Yankees Fire Chief Operating Officer

Posted: February 22, 1992

The New York Yankees' shaky hierarchy began to collapse yesterday when Leonard Kleinman was fired as chief operating officer and commissioner Fay Vincent threatened to reject Daniel R. McCarthy's nomination as managing general partner.

Kleinman, who also was the team's executive vice president, was fired by McCarthy because he refused to drop a lawsuit against Vincent, according to a lawyer involved in the situation, who spoke to the Associated Press on the condition he not be identified.

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who agreed in July 1990 to a ban from the team's daily operations, is reportedly attempting to regain control, but Vincent will not speak with him until two lawsuits are dropped, including Kleinman's. Steinbrenner has financed Kleinman's suit, according to court documents.

Neither Dominic F. Amorosa, Kleinman's lawyer, nor McCarthy would comment on the firing. McCarthy is currently the acting general partner.

American League president Bobby Brown said he had not been contacted about the move. According to sanctions imposed against the Yankees in 1990, the AL president must approve the firing of any Yankees officer.

McCarthy failed to appear yesterday for a scheduled meeting with Vincent at the commissioner's office, and Vincent threatened to reject his nomination unless McCarthy argued his case within three days.

Vincent said McCarthy wouldn't come to his office because the commissioner insisted on the presence of a court stenographer. Vincent met with McCarthy in early January and said he wanted to meet with him again before the nomination could be forwarded to baseball's ownership committee.

McCarthy, Steinbrenner's tax lawyer, is thought to have a slim chance of approval because he will not move to New York and because he sued Vincent two years ago in an attempt to keep Steinbrenner in power.

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Free-agent shortstop Kurt Stillwell and the San Diego Padres agreed on a $3.5 million, two-year contract, three days before the team was set to start spring training.

Stillwell will be paid $1.75 million for each of the next two years. He is also bound to the Padres for 1994, with both sides agreeing to salary arbitration that year if they cannot agree on terms.

TRACK AND FIELD

Sergei Bubka improved his world pole-vault record to 20 feet, 1 1/2 inches in a special indoor meet just for jumpers in Berlin.

The 28-year-old Ukrainian, the gold-medal winner at the Seoul Olympics,

went over the bar on his second attempt at 20-1 1/2, a half-inch higher than the record he set last year.

Bubka's outdoor best is 20 feet even, also a world record. The latest record was set in the Schoeneberg Sport Hall, where a meet for high-jumpers and vaulters is held every year.

FOOTBALL

Punter Dan Stryzinski, left unprotected as a Plan B free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers, signed a two-year contract believed to be worth about $700,000 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kicker Ken Willis, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys, also signed with Tampa Bay.

Former Detroit Lions offensive lineman Mike Utley has shed his protective neck brace and is expected to make his first major public appearance since suffering a severe spinal-cord injury Nov. 17. Utley, who is undergoing a rehabilitation program at Craig Hospital in Denver, is scheduled to travel to Baltimore next week to receive the Ed Block Courage Award.

The Block award, named after a former Baltimore Colts trainer who did extensive volunteer work with abused children, is presented annually to NFL players (one from each team) who show unusual courage.

Utley, 26, who is confined to a wheelchair, will be accompanied by his parents. He was paralyzed during the Lions' game against the Los Angeles Rams.

MISCELLANY

Temple's cheerleading squad will sponsor its third annual Tri-State Invitational Cheerleading Tournament at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at McGonigle Hall. Competition is open for schools from the elementary to the senior high school level. Admission is $5 for adults.

TENNIS

Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl were fined $1,000 each by the ATP Tour in Stuttgart, Germany, for profane outbursts in matches they lost Thursday at the Eurocard Classic.

John McEnroe was fined $500 for breaking his racket while losing a match Wednesday to Karel Novacek.

"In Becker's case, he swore in German at a German linesman and the linesman reported him to the umpire, and Lendl said offending words to the umpire in his match," said tour supervisor Ed Hardisty, who imposed the fines.

Goran Ivanisevic was fined $500 for verbal abuse during a second-round match.

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