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Former MLB American League President LEE MACPHAIL, who also was a Yankees and Orioles GM and the oldest member of the Baseball HOF, died on Thursday at his home in Delray Beach, Fla., according to Richard Goldstein of the N.Y. TIMES. He was 95. In a career that "spanned five decades," MacPhail “held virtually every baseball executive position except commissioner.” MacPhail was “probably best remembered for being at the center of a baseball storm: the pine-tar dispute of July 1983.” In a game between the Yankees and the Royals at Yankee Stadium, an umpire “disallowed a go-ahead home run by GEORGE BRETT of the Royals with two outs in the ninth inning, ruling that Brett had too much pine tar on his bat.” MacPhail as AL President “overruled the umpire, citing ‘the spirit of the rules.’” MacPhail became AL President in ‘74 with the retirement of JOE CRONIN and “served two five-year terms.” He “ran the player relations committee, management’s labor relations arm, from 1983 to 1985, then retired from baseball.” In ‘98, 20 years after his father, former baseball exec LARRY MACPHAIL, was inducted, Lee MacPhail was “enshrined at Cooperstown” (N.Y. TIMES, 11/10).
GUIDING LIGHT: MLB Commissioner BUD SELIG said in a statement, “Lee MacPhail was one of the great executives in Baseball history and a Hall of Famer in every sense, both personally and professionally. I had great admiration for Lee as American League President, and he was respected and liked by everyone with whom he came in contact. His hallmarks were dignity, common sense and humility” (MLB). Baseball writer Murray Chass wrote MLB has "never had an abundance of honest, candid people, and now there is one less" (MURRAYCHASS.com, 11/11). MLB.com's Marty Noble wrote MacPhail was "baseball's King Solomon; he understood the greater good of the game and worked for it." Neither "conservative nor liberal in his baseball politics, he helped usher in the designated-hitter rule, presided over the expansion of the American League, was the integral force in the settlement of the protracted players' strike in 1981 and used his considerable influence to bring Interleague Play to the fore" (MLB.com, 11/9).
MARK VERGE, who was hired as CEO of Santa Anita Park in March, has left that position after a little more than seven months on the job. “It is a very nice parting,” Verge said. “They could not have been nicer about it; they offered me another position." Verge, an L.A.entrepreneur who started a number of successful businesses and owns racehorses, began as CEO on March 17. He is at least the 10th CEO of Santa Anita since billionaire and auto parts magnate FRANK STRONACH bought the famed racetrack in '98. He said he will still be a presence at the track and will continue to race his horses. “I am going to pursue some other things; they are going to pursue some other things,” he said. “They were very happy with my numbers. But at some point, we both agreed that I am not CEO material" (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal). In Pasadena, Frank Girardot reported no replacement "has been named," but GEORGE HAINES will remain the track's GM. Track Publicity Dir MIKE WILLMAN said Verge "came to the realization that his other businesses require too much time." Verge was "known for his quirky style and willingness to tinker with much of the track's storied traditions." A source said that Stronach recently "signed a marketing agreement" with musician GENE SIMMONS. But the source added that "it is not likely Simmons will take over the day-to-day business of managing the track" (PASADENA STAR NEWS, 11/9). DAILY RACING FORM's Matt Hegarty wrote a company "affiliated with Simmons helped market an energy drink launched by Stronach and his son, ANDREW," but the drink "failed as a commercial enterprise" (DRF.com, 11/9). Meanwhile, sources said that Santa Anita Chief Creative Officer JIMMY DUNNE, beverage consultant CEDD MOSES and media consultant DAMIEN LEWIS are "also leaving" (PAULICKREPORT.com, 11/9).
The PGA of America named former USGA Chief Business Officer PETER BEVACQUA CEO, succeeding JOE STERANKA. Bevacqua was hired after an extensive search and was formally introduced on Saturday prior to the conclusion of the 96th PGA Annual Meeting in Baltimore. The PGA also promoted Managing Dir of Strategic Development DARRELL CRALL to COO. The PGA of America named VP TED BISHOP President, succeeding ALLEN WRONOWSKI, who will serve on the PGA BOD as Honorary President. The PGA of America also named secretary DEREK SPRAGUE VP and PAUL LEVY Secretary. Meanwhile, the new PGA Board members who will serve three-year terms are BUD ROUSEY, JAMES RICHERSON, BOB PHILBRICK, BILL HULBERT, DANIEL KOESTERS and NBC analyst DOTTIE PEPPER (PGA of America).
