That labor peace has lasted 17 years with no end in sight. The idea that Fehr, 64, was a radical or didn’t want owners to get filthy rich (unless players did, too) or wouldn’t take a fair deal if one were offered — that all died in the last century. Ironically, the stain on Fehr’s baseball reputation is that he was so focused on business prosperity, which would flow to players and agents, that the union was cynically resistant to a vast workplace health issue, opposing the testing of union members for performance enhancing drugs.
Financially, baseball has never been healthier. It’s gushing cash. The best thing that’s happened to baseball in modern times, aside from wangling free parks at mostly public expense, was MLB’s realization that a strong union, fair labor policy, fiercely negotiated, and booming business were compatible. The price baseball paid to learn that lesson was astronomical.