Group of ex-players sues Orioles for $7 million over baseball cards

March 31, 1994|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Sun Staff Writer

Hank Foiles, a journeyman catcher who played in 43 games for the 1961 Baltimore Orioles, has filed a $7 million, class-action lawsuit seeking compensation from the team for using his likeness in a set of promotional baseball cards.

Foiles, 64 and living in Norfolk, Va., contends that he and about 450 other former Orioles are owed money because they were depicted, without their permission, in a 1991 series of baseball cards featuring every player in the team's modern history. The cards were given away at selected Orioles games and were sold at area Crown gasoline stations.

The suit, which also names Crown Central Petroleum and Coca-Cola Co. as defendants, was filed last week in Baltimore Circuit Court. Foiles is demanding on behalf of himself and the other players $2 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The former catcher says in the complaint that he has requested compensation for himself and the other players, but has received none.

Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos said the cards were issued under the previous ownership of Eli S. Jacobs, and added, "I'm sure that whatever inconvenience caused Mr. Foiles, if any, was unintentional." Angelos said the new ownership group would offer an "appropriate response" after they are served with the complaint.

Joseph M. Coale, director of corporate communications for Crown Central Petroleum, said his company bought cards from the Orioles for sale at its gas stations on the assumption the team had secured the appropriate rights for the promotion.

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