Curtis Granderson hit 41 home runs during the regular season and then hit a few more Monday during a wiffle ball home run derby at PS 19 in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx.
The good news for Yankee and baseball fans is Granderson and other home run hitters will be doing their hitting for the next five years in relative labor peace.
While the NFL and NBA experienced lengthy lockouts this year, MLB quietly agreed to a five-year collective bargaining agreement last week. The official announcement occurred shortly before — and within walking distance — of where the NBA lockout ended 4 a.m. Saturday morning.
Granderson served as the Yankees player representative last season and has been involved with the union since 2006. He spoke publicly for the first time about the new deal after helping the school dedicate its refurnished schoolyard and raise $1,500 for its health and nutrition program.
“Throughout the course of the season, we started negotiations in February or March and I think the fact that we were able to get the ball going on those ends, it knocked out a lot of big pieces early on,” Granderson said. “It definitely helped out a lot.”
Granderson is part of a group of player reps that helped baseball avoid a work stoppage for the third straight time an agreement expired. The closest was August 2002, but in the wake of Sept. 11, players and owners realized what a nightmare labor strife can be and have gone 16 years without labor problems after having eight previous disputes.
“A lot of sides wanted to see the deal done in the World Series, but there were some things we had to work out. But I think it was a matter of finally realizing that what everybody [needed to do] was move forward and keep the game going.”
Besides new luxury tax rules, human growth hormone testing is one of the biggest changes.
“I’m happy to go ahead and keep everything clean even as much as we can,” Granderson said. “There really isn’t 100 percent proof on exactly what it does but if people feel it does give them an advantage and if there is a way that it is, then we definitely want to go ahead and find a way to keep it out.
“We’re definitely taking the steps towards doing that by starting in spring training. We’re testing everybody with the normal physicals and I think that’s going to be a good way to keep the game going.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.