The new World Umpires Association has reached a tentative agreement with Major League Baseball to resolve the fate of the 22 umpires who lost their jobs as part of the old union's ill-fated mass resignation ploy last summer.
Under the deal, which must be approved by the disenfranchised Major League Umpires Association, 10 umpires would return to work, six would retire and six would receive financial buyouts. In order for the plan to go into effect, the old union must agree to drop a pending grievance against Major League Baseball aimed at reinstating all of the displaced umpires.
"It was the best deal that the World Umpires Association could facilitate," said union counsel Larry Gibson. "It's important to use the word facilitate. We facilitated a framework. We didn't negotiate on behalf of those umpires because that's the job of the MLUA."
If the MLUA goes along with the agreement - and there is no guarantee that defrocked union chief Richie Phillies will be amenable to it - baseball would add an 18th four-man crew and assign six floating umpires to fill out short crews.
The returning 10 umpires are: Jim Evans, Greg Darling, Bob Davidson, Sam Holbrook, Ed Hickok, Larry Vanover, Tom Hallion, Bruce Dreckman, Paul Nauert and Bill Hohn. The umpires who will get full retirement benefits (under the new labor agreement) are: Frank Pulli, Terry Tata, Larry McCoy, Dale Ford, Ken Kaiser and Rich Garcia. The buyouts will go to Greg Kosc, Eric Gregg, Mark Johnson, Larry Poncino, Joe West and Drew Coble.
The tentative agreement was reached during three days of negotiations at the office of Baltimore attorney Ron Shapiro, who helped direct the formation of the new union.