOND’S ALVIN (JUNIOR) Moore suddenly finds himself the center of attention at the Atlanta Braves’ Orlando, Fla., spring training base, and neither his bat nor his glove directly is responsible for the spotlight. The historic contract Moore signed Monday has baseball writers from coast to coast wondering if Ted Turner is undermining his own franchise.
The rookie third baseman has made one of those “play me or trade me” demands, and the Braves have agreed to it in writing, giving Junior a nice bonus in the process.
According to Moore, he is to be the judge of whether he gets enough playing time. If he feels that he isn’t seeing enough action, he can demand a trade to another club, and he has final approval of the transaction. If such a trade can’t be made, the former Kennedy High School athlete will become a free agent.
MOORE ISN’T CONCERNED over the impact that his landmark contract could have on baseball. “All I’m thinking about is that I’m pleased with the contract,” reported Moore over the telephone from Orlando. “I love baseball and I want to play. I have two options left, and I don’t want to be sent down again.”
The 24-year-old infielder, who has put in six minor league seasons in the Atlanta chain, has batted safely in each of the six Grapefruit League contests in which he has appeared. Jerry Royster is the Atlanta third baseman, but Moore reports that the veteran might be shifted to compete with Darrel Chaney at shortstop.
“I think I’m an every day player,” commented Moore, indicating that his patience might be tested by a lot of time in the dugout. “If the guy ahead of me is having a good year, I think I’ll be patient. Hopefully I’ll play my way into the lineup or somebody else will play his way out.”
If Moore were to exercise the trade clause in his contract, he would be looking for a club in need of a third baseman, rather than a specific team. He wouldn’t wind up in the Bay Area under any circumstances.
“I WOULDN’T WANT to play in San Francisco or Oakland,” Moore disclosed. “I want to stay away from home. I wouldn’t be able to get any rest. I want to concentrate on playing baseball, not visiting with friends. It’s not that I don’t enjoy their company, but I would want to have time to myself.”
Moore is confident that he will be a productive player with the Braves this season. The 5-11 190-pounder also played second and the outfield in the minors, but wants to concentrate on third base in the majors. He doesn’t care to be a utility player.
I don’t want to be a jack of all trades and master of none,” Moore remarked.
PLAYING TRIPLE-A ball at Richmond, Va., last season, Moore was a leftfielder in 85 games, put in eight contests at second and filled in at third in just five. He had a .329 batting average and was a unanimous all-star outfield choice, but didn’t play in the game because he was called up to the parent club Aug. 2.
He collected seven hits in 26 at-bats for the Braves while appearing in 20 games.
“The biggest difference in the major leagues, besides the better ballparks and superior lighting,” he observed, “is that the pitchers can throw the ball where they want it. You see pitchers, not throwers, in the National League. A pitcher’s arm probably is as strong as it’s going to get by the time he’s 20, but the major leaguers have better control.”
MOORE’S MINOR LEAGUE credentials were impeccable, except for an experimental period when the organization attempted to change him into a pull hitter. He was an all-star selection in his first two seasons in pro ball, 1971 when he batted .310 in the Appalachian League at Wytheville, Va., and 1972, when he batted .300 in the Western Carolina. League at Greenwood, S.C.
“I had my worst year when they changed my stance to try to make me a power hitter in 1973,” recalled Moore of his experience at Savannah, Ga., when he batted .229. “I hit 11 home runs, but my average suffered.”
He raised his average to .259 the next season at Savannah, when he went back to his former stance and still managed nine homers. Moore had played second in 1973 and was shifted back to third in ’74 since management attributed the dip in his batting average to lack of confidence at a new position. “I never lost my confidence,” he stressed. “I couldn’t figure out why they were trying to make a power hitter out of me.”
MOORE RETURNED TO all-star status in 1975 while playing second base at Richmond, where he batted .300 with 14 home runs and five triples. He led his club with 13 game-winning hits and added another with his second single in the All-Stars’ win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Batting averages are something Moore reads about in the off-season. He insists that he doesn’t keep tabs on his batting stats during the season. He’s more interested in getting good wood on the ball than counting his number of hits.
“I see some players writing down their statistics and doing arithmetic every night,” he explained. “When their averages go down, they start pressing at the plate. I don’t let myself get wrapped up in that stuff. I see some of those guys getting strung out over their batting averages. I feel I’ve accomplished something if I make good contact at the plate. I call that the point of action. I’m satisfied when I hit the ball hard enough to cause an error.”
ABDUL JALIL, WHO negotiated that historic contract with the Atlanta Braves for Richmond’s Junior Moore last Monday, reports that general manager Bill Lucas has offered no comments, but Marvin Miller of the Players Assn. was stunned by what he was able to obtain for the infielder.
“Miller told me that the contract has done as much for baseball as anything in the basic agreement just signed by the Players Assn. and the owners,” reports the former Cal track athlete turned sports agent.
The contract— which gives Moore the right to demand a trade of his choice or free agent status if a transaction can’t be made, if he becomes dissatisfied over the amount of his playing time— will be the subject of articles in The Sporting News and Baseball Digest, according to Jalil.
BENCH STRENGTH: A major league baseball player who languishes on the bench not longer has to sit and take it, according to Abdul Jalil (former Cal trackman Randy Wallace), who runs Super Star Management in Oakland.
One of Jalil’s clients, third baseman Alvin “Junior” Moore of Richmond, has signed an Atlanta Braves’ contract which may be unique.
“If Moore is dissatisfied with his playing time,” said Jalil, “it’s in his contract that he can submit a letter to the Braves, who then must initiate a trade to the team of Moore’s choice, which can only be consummated with his consent. If there is no trade by the end of the season, the contract is voided and he becomes a free agent.”
Who said baseball still is in the hands of its owners?
Alvin “Junior” Moore played five seasons in the major leagues with the Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox. He is listed as the regular third baseman with the Braves in 1977. Moore hit for a decent .264 batting average in the big leagues, although he had little power and didn’t steal many bases.
Moore was born in Waskom, TX and attended high school in Richmond, CA. Drafted in the 11th round of the 1971 Amateur Draft, he was in the minors with the Braves organization from 1971 to 1976, several times hitting .300+. His first shot at the majors was in August of 1976, and he stayed up all of 1977 with the Braves. After the season he became a free agent and signed with the White Sox. Moore was in the minors for part of 1978 but not in 1979. In 1980 he was again in the minors part of the year for his last season there. Then he spent five years playing in Mexico.
Under his given name of Alvin Moore, Junior Moore later coached college baseball at both Patten University in Oakland, CA and Bethany College in Scotts Valley, CA. Moore was also a very popular player and manager in the Mexican minor leagues after completing his big league career.