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Ray Grebey, Major League Baseball’s lead labor negotiator in the early 1980s, dies

Ray Grebey (left) with Marvin Miller in New York in 1980.
Ray Grebey (left) with Marvin Miller in New York in 1980.Associated Press

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NEW YORK — Ray Grebey, who led Major League Baseball labor negotiations during the tumultuous 50-day strike that split the 1981 season, has died. He was 85.

Mr. Grebey died Aug. 28 in Stamford, Conn., and a memorial Mass was held Wednesday at St. Timothy’s Church in Greenwich, Conn. His son, Clarence R. (Bud) Grebey III, said Wednesday that his father was diagnosed with stomach cancer in late July and the disease was aggressive.

Hired by baseball owners in 1978 following 20 years at General Electric Co., Mr. Grebey succeeded John Gaherin as the sport’s chief labor negotiator. After arbitrator Peter Seitz struck down the reserve clause, Gaherin had worked out the deal in 1976 that created free agency.

Mr. Grebey was part of a turbulent era, when baseball was shut down by eight work stoppages in a 23-year span.

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