Aces on Strike


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(February 28, 1966) Seeking a three-year, $1.05 million contract, Dodger pitchers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale today began a joint holdout, threatening to boycott spring training and the start of the season unless their demands for multi-year contracts were met.

Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax

Meeting their salary demands would make the Dodgers’ starters the highest-paid pitchers in major league baseball. The pitchers had agreed that neither would sign with the Dodgers independently.

At first, the Dodgers’ general manager, Buzzie Bavasi, would agree to negotiate only with the pitchers themselves. He refused to negotiate with Koufax’s agent.

After nearly a month’s holdout, Bavasi would meet with Koufax and Drysdale at a corner table in the restaurant of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel to hammer out a deal. The pitchers wanted $150,000 each for three years, a figure Bavasi could not accept, and the talks stalled.

Don Drysdale

Don Drysdale

Practically on the eve of Opening Day, the pair struck a pair of one-year deals: $110,000 for Drysdale, $125,000 for Koufax. They were still the highest-paid pitchers in baseball, and avoiding any multi-year deals worked out for the Dodgers, as 1966 would turn out to be the last season for Koufax.








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