Alomar fine steered by Johnson O's manager directed player to pay $10,500 to wife's charity

Union considers grievance

Angelos reportedly outraged by action

October 29, 1997|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

The controversy surrounding Orioles manager Davey Johnson's July fine of second baseman Roberto Alomar results largely from Johnson's instructing the player to earmark the money for a charity that retains Johnson's wife, Susan, as its leading fund-raiser, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Johnson fined Alomar $10,500 July 11 for missing an exhibition the day before against the Triple-A Red Wings in Rochester, N.Y. Alomar had attempted to return to Puerto Rico after the All-Star Game to be with family after the death of his grandmother. Alomar failed to notify Johnson and, as a result, was fined. Johnson tacked on $500 for Alomar's unexcused absence from an April team banquet.

Johnson, according to the source, instructed Alomar to contribute the fine to the Carsons Scholarship Fund. The fund establishes scholarships as a means of encouraging children to remain in school.

The fund is a project of Dr. Benjamin Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and an occasional visitor to the Orioles clubhouse, and his wife, Candy. Susan Johnson is the fund's managing director.

The matter has been forwarded to the Major League Baseball Players Association, which offered no comment last night. However, the union said in July that it intended to file a grievance on the player's behalf.

Players association executives have since discussed the matter with Orioles owner Peter Angelos, whom sources describe as outraged over Johnson's handling of the matter. To prevent an unseemly distraction in the middle of the season, Angelos brokered a deal shortly after the incident in which he assured the players association that the matter would be handled internally. Angelos has yet to enforce the fine. Indeed, he could counter by taking action against Johnson.

Angelos was not available for comment last night.

The revelation sheds new light on the lingering faceoff between owner and manager. Johnson steadfastly refused to address the fine during the season, and the union instructed Alomar to hold his tongue. Alomar met with Angelos to disclose details of the fine immediately after Johnson imposed the punishment.

The fine was for one-third of Alomar's daily pay and was issued without clearance from Angelos or the front office. General manager Pat Gillick was reportedly blindsided by Johnson's designation of the fine.

The issue surfaces at a time when Johnson is pressing Angelos to grant him a contract extension beyond 1998, the final year of his three-year deal. In a fax sent to the team's legal counsel Thursday, Johnson requested a buyout of his final season if there is no extension. Angelos has shown little inclination to do either.

Though organization officials have remained closemouthed about the controversy, Gillick recently said he believed Johnson had only a 50-50 chance of returning as manager, and cited lingering "issues" that had to be resolved.

Pub Date: 10/29/97

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