MLB Pension Injustice – Jeff Holly and many others

I wonder how many long-time baseball fans are aware that there are 500 or so former MLB players, being hosed out of pensions by the league and the players’ association.

San Pedro, California native Jeff Holly is among these men.  A former Minnesota Twins pitcher who spent his entire career with the team, the 64-year-old Holly played for them during parts of the 1977, 1978 and 1979 seasons. He appeared in 39 games, six of which were starts, hurled 90 innings and recorded three lifetime wins. A resident of Tustin, California, Mr. Holly attended Aviation High School in Redondo Beach, CA.
Mr. Holly doesn’t receive a traditional pension because the rules for receiving MLB pensions changed in 1980. Holly and the other men do not get pensions because they didn’t accrue four years of service credit. That was what ballplayers who played between 1947 – 1979  needed to be eligible for the pension plan. 

Instead, they all receive nonqualified retirement payments based on a complicated formula that had to have been calculated by an actuary. In brief, for every quarter of service a man had accrued, he’d get $625. Four quarters (one year) totaled $2,500. Sixteen quarters (four years) amounts to the maximum, $10,000. And that payment is before taxes were taken out.
By contrast, the maximum allowable pension a retired MLB player who is vested can make is $210,000.

The union 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 non-qualified annuity payment, which cannot be passed on to a surviving spouse or designated beneficiary. 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 and his telephone number is 646-430-2112.

If you believe that these former big league ballplayers are being treated unfairly please give Steve Rogers a call or send him an e-mail and let him know that this is totally unfair. 

This article was submitted by Doug Gladstone, Author
“A Bitter Cup of Coffee; How MLB & The Players Association Threw 874 Retirees a Curve”

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3 Responses to MLB Pension Injustice – Jeff Holly and many others

  1. Oldgoat_MN says:

    John, I think so highly of you and the time you put into this site and how much I enjoy it that this is kind of hard to type, but I’m going to do it anyway.
    I truly appreciate that some people could be getting more money. And it is especially tugging at heart strings when it is older folks, though ‘older folks’ doesn’t really fit a 64 year old in my world.
    To be perfectly raw about it, I would love, even today, to be able to work somewhere for 3 years and receive $7,500 per year as a pension. I know he had to be ready every day, but in those 3 years he pitched 90 innings. 90 innings. And I don’t know what his annual salary was, but I’m guessing that $7,500 is a pretty healthy percentage of what his yearly income was.
    Starting at age 19, if I could have worked at 15 different companies for 3 years each putting in 40 hours per week for 3 years under this plan I could be getting $112,500 per year in pension right now. That would be awesome! Almost like what the Congress gives itself.
    I wish Mr. Holly all the best. I certainly feel no ill will toward him. But I also think that the amount of money he is already receiving is bizarre considering what the rest of us get. He is also receiving Social Security as well, is he not? (although 64 is kind of young to have filed for SS already… how young can he be and start receiving that pension?).
    I hope Mr. Holly is OK and that his life is working for him. I also think that the idea that these men are being ‘ripped off’ does not really fly in the real world. I mean, I wish everybody was rich, but that’s not how it works.
    I don’t know nor have ever met anyone personally who is making out like Mr. Holly is given his 3 years service to an organization. I’m sorry if this seems cold, but what he is getting for the time invested is so far out of sync with the rest of the planet that I just cannot feel that he is being mistreated.
    Maybe I’m completely wrong. Maybe I’m an idiot, even. If so I apologize. Just sharing my opinion.

    • jjswol says:

      No need to apologize at all, I enjoy reading everyone’s opinion. Here is how I look at it, baseball players are grossly over paid unless you compare them to the money that entertainers get but then again you could argue that baseball are entertainers, after all, they don’t manufacture anything or provide any kind of a service that any of us need.

      Having said that I look at it from the perspective at today’s players are reaping the benefits of the work put in place by the players of years ago and they should share some of their benefits that they get to enjoy today. A big deal today is “paying it forward”, the baseball community of today should look at “paying it back”.

  2. Oldgoat_MN says:

    Good points.

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