Mark Irvings

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Mark L. Irvings

Biographical Information[edit]

Mark Irvings was appointed as official Arbitrator by Major League Baseball in June of 2017, replacing Fredric Horowitz who had been fired the previous November.

After obtaining a degree in dispute resolution and labor economics from Harvard University and a law degree from Northeastern University, he began working in the field of alternative dispute resolution in 1975 and was admitted to the National Academy of Arbitrators in 1981. He is based in Boston, MA. He became one of the most prominent practitioners in the field of arbitration in New England. Among the thousands of cases which he heard over the years were a number of salary arbitration hearings on behalf of Major League Baseball starting in 2012. That helped to distinguish him as a potential candidate to replace Horowitz after he was fired.

However, Irvings' tenure was short-lived. In March 2020, he ruled in favor of the Chicago Cubs in the grievance put forward by All-Star 3B Kris Bryant that the team had deliberately delayed his major league debut in 2015 in order to push back his eligibility for salary arbitration by a year; Irvings stated that there was no evidence that the club did anything "nefarious". He also ruled against Carter Stewart, who had sought to be declared a free agent after failing to come to an agreement with the Atlanta Braves who had made him the 8th overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft. The two rulings led a number of observers to comment that he was definitely on the side of the owners. By the time another important dispute came up, in the summer of 2021, with the MLBPA stating that the owners had deliberately shortened the 2020 season to a bare minimum in order to deprive players of part of their salaries, he was no longer on the case, having quietly been replaced by Martin Scheinman.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Sheryl Rings, esq.: "The Kris Bryant ruling shows MLB’s “impartial” arbitration is a farce: The MLBPA should fire arbitrator Mark Irvings for refusing to require MLB teams to act in good faith.",, January 30, 2020. [1]

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