Replacements included 291 ex-union members

April 18, 1995|By New York Times News Service

Nearly 300 players who once played in the major leagues and were members of the union served the 27 clubs as replacement players during the strike-stricken exhibition schedule, lists compiled by the union show.

The team-by-team lists the union sent to members of its executive board last week totaled 1,554 players who appeared in exhibition games before the players ended their strike April 1.

Included on the 27 lists, in bold-face capital letters and underlined, were 291 players, or just under one-fifth, who formerly played in the majors, paid union dues and received union benefits, including money from sales of union-licensed products.

The lists, copies of which were obtained by the New York Times, also indicate, with asterisks, that 44 former major-leaguers were assigned to the minor leagues after the returning strikers rendered replacements unnecessary.

Gene Orza, the union's associate general counsel, said yesterday that the group of former union members included some who, while serving as replacements, asked for and received hardship advances on the licensing money the union was holding in a strike fund and one player whose application for a job with the union was pending at the time he became a replacement player.

When union chief Donald Fehr disclosed late last week the existence of the lists, he raised concerns among some baseball people that the identification of the replacement players was a blatant call for retaliation by the players who had been on strike for 234 days.

But Orza said in a telephone interview that union officials have stressed to major-leaguers that they cannot harass players who were replacements, threaten them or retaliate against them.

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