Following the tragic air disaster that claimed 43 lives and wiped out the Kontinental Hockey League’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavi squad, some might’ve recalled the 1958 plane crash that killed 7 members of Manchester United’s European Cup contenders. Fewer still, however, would be expected to reference a 2010 novel co-authored by former Pirates/Cardinals outfielder Andy Van Slyke, so full credit to SBN’s Al Yellon for doing so.
“The Curse”‘s premise revolves around the Cubs suffering a tragedy in which 23 members of the team lose their lives. Within a couple of days, MLB establishes a “disaster draft”, described by a member of the team’s management:
“It is going to be essentially set up the same way the last expansion draft worked… only we will be the only team drafting. Every club gets to protect 20 players off its 40-man roster. We can only select players who are eligible for the 40-man. Teams can only protect eight pitchers. Once we select a player from an organization, they can pull back five more players, only two of whom can be pitchers. We can’t take more than two players from any one organization.”
The novel goes on to say that players with no-trade clauses or 10-and-5 rights couldn’t be selected unless they waived those rights. That’s fiction, but it’s very likely the way MLB would re-stock a team in the event of a tragedy like this week’s in Russia