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Re(2): 1968 Strike

The problem with these subjects is that even 50 years later feelings are still raw and some of what happened in 88 had its origins in 68. It was not so much a “strike” in the traditional sense. Players wanted to organize but as nearly all players were foreign nationals and it was the 60’s their desire to organize was legally complex and labor law was different.

It is probably more aptly described as a “lock-out.” As frontons were only open 4-6 months ownership refused to bring back players who were trying to organize and those who supported them and they instead signed young up-and-coming players by the dozens. Unlike 88 the majority of “new” players (since there was no strike they were not “replacement” players) did in fact come from Spain, France & a few from Mexico (and a handful of US players). On the whole they were very good and several would become legends of the 70’s & 80’s. As I understand it there wasn’t so much a formal “ban” on players (for example several of the locked-out players would later become player managers) - but there were definitely hard feelings.

Bridgeport’s concept of hiring the best-of-the-best who had been locked out was bold as many of those players were at the later stages of their prime years but they were able to assemble them in one location which gave CT Jai-Alai instant credibility.

There is not much question that the bitterness and resentment created by the 68 dispute laid a foundation for some of what happened in 88.

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