Cuban native George A. Lauzerique wanted nothing more than to see his son, Anthony, follow in his footsteps.
Regrettably, that is never going to occur.
A former pitcher who appeared in 23 games for the Kansas City Athletics, in 1967, 1968 and 1969, and an additional 11 games for the 1970 Milwaukee Brewers, Lauzerique appeared in a total of 34 games, making 14 starts. For his career, he won four games and pitched two complete games in 113 and one-third innings.
Now a resident of Wellington, Florida, the 71-year-old Lauzerique and his wife, Jacque, tragically lost Anthony in 2007 when a physician who was treating him, Dr. John Christensen, was found negligent by the Florida Department of Health. At the time of his death of a drug overdose, Anthony Lauzerique was reportedly taking 80 oxycodone, 400 roxycodone, 90 methadone and 90 Xanax tablets each month to stem the pain he suffered as a result of seven knee surgeries. Anthony played baseball at Royal Palm Beach High School.
But do Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball Players’ Association Executive Director Tony Clark care about the couple’s suffering? No, not one iota. They only add to it.
Lauzerique is among the 641 men who aren’t receiving MLB pensions, all because the union doesn’t have the cojones to stand up to the league and go to bat for them to increase the small payments they have been receiving since 2011. Meanwhile, the maximum IRS pension limit is $220,000.
Those non qualified life annuities of $625 per quarter, up to 16 quarters, or a maximum payment of $10,000, also die when the recipient dies.
So when Jacque becomes a widow – and we hope that’s not for a very long time – the payment Lauzerique is now receiving dies with him.
Clark has no problem receiving an annual salary that’s reportedly worth $2.1 million, once you factor in his benefits. And the 72 members of the union who work at 12 East 49th Street in New York City have no problem being paid $16 million, according to a recent IRS filing.
And the average ballplayer these days has no problem making $4.47 million a year. And next season, the minimum being paid to ballplayers increases to $555,000.
And the league had no problem in 2016 cutting a check to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown for $10 million.
But when it comes to the men like Lauzerique, both Clark and Manfred have problems.
They’re each dropping the ball. Don’t let them get away with it.
Tell the league and the union to have the cojones to do the right thing.
Once and for all.
An updated version of Douglas J. Gladstone’s 2010 book, “A Bitter Cup of Coffee,” will be published by Word Association Publishers, of Tarentum, PA, in early 2019.