Joe Maddon deserves all the recognition and praise he gets, says Jimmy Driscoll, who served as Maddon’s best man, photographer and limo driver at his wedding.
But ever since he became a successful big league manager, starting when he took Tampa Bay to the World Series in 2008, Driscoll says Maddon, who guided the Chicago Cubs to victory in the 2016 World Series, and who today was announced as the new skipper of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, has refused to return his texts or phone calls.
Driscoll, who turned 75 on May 14th, was a reserve utility infielder who debuted with the Oakland Athletics in June of 1970. He also played for the Texas Rangers in 1972. In parts of two seasons, Driscoll got into 36 games and came up to the plate 70 times and collected 10 hits, including one home run. Driscoll is a Medford, Massachusetts native who now resides in North Conway, New Hampshire.
Driscoll and 626 other men do not get pensions because they didn’t accrue four years of service credit. That was what ballplayers who played between 1947 – 1979 needed to be eligible for the pension plan.
Instead, they all receive nonqualified retirement payments based on a complicated formula that had to have been calculated by an actuary.
In brief, for every 43 game days of service a man had accrued, he’d get $625, up to the maximum, $10,000. And that payment is before taxes were taken out.
When the player dies, the payment is not permitted to be passed on to a designated beneficiary, like a spouse or other loved one. And the player is not covered under the MLB’s health care umbrella coverage plan, either.
By contrast, a player who played AFTER 1980 is eligible for health coverage after one game day. And he’s eligible for a pension after 43 game days. And the payment can be passed on to a loved one or designated recipient.
For these players, the maximum pension allowable under the IRS is $225,000.
Through no fault of their own, these men are all being penalized for playing in the majors at the wrong time. Driscoll has privately confided that he feels disgusted by MLB’s treatment of the entire group. “We’re the lost boys of baseball,” he said.
Driscoll is available to be interviewed if you are amenable. His phone # is 603-986-4997.
Douglas J. Gladstone, Author