The importance of labor unions has never been more hotly debated than now. There seems to be important national news regarding labor unions on a daily basis. While most labor unions contend that they defend wages, benefits and working conditions for union workers, there are always various questions about how effective unions can be and relevant that they are to today's society. Now the Major League Baseball Players Association, which has been called by some as one of the strongest unions in the world over the past two decades, has made a very important move about its future. Earlier this month, the executive board of the Major League Baseball Players Association voted unanimously to appoint former first baseman Tony Clark as the Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.
This decision and position that Tony Clark has been elected to should not be seen as anything other than historic. Clark becomes the first former player to be the Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association and the first former player to head the union since Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller served as president from 1956-59. While he represents and leads players of all nationalities and ethnicities, it also significant that Clark, who is also African American, leads in a sport where the numbers of Major League Baseball players has fluctuated downward in recent years.
The biggest challenge that Tony Clark faces is replacing the very highly respected Michael Weiner, who died Nov. 21 of brain cancer. Following Weiner's passing, there were many things said about the great job he did as the former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association including about his tremendous intelligence. However, Weiner also left a legacy as a person who brought people together despite being in a powerful position. Tony Clark will have to lean on everything he learned within his lengthy career as a professional baseball player and his prior experiences as director of player relations to create his own great legacy. Even though Major League Baseball has been passed by the NFL as America's unofficial pastime, there is great importance in being the leader of one of the top unions in sports.