EXECS: The NFL Panthers hired former Giants GM ERNIE ACCORSI as a consultant in the team's search for a GM (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/10)....AEG China named MICHAEL ENOCH GM of the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai and MIKE CERHA GM of the Dalian China National Games Arena (AEG)....The MLS Red Bulls named ANDY ROXBURGH Sporting Dir, effective immediately (Red Bulls)....MLS Chivas USA "dismissed" coach ROBIN FRASER, VP/Sponsorships RODRIGO MORALES and VP/Marketing FRANCISCO SUINAGA (DAILYNEWS.com, 11/9)
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The wife of Bills Owner RALPH WILSON said that he is “doing well and working with a personal trainer at his suburban Detroit home.” MARY WILSON said that her husband is “walking with his walker.” In Buffalo, Karen Robinson noted Wilson was “hospitalized briefly with what was believed to be an infection in early September” (BUFFALO NEWS, 11/11).
BANKERS' HOURS: Pacers Sports & Entertainment COO RICK FUSON in a Q&A said of his attendance for events at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, “I attend most of the events. I can't say I attend every one. I do go to every Pacers game and every Fever game. Out of the 200 big events we have, I'll be at about 80 percent of them. We are here a lot. This is not a traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 11/10).
NOT YOUR REGULAR JOE: In Akron, Nate Ulrich wrote about Browns CEO JOE BANNER under the subhead, “Ultra-competitive CEO Is A Tough Negotiator, Philanthropic Leader.” Ulrich: “To say Banner is complex might be an understatement.” Banner has “brought his expertise and multilayered identity to Northeast Ohio.” Proskauer Rose Chair JOE LECCESE said, “Joe is a very analytical person, so Joe makes his points with enormous research behind them and enormous logic behind them. So he’s tenacious” (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 11/11).
CHARITY STRIPE: Knicks F AMAR'E STOUDEMIRE on Saturday “spent part of the day giving out food, clothing and blankets” in several Rockaway and Far Rockaway communities affected by Hurricane Sandy (N.Y. POST, 11/12)….Trail Blazers G WESLEY MATTHEWS has partnered with supermarket chain Fred Meyer "to collect new and ‘gently used’ coats as part of what has become an annual effort to provide a little warmth for those in need.” Portland-area Fred Meyer branches since Nov. 2 have “featured donation bins with a ‘cheesy picture’ of Matthews asking for help” (OREGONLIVE.com, 11/9)….Golfer JIM FURYK and his wife, TABITHA, participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a golf-themed playroom for children with heart conditions at Wolfson Children’s Hospital Jacksonville. The Furyks “previously donated $75,000 to Wolfson through their foundation” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 11/9)….
NAMES: In a special to the N.Y. TIMES, Brooks Sports President & CEO JIM WEBER discussed his life and career under the header, “Ice Skates To Running Shoes” (N.Y. TIMES, 11/11)….Flyers Chair ED SNIDER and Philadelphia Mayor MICHAEL NUTTER on Friday were “among those at the grand reopening of the completely renovated Tarken Ice Rink in Oxford Circle.” The event “marked the culmination of four city rinks that have been reconstructed and fully enclosed by a public/private partnership initiated by Snider, who spent $6.5 million on the project.” Snider said that the "state and city combined for another $6.5 million” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/11)....D'Backs President & CEO DERRICK HALL has been named the ’12 recipient of the Goldwater Community Service Award, and was honored on Friday at the 29th Noche de Gourmet at the Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix (D'Backs)….Prosecutors have “dropped their year-old investigation of sexual-abuse allegations against" former Syracuse Univ. assistant basketball coach BERNIE FINE. U.S. Attorney RICHARD HARTUNIAN said the probe "revealed insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal charges" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/10)....The Lions announced that musician KID ROCK will perform during their Thanksgiving Day game against the Texans (AP, 11/9)....A Poland court ordered boxing HOFer MIKE TYSON to “pay $48,000 in compensation to the organizer of a boxing gala for which” he did not show up last year (AP, 11/9)….Packers WR DONALD DRIVER and his family are featured in People magazine’s holiday special edition (GREENBAYPRESSGAZETTE.com, 11/9).
IN MEMORY: NFLPA Travel Coordinator DANA GREEN passed away last week after battling cancer (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/11).