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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 152: CHECK FOR THE UNION LABEL
Published January 10, 1995
The MLBPA said Monday that it would "penalize any agent who represents a replacement player." MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza: "What level of penalty is up to the [executive board]. Anything up to decertification is among the penalties at the board's disposal" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 1/10). The union is acting just as clubs are beginning to call agents seeking players to fill their rosters. Agent Craig Fenech: "I've had some clubs ask me if I have any guys who want to come in as replacement players. But I told them we're not in that business and we're not going to be. ... The retired players whom I have spoken to have no intention of doing it" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 1/10). Red Sox CEO John Harrington: "If the replacement players do have agents, it could be a problem. But in all probability, the replacement players won't have agents" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/10). The union's penalties for agents will be announced today. OTHER NEWS: Several of the GMs on the operations committee that is shaping the rules for using replacements will meet today with management lawyers in Chicago. Meanwhile, MLB attorney Chuck O'Connor sent a letter to MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr saying the clubs will "resist any effort to have unsigned players declared free agents" (L.A. TIMES, 1/10). O'Connor: "The clubs are quite confident ... that their implementation of revised terms and conditions is entirely lawful. The legal grounds for that implementation, of course, include the union's steadfast refusal to bargain collectively over wages in violation of ... the National Labor Relations Act" (AP/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/10). NOTHING TO FEHR: Fehr was in San Juan, PR, yesterday meeting with Latin American players. While there, he "knocked down rumors" that Latin players would break ranks and cross the picket line. Blue Jay Juan Guzman: "I've been to every meeting and I know the Latin players and we're still together. Everybody's still together." Fehr's three stops have so far drawn more player participation than his last tour in September, 1994. His next stop will be tomorrow in Phoenix (AP/PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/10). MORE ON REPLACEMENTS: According to a USA TODAY survey, 39% of minor league free agents said they would "definitely or probably" sign on as replacement players. The survey projects that 163 minor-leaguers could sign, filling 6 1/2 of the 28 MLB team rosters. 700 replacement players are needed. Of the 125 minor-leaguers surveyed, 25 said they would definitely play, 24 would probably play, 28 were not sure, 20 would probably not and 28 definitely would not play (Mel Antonen, USA TODAY, 1/10). ESPN's Keith Olbermann reported that the Blue Jays will be holding replacement player camps in Southern CA this week ("SportsCenter," 1/9).