A call for labor peace, from Hall

Posted: July 30, 2002

With the threat of another work stoppage looming for major league baseball, 40 Hall of Famers drafted a letter requesting the sides to use a mediator at the talks.

"Both sides make persuasive arguments to support their positions, and thinking persons can understand the merits of those arguments," said the letter, which was released yesterday. "Despite how each of us feels individually, however, we all agree that another work stoppage in baseball would be a terrible mistake."

Former Phillies Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts, Jim Bunning and Tony Perez were among those who signed the letter.

Former Detroit Tigers star Al Kaline proposed the letter at dinner Sunday night after Ozzie Smith's induction.

"I love this game very much, as do all my fellow Hall of Fame members," Kaline said. "I did not think we should stand by idle and fail to express our views."

Pete Donatello, of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Series, has been in contact with the sides, management lawyer Rob Manfred said, but Donatello has not been active at the bargaining table.

Players chief Don Fehr and commissioner Bud Selig met in Cooperstown, N.Y., for 2 hours on Sunday, and both sides said they would be available for meetings every day this week, when Fehr hopes to conclude his tour of the 30 teams.

Players, fearful that owners will change work rules or lock them out after the World Series, are threatening to call the sport's ninth work stoppage since 1972.

Former Cleveland righthander Bob Feller suggested that if players strike, President Bush should issue an executive order sending the players back to play until the World Series is over. Bush is the former owner of the Texas Rangers.

In other news:

* Upset that baseball is using a new computer system to track ball-and-strike calls, the sport's umpires have hired physicists and engineers to examine its accuracy.

Robert Kemp Adair, a Sterling Professor Emeritus at Yale who wrote the book "The Physics of Baseball," was among those on the panel announced by the World Umpires Association.

Umpires say QuesTec's umpire information system is not accurate, especially on breaking pitches.

* The Texas Rangers released pitcher Dave Burba and recalled righthander Joaquin Benoit from Triple A Oklahoma.

In last night's games, all in the American League:

* At Arlington, Texas, Orlando Hernandez pitched six impressive innings, and Rondell White hit a two-run homer as the New York Yankees beat the Rangers, 9-2.

* At St. Petersburg, Fla., Paul Wilson pitched eight sharp innings to snap a personal 12-game winless streak as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles, 6-1.

* At Kansas City, Paul Byrd threw his fourth straight complete game as the hosts defeated Toronto, 4-1. Byrd (14-7) allowed five hits to become the first Kansas City pitcher with four consecutive complete games since Flash Gordon in 1990. With the trade deadline just a day away, Byrd has been the subject of much speculation as contending teams looks to bolster their rotations.

* At Seattle, John Olerud's RBI single in the eighth inning sent the Mariners to a 4-3 victory over Detroit.

* At Anaheim, Darin Erstad homered to tie it in the eighth inning, and Garret Anderson drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly as the Angels rallied past Boston, 5-4. Anaheim maintained its lead in the AL West by percentage points over Seattle. The Angels also extended their lead in the wild-card race to two games over the Red Sox. *

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