Fired Rodgers points finger at Angels president AMERICAN LEAGUE

May 19, 1994|By Los Angeles Times

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Buck Rodgers, who was fired Tuesday, yesterday accused California Angels president Richard Brown of being a cancer in the organization.

Rodgers said Brown had him fired and that general manager Bill Bavasi simply was following orders.

But sources close to Bavasi confirmed the firing was Bavasi's idea, and that Brown and chairman Jackie Autry approved it. Owner Gene Autry told Rodgers in a phone call that he wasn't aware of the firing until after the fact.

Rodgers indicated that it was difficult to believe that Bavasi, who was hired Jan. 12, would fire him this quickly. Sources, however, insist Bavasi was troubled by Rodgers' stubbornness and was convinced that they could not coexist. Bavasi wanted to hire his own manager, and his only choice was Marcel Lachemann. If Lachemann had rejected the job, Bavasi said yesterday, Rodgers would still be manager.

Rodgers lashed out at Brown at a news conference he called at an Anaheim hotel. The Angels sent a club official to monitor it and report back to the front office.

"There's still some kind of cancer here with the California Angels," Rodgers said, directing his comments toward Brown. "I think that's very obvious for someone who's been here for 15 minutes.

"This organization is not all bad. This organization is very salvageable. But there's a paranoia here. There's a fear of failure that has to go."

When Brown was informed of Rodgers' comments during the 30-minute news conference, he declined to address them.

Said Bavasi: "You've got a guy who's been through a tough, traumatic experience, and [Rodgers is] entitled to make any comments that he deems appropriate.

"But what I told you [Tuesday] is the absolute truth. I know what happened. Rich knows what happened."

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