‘Catfish’ Hunter becomes MLB’s first free agent in modern era

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On December 15, 1974, Oakland’s Jim “Catfish” Hunter is ruled a free agent by arbitrator Peter Seitz—the first free agent in modern baseball history—after A’s owner Charles O. Finley fails to live up to terms of the star pitcher’s contract. “The contract is quite clear as to what Finley is obligated to do, and it is also clear he has done none of it,” Marvin Miller, head of the powerful Major League Baseball Players Association, tells reporters.



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