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Former pitcher wants MLB to take care of all its former players

Aurora man recalls MLB career, and how he had to retire with no benefits
Aurora man recalls MLB career, and how he had to retire with no benefits 02:28

Gary Neibauer is one of the few baseball players whose major league dreams came true. He lives in Colorado now. 

"This is kind of an interesting picture with me and Hank," said Neibauer as he pointed to a picture of him and baseball legend Hank Aaron.


He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves from the University of Nebraska in 1966. He played minor league baseball before making his debut for the Braves in 1969.

"I still remember Opening Day in 1969 at Fulton County Stadium. I mean when you stop to think about it, I had been wanting to do this since I was 4 years old," said Neibauer.

He played just under four years and appeared in 75 games, all but four of them he started in. Unfortunately, his MLB career was cut short by injury.


"If you can't perform at 100% of what your ability is at that level, you're in trouble. And I couldn't do it," Neibauer recalled.

He retired and made a life for himself as a mortgage broker but never received another cent from the MLB.

That's because he's one of nearly one of nearly 1,000 players in the MLB who were refused any type of pension or medical benefits from the players union.

"They just turned their back on us," said Neibauer.

Gary Neibauer CBS

In the MLB if players played at least five years before 1947 or were in the Negro Leagues before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, they receive annual $10,000 pensions and medical benefits. When they die, the coverage extends to their spouse or children. If you played at least 47 days in the MLB from 1980 and forward, you also received a pension and medical, even if you only played just one day. But it took a lawsuit for players like Neibauer, who played fewer than four full seasons between 1947 and 1980 to get annual payments of up to $11,000 which can't be passed on with no medical benefits.

Neibauer says it's insulting.

"They won't even acknowledge we were here. It makes no sense," said Neibauer.


Neibauer says most of the forgotten players get much less than the $11,000 payment. 

He would like to get more for he and his fellow players, but feels like the lost players are out of options. 

He says in the days of multi-million dollar contracts for players, he wishes the MLB and the players union would share the wealth.

"If I'm not mistaken, the pool for the pension is something like $4 billion. I mean, it makes no sense," said Neibauer.

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