Forty Under 40: Matthew Nussbaum
One of his many jobs is to find a day to reschedule the game for both clubs.“This is one of Matt’s skills — diplomacy,” said Dave Prouty, MLBPA general counsel and Nussbaum’s boss. “He has to call the players’ reps on both teams and say, ‘Hey, here are your options. None of them are good. What do you want to do?’”
Since Nussbaum joined the MLBPA in 2011, he has been involved in every major aspect of labor relations on behalf of baseball players, including being the lead or co-counsel on every salary arbitration case. He has represented players in grievances and been a key member of collective-bargaining negotiations.
“If you look at the cases Matt has settled over the years, he has gotten hundreds of thousands of dollars for players in all kinds of cases, and especially injury cases,” Prouty said.
He’s a smart lawyer, incredibly organized, modest, with a dry wit, and understands baseball players because he was one, Prouty said. Nussbaum was a walk-on player at the University of Notre Dame, but worked his way up to the starting catcher’s job.
Nussbaum said one of the things he is most proud of working on is the recent negotiations over on-field rule changes, including the double play slide rule and the home plate collision rule that went into effect in 2014. “As a washed-up former college baseball player, quarterbacking the PA’s efforts in this arena has been the perfect marriage of baseball and legal work,” he said.
Nussbaum has earned respect from the other side of the table, as well. “Matt is an extremely intelligent attorney who is always well-prepared in negotiations or hearings,” said Dan Halem, MLB chief legal officer. “He is a passionate advocate for players yet does so in a respectful and professional manner that impresses everyone who has dealt with him, and is a real asset to the Players Association.”
— Liz Mullen
matthew nussbaummajor league baseball players association | assistant general counsel
Where born: South Bend, Ind.
Education: University of Notre Dame (B.A., government); Notre Dame Law School (J.D.)
Family: Wife, Lauren; children, Nora (6), Brigid (3), Grace (2)
What do you know now that you wish you’d known at age 20: Life moves fast so it’s important to pause often and count blessings.
Profession other than your own you’d most like to attempt: Author/historian.
Foundation supported: St. Luke Foundation for Haiti.
The sports industry needs to do a better job of … : Preventing kids from getting priced out of the sports they love to play.
You’d be surprised to know that I … : Am actually not the first in my family to receive this recognition. (ESPN’s Justin Connolly is Nussbaum’s brother-in-law and a member of the Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame.)