Sport: In the Strike Zone

Above the 1981 baseball season's uncommonly sunny start there looms a dark cloud left over from a winter of discontent. There is every chance of a strike of baseball players on May 29.

The problem is free agency, a status the players won in a 1975 federal court decision. The ruling gave them the right to leave their teams after six years of major league service and sign with the highest bidder. Since then, 248 players have taken that option, and the average major league salary has more than tripled, to almost $180,000 a year. The owners abhor free agency more than...

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