Baseball’s First Free Agent Retires From Coaching

Time to put on your trivia hats, readers (trivia hats? wtf). Who was the first free agent in major league history? The temptation is to say Curt Flood, since his name is on the official act that made free agency possible, but no. The correct answer is Andy Messersmith (duh, right?), a four-time All-Star in the ’60s and ’70s.

Andy Messersmith
(Take one part Kenny Powers and one part Jeffrey Lebowski… and chiiilllll.)

So why bring Messersmith up now? After all, if you people wanted semi-obscure trivia, you’d go over to Sporcle and take some quizzes. Turns out the old northpaw is finally saying goodbye to baseball, having just retired from Cabrillo College

“He told us he was past his prime now,” said star third baseman Taylor Vail, “and that he wanted to give the team over to someone else who could put more time into it. He said he’s too old. But he also said he’d be interested in coming out a help [sic] coach pitching if the new coach wanted him to.”

Vail said Messersmith was a breath of fresh air.

“I’ve had in-your-face coaches my whole life,” he said. “Andy was a really laid-back coach. That was a nice change. He coached us and if you needed extra help, he’d help you.”

Not to be catty or anything [here it comes.–ed.], but perhaps there’s a correlation between his laid-back attitude and the fact that he went 69-85 as a coach at Cabrillo. I don’t know. At the lower levels of play, though, is it better to be a hair below .500 and having a good time, or winning most of your games and miserable? There’s an option C here, of course; we never deal in false dichotomies here at SbB. It’s in our bylaws. But between the two, which would be better? Tough call.