Phillies’ Bryce Harper upgrades IronPigs’ meals amid potential MiLB union

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Phillies star Bryce Harper gives back to his former minor-league teammates.

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper recently showed once again why he is one of the most well-regarded players in Major League Baseball — and not just because of his incredible on-the-field actions.

As The Morning Call’s Tom Housenick reports, the seven-time All-Star carried on the tradition of major leaguers — who are on rehab assignments — upgrading their minor league teammates’ meals.

Despite only playing a pair of games at Triple-A, Harper provided a pregame spread on Friday from Mission BBQ for both the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and their opponent from the past week — the Atlanta Braves Triple-A affiliate, the Gwinnett Stripers. The following night, IronPigs players enjoyed steaks courtesy of Harper from the Bethlehem-based PRIME Steak House.

While this longstanding tradition is nice and a wonderful gesture, it is actually rooted in the vast inequality between major-league and minor-league players. Harper’s recent actions to upgrade meals serve as a reminder that most minor-leaguers do not make a living wage to be able to feed themselves quality foods.

But that could soon change. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the MLB Players Association is working toward unionizing minor-league players. Passan reports that after union authorization vote cards were distributed, MLBPA player leadership voted “without opposition” on Friday to approve the campaign to bring in minor leaguers.

This first step is significant news.

The 2022 season marked the first in which Major League Baseball required teams to provide housing for all players assigned to their minor-league affiliates. The Phillies have been at the center of some controversy, however, as they reportedly are putting their players up in hotels instead of apartments, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Scott Lauber.

Overall, the housing policy is working — and is notably keeping players off of mattresses. But this campaign to unionize minor-leaguers across the U.S. will drive necessary equality even further for all professional baseball players.

In the meantime, if big-league stars like Harper continue to show signs of generosity — such as upgrading their minor-league teammates’ meals — it will go a long way.

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