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Professional baseball is in a state of turmoil While the National Basketball Association and the National Football League are prospering Americas favorite pastime is faltering It is no coincidence that this downward spiral began in 1976 That year the court decided in favor of Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally two pitchers fighting for their own free agency Burns and Ward Art 10 Free agency grants players the ability to choose what team they want to play for once their contract expires Prior to this case players were confined to stay with their original team They only changed teams if they were traded Worsnop Art 83 Once Messersmith and McNally won their case twenty-four players tested the free agent market the following year Montville 100 Free agency has caused team league and labor problems in the financial world of professional baseballFree agency has caused many different team problems such as high salaries high ticket prices and unloyal players Professional baseball players salaries have skyrocketed since the conception of free agency In 1976 the first year of free agency the average salary for baseball players was 52300 Montville 102 The next year the average salary doubled Four years later the average salary had tripled Burns and Ward Art 10 Even though the average salary was about 50000 in 1976 the first twenty-four free agents earned about 200000 each that same year Montville 102 Today baseball players make about fifty times more than the average working man In 1976 they made only eight times the typical person Burns and Ward Art 10 The salaries have steadily increased since that destructive year The latest studies have shown that the average player salary is now approximately 12 million Zipay Art 75 Along with the higher salaries the ticket prices have also soared as a result of free agency Ticket prices before free agency could be purchased for as low as 1 Stuller Art 95 In 1982 five years after free
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