Lost Boys of Summer Say Major League Baseball Gulped A Bitter Cup of Coffee Before Acting

Categories: Sports
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The first response to "The Lost Boys of Summer" came in an email from Douglas J. Gladstone, who wrote the book on the issues the feature explored, 2010's A Bitter Cup of Coffee: How MLB and the Players Association Threw 874 Retirees a Curve: "You are to be complimented big-time! (Now brace yourself for the fallout!)"

The upstate-New York author did offer one note.

"[Y]ou failed to mention that 39 vets of the Negro Leagues and their spouses received lifetime health insurance in 1993."

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He certainly did not overlook such a detail in A Bitter Cup of Coffee, which baseball retiree Ken Wright of Pensacola, Florida, credits with having helped push the MLB to at least grant small annual annuity payments to the lost boys from 2011 through 2016.

"Doug's baseball book is not only a good story, it's also 99.9 percent accurate," Wright told me. "Baseball says some of it is not; Doug basically had a misplaced comma. It got publicity, a lot of publicity in the New York area. Doug's book, along with Gary, really pushed baseball to do this. I don't think it would have happened otherwise."

"Gary" is Wright's friend and former ballplayer Gary Neibauer, who served on the MLB Players Alumni Association pensions committee. After he and former big-league pitcher David Clyde lobbied for the annuities while on the committee, baseball acted--and both were removed from the panel.

"Baseball really wants Doug silenced," Wright says. "Really, more and more people know about this through Doug's book. A lot of the groundwork was done, and that was just icing on the cake."

Read how A Bitter Cup of Coffee begins on the next page . . .

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