Saturday, May 6, 2017

Pre-1980 Non-Vested Retirees Not Receiving Pensions from MLB

Happy Saturday all. I received this email a few weeks back and just now got around to reading it, my apologies to the sender but this is proof positive that I do read every single email you guys send me… it just takes a while sometimes… because distractions.. because the very best distractions, and the subject matter kind of shocked me. It’s pertaining to pre-1980 MLB non-vested players and the fact that said players are not receiving their pensions from Major League Baseball. Rather than try to disseminate the email and put my own spin on it I am simply going to copy and paste it straight from the horse’s mouth for your viewing and reading pleasure. Usually I say enjoy but this is not one of those articles that you enjoy, this is the type of article that tugs at your heart and puts anger in your soul towards people who don’t take care of other people. Or maybe it’s just me. 

Don't know if you're familiar with the above, but there are 500 or so former players, being hosed out of pensions by the league and the players' association.

All these men have been getting since 2011 are non qualified retirement payments of $625 per quarter, up to 16 quarters, or a maximum payment of $10,000 per year.

Meanwhile, the maximum IRS pension limit per year is $210,000.

One of these men is Bill Burbach, of Johnson City, Tennessee. Born in Dickeyville, Wisconsin in 1947, Mr. Burbach attended Wahlert High Scholl in Dickeyville as well as Iowa State University.

Mr. Burbach, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, turns 70 in August.

A pitcher who spent parts of three seasons, in 1969, 1970 and 1971 in the Show with the New York Yankees, Mr. Burbach appeared in a total of 37 games, 28 of which were starts. He recorded six wins, including two complete games and one shutout during his career.

The union representing the players, the MLBPA, doesn't have to be the legal advocates for these men, the league doesn't have to negotiate about this matter and the alumni association is too busy putting on golf outings.

Neither the league nor the union want to retroactively restore these men into pension coverage; instead, taxes are taken out of the nonqualified retirement payment, which cannot be passed on to a surviving spouse or designated beneficiary. So when Mr. Burbach passes on, the payment he is currently receiving is not passed on to any of his loved ones, such as his wife, Wanda. They are also not eligible to be covered under the league's umbrella health insurance plan.

Former pitcher Steve Rogers is a special assistant to Tony Clark, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. He is the players' pension liaison; his email address is

Doug Gladstone, Author
"A Bitter Cup of Coffee; How MLB & The Players Association Threw 874 Retirees a Curve"

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