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Major League Ballplayers Consider Implications of Pay Television

Apr. 13, 1964 - Important players in both leagues are considerably “shook up” by the prospect of pay television of major league baseball games, Yankee shortstop Tony Kubek (pictured) said today. West Coast games will be televised on a pay-as-you-watch basis by Subscription Television Inc. starting July 1.

“We’ve been talking about it plenty,” Kubek said. “Not only this club, but everywhere. The whole subject has been coming to a boil all spring. The facts are simply this — we ought to get a piece of the extra money from pay TV since we are the performers who make the show go. Now is there anything more fair than that?”

He was asked how he knew the club owners wouldn’t come up with a plan of their own for sharing profits with the players. “We don’t know,” he said. “We just want to be prepared. Is there anything wrong with that? We are unified on this thing, though not formally. I think we are closer now to a ballplayer’s union than we’ve ever been before. Maybe the word union isn’t accurate to describe our banding together to protect our interests. But you can say we’re going to be united on this matter if we don’t get what we believe is due us.”

“There are many important ballplayers who feel the way I do,” Tony continued. “Particularly on the teams to be involved in pay TV on the West Coast. They are very much interested in just how they are going to be cut in on the proceeds from pay TV.”

He named Dodger pitching stars Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale as among the players “wondering how it’s all going to turn out for the performers who make the show something you can sell in a person’s home.”

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