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There were two actually. Pitchers Andy Messersmith of the LA Dodgers and Dave McNally of the Montreal Expos refused to sign contracts for the 1975 season. Because of Baseball's reserve clause, which at the time was a standard paragraph in every contract that stated the team reserved the rights to the player after their contract ended and could renew their contract for one season after the previous contract had run out, both played the 1976 season without signing a contract. After the season the two player's case went before an arbitrator who ruled in the player's favor. MLB appealed the decision but higher courts upheld the ruling. Free agency had been born. Messersmith signed a 3 year, $1 million contract with the Atlanta Braves and McNally, who had suffered with arm problems the past couple of years, retired.

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