Donald Fehr announced his retirement Monday as head of the baseball players’ association after a quarter-century marked by a strike that canceled the World Series, record salaries and finally 14 years of labor peace.
Fehr, who turns 61 next month, said he will leave no later than the end of March. Fehr recommended that he be succeeded by union general counsel Michael Weiner, the No. 3 official and his longtime heir apparent. The move is subject to approval by the union’s executive board and possible ratification by all players.
“I have no hesitancy in recommending to the players that he be given the opportunity to do this job,” Fehr said.
Weiner, 47, will lead negotiations for the next contract; the current labor agreement expires in December 2011.
Weiner and Steve Fehr, the union leader’s brother, were the primary day-to-day negotiators of labor contracts in 2002 and 2006, baseball’s first since 1970 that were achieved without a work stoppage.
As part of the succession plan, Weiner met Monday in the union’s conference room with Fehr and the 92-year-old Marvin Miller, Fehr’s predecessor.
“I think that he’s a bright guy,” Miller said in a telephone interview. “He’s certainly not lacking in experience.”
Fehr headed negotiations for five labor contracts plus a divisive August 2002 drug agreement that was revised three times under congressional pressure. He decided he didn’t want to negotiate the next labor contract in two years and wanted to give Weiner lead time.
“After a while, it wears you down,” Fehr said. “I think it will be good for everybody.”
Weiner has been with the players’ association since September 1988 and has been its general counsel since February 2004. The No. 2 official is Gene Orza, the chief operating officer.
Clearing the bases
The Mets placed Carlos Beltran on the 15-day disabled list. The All-Star center fielder has an aching bone bruise on his right knee, the same injury that sidelined him for a couple of games in late May. … Tampa Bay’s Akinori Iwamura underwent an arthroscopic procedure to repair a partial tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and could be back on the field in six to eight weeks. The second baseman was expected to miss the remainder of the season. … Cleveland infielder Asdrubal Cabrera will begin a 20-day rehabilitation assignment today after being sidelined nearly three weeks with a sprained shoulder. Cabrera injured his left shoulder sliding into second base against Minnesota on June 3. The club said he will report to Double-A Akron.
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