An open letter to prospective draftees ...

By now, you have spent countless hours on baseball diamonds, developing and honing your skills with levels of focus and determination that maybe only fellow elite athletes can truly appreciate. But you take it in stride because that's simply what it it takes to put yourself in position to be drafted by a big-league club and have the opportunity to negotiate your first professional contract.

Being drafted is something young players dream about. You have spent years getting to this point. Yet, it represents a new beginning, too. Baseball's ultimate challenge - reaching and remaining in the big leagues - remains a far-off goal that a small percentage of you will eventually reach. That journey is full of challenges, both mental and physical. The competition ratchets up at each level.

Virtually every member of the Major League Baseball Players Association has been in your situation. Each big-league player has competed from amateur baseball up through the minor-league system to earn his place on a 40-man roster. Each player has faced those challenges.

It is our view that there is a right way and a wrong way to compete. Clean, fair competition is at the heart of our game and players have gone to great lengths and made personal sacrifices over the years to preserve baseball's integrity.

We consider all professional players as guardians of our game. It will be your obligation to leave baseball in even better shape for the generation of players that will come after you. In fact, each generation of players that has entered professional baseball has taken that responsibility seriously and our industry is thriving because of those efforts.

That responsibility to the game only increases as you move your way up the ladder. Through their Players Association, big-league players have worked not just to protect and advance the interests of the players but also to improve and shape the game on and off the field. They take that responsibility seriously. They are involved and engaged.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the MLBPA, we are the union that represents all players on clubs' 40-man rosters. We are among the strongest unions in the United States because generations of players dating back to the early '60s have taken an active interest in their livelihoods and the game that they love.

For nearly 50 years, players represented by the MLBPA have worked together to improve nearly every facet of their working lives as well as to ensure the game's integrity and popularity. We look forward to you one day becoming part of our fraternity of players!

Good luck,

Tony Clark

Executive Director
Major League Baseball Players Association