Twenty-one months of litigation caused by George Steinbrenner's removal from control of the New York Yankees came to an end yesterday when the third and final lawsuit was dropped.
Leonard Kleinman, the team's former chief operating officer, dropped the suit in U.S. District Court after receiving a $1.05 million payment from Steinbrenner. Commissioner Fay Vincent had said he would not entertain a request for Steinbrenner's instatement until the lawsuits disappeared.
Vincent was prepared to suspend Steinbrenner for two years on July 30, 1990, after the owner's association with and $40,000 payment to gambler Howard Spira, who had provided information about former Yankees outfielder Dave Winfield. But Steinbrenner, fearing a suspension would jeopardize his position a U.S. Olympic Committee vice president, negotiated what amounted to a lifetime ban.
Kleinman sued Vincent after the commissioner blocked him from succeeding Steinbrenner as managing general partner. While Steinbrenner at first funded Kleinman's suit, he demanded that Kleinman drop it when it became an obstacle to Steinbrenner's possible return. When Kleinman refused, he was fired Feb. 21 as the team's chief operating officer.
* PHILLIES: Lenny Dykstra, who missed two weeks with a broken left wrist, was activated yesterday for Philadelphia's game against the New York Mets.
Dykstra was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 8 after being hit by a pitch on Opening Day by the Chicago Cubs' Greg Maddux.
The team also put Dale Murphy on the 15-day disabled list with fluid on his left knee, retroactive to April 15.
* MARINERS: Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf says he will ask for additional changes in the Japanese-led bid for Seattle when baseball's ownership committee meets Thursday to discuss the proposed sale.
Reinsdorf said he wants more assurances that the Japanese will not be able to control team decisions and said he may urge the 10-man committee to postpone action.
* REDS: Third baseman Chris Sabo was taken off the injury list and activated, making him available to play last night in San Diego.
The Reds put shortstop Barry Larkin on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 19. Larkin was injured when he collided with left fielder Glenn Braggs while chasing a pop fly last week.