The Winners Baseball Owners Say Play Ball

April 03, 1995|By Peter Schmuck

Donald Fehr -- Embattled union director lands on his feet and bolsters credibility with his membership. No salary cap. No tax plan (yet!). No significant players crossed the picket lines. Under the circumstances, it doesn't get any better than this.

Peter Angelos -- Renegade Orioles owner became a baseball cult hero by refusing to use replacement players and calling every wrong-headed move by the owners in advance. Called ownership's hard-line bargaining approach "mass economic suicide." Nearly $900 million in revenue losses later, he turned out to be right. Best line of dispute: "Why don't we just pass out the Kool-Aid and get it over with?"

Sonia Sotomayor -- Federal District Court judge put the players back on the field by issuing an injunction that forced the owners to resume operations under the old economic system. During Friday hearing, proved to be extremely well-versed on the economics of baseball -- perhaps more so than some of the owners plotting strategy during the dispute. Some say she's on the fast track to become the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice. Solid performance on big headline case can't hurt her reputation.

John Calhoun Wells -- Federal mediator got out before the dispute got him, withdrawing when it became apparent that any attempt at conciliation was pointless. If only William J. Usery had been so lucky.

Cal Ripken -- Orioles shortstop was in danger of seeing 13 years of work go down the drain when the strike -- and possibility of replacement games -- put his 2,009-game playing streak in jeopardy. Now, looks like an even bigger hero for supporting the union even against his own personal interests.

Civics Teachers All Over America -- That chapter on the National Labor Relations Act used to be nap time for high school students. Now every teen-age baseball fan can quote verbatim from the Wagner Act.

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