Accepting Uhlman's apologySome of us in the Baltimore...

LETTERS

March 07, 1993

Accepting Uhlman's apology

Some of us in the Baltimore Hispanic community have read about the alleged comments made by Orioles scout Fred Uhlman Sr. concerning Mexican ballplayers. We also have read about La Raza's demand that the Orioles fire Mr. Uhlman due to his offensive and insensitive comments. Although we are indeed offended by Mr. Uhlman's factually baseless comments, we must also recognize the efforts that Mr. Uhlman has made toward bringing Hispanic ballplayers into major-league baseball. Without clear and convincing evidence of a pattern of discrimination against Hispanic ballplayers, we are unwilling to condemn the entire Orioles' organization or seek the firing of Mr. Uhlman for his isolated, off-the-cuff remarks.

It is interesting to note that The Sun's John Eisenberg has reported the comments of certain minority baseball professionals concerning Mr. Uhlman's attitude toward Hispanic ballplayers throughout his long baseball career. For instance, Carlos Bernhardt, the Orioles' scout in the Dominican Republic, said:

"[Mr. Uhlman] is a great friend of Spanish-speaking ballplayers. I don't know the circumstances of why he said what he said, but all I know is that No. 1, he is not a bigot, and No. 2, he has helped many of my people for years."

Frank Robinson has also come to the defense of Mr. Uhlman with the following comments:

"And you have to understand that most teams don't even send American scouts to those countries. It's not a glamorous assignment. A lot of American scouts just go, 'Oh, no way.' You're going to little towns, and sometimes the conditions are bad. but Fred has gone for years. He's comfortable in the culture. He wants to help the people.

"What Fred said can't be defended, not at all, but I would hate to see him lose his job over something like this. I've been in a lot of meetings with him discussing players over the years, and never once have I heard him say anything even approaching a slur toward anyone, black or Hispanic. He's just not that kind of man."

We think that the enlightened words of Carlos Bernhardt and Frank Robinson, two men that have known Mr. Uhlman longer than many of us that have only heard about him through the media, must be given a great deal of weight. We do not believe that the Orioles organization or Mr. Uhlman should be judged by his isolated, thoughtless comments but rather by his long career helping Hispanic players. Surely, Mr. Bernhardt and Mr. Robinson would not come forward as Mr. Uhlman's supporters if they did not have a strong belief in Mr. Uhlman's character and his ability to bring talented Hispanic players to the Orioles and major-league baseball.

Based on the facts brought to light concerning Mr. Uhlman's career helping Hispanic players and the remorse that he and the Orioles have expressed over his comments, we accept Mr. Uhlman's and the Orioles' apologies. We also look forward to the Orioles' new season.

Mauricio E. Barreiro,

Manuel E. Alban

Baltimore

(Manuel E. Alban is president of the Federation of Hispanic Organizations of Maryland)

Fernando: the Babe reborn?

Fernando Valenzuela is sure to be a big success with the Orioles and obtaining him brings together certain harmonious and propitious elements that make the Orioles a lock to win the pennant.

Fernando bears an uncanny resemblance to Babe Ruth, both in facial features and body type. Both the Babe and Fernando were great left-handed pitchers. Looking at Fernando, you start to believe in reincarnation and that the Babe is back. And now, Fernando is coming to pitch on a mound that almost sits atop the Babe's early childhood home. I think that it's more than coincidence; I think it's providence.

Blake Lewis

College Park

Another vote for Wood

I, too, have to agree with Geoff Renshaw of Baltimore that Phil Wood is the best sports talk show host in the Baltimore-Washington area. He is knowledgeable in all sports.

The most refreshing thing about Phil Wood is that he doesn't take professional sports very seriously, as do some talk show hosts, and he does come up with some funny stories.

Mr. Renshaw forgot "Stan the Fan." Stan knows baseball. But please Stan, you have to do something about your Friday night high school basketball show -- zzzzzz -- I'd almost rather watch golf or bowling.

Brian J. Spector

Easton

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