Ump Coble says he never quit

League accepted his resignation

August 02, 1999|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

Drew Coble is one of nine umpires whose resignations Gene Budig, the American League president, accepted last week. The only problem is Coble said he never resigned.

Budig also accepted Greg Kosc's resignation, but Kosc said he had rescinded his resignation in the same period when other umpires withdrew their resignations and saved their jobs.

Coble, a crew chief in his 18th year with the league, was notified in a letter from Budig dated July 26 that he had received on July 15 a letter of resignation from Coble dated July 14.

But Coble said yesterday that he did not sign a resignation letter dated July 14 and did not attend the meeting in Philadelphia that day at which more than 50 umpires did sign such letters. Coble said he was at home in Graham, N.C., with his wife. "Kim had chemotherapy that day in the hospital," Coble said by telephone from his home.

Coble said he was so involved with his wife's illness that he was not even aware of the umpires' action until a few days later.

Once he did learn of the step his colleagues had taken to try to induce baseball officials to begin negotiations for a new labor agreement, Coble said, he decided to join them. "I signed a letter July 22 and sent it to Richie," he said, referring to Richie Phillips, the umpires' lawyer and labor leader. "To my knowledge, Richie never sent it to the league office."

Phillips would not confirm that Coble had sent him a letter of resignation, but whatever it was, Phillips added, "I did not forward to the league office."

Phillips, however, issued a news release July 22 saying that Coble and Ted Hendry of the AL and Greg Bonin of the National League had advised the leagues that they were resigning. But Hendry and Bonin have retained their jobs, ostensibly because the league offices never received their letters.

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