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Monday, June 03, 2013

Former umpires union head dies at 72

Richie Phillips, who led the Major League Umpires Association from 1978 to 1999, died Friday at his home in Cape May, N.J. He was 72….

After negotiating a contract for Villanova basketball star Howard Porter with the Chicago Bulls, Mr. Phillips began representing other athletes. In 1976, he helped organize the National Basketball Association’s referees into a collective bargaining unit, which he represented until 1984.

In 1978, Mr. Phillips became general counsel and executive director of the Major League Umpires Association. Under his leadership, the umpires implemented successful work stoppages in 1978, 1979, 1984, 1991 and 1995, and an unsuccessful one in 1999 that led to the umpires decertifying the union led by Mr. Phillips and starting a new one.

 

Adam B. Posted: June 03, 2013 at 03:37 PM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: death, labor, labor relations, umpires, union

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   1. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 03, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4459401)
I suppose there have been worse union leaders, but I can't think of any off the top of my head. On the other hand, his work stoppage in 1999 turned out to be a wonderful thing for the game of baseball.
   2. esseff Posted: June 03, 2013 at 05:49 PM (#4459403)
On the other hand, his work stoppage in 1999 turned out to be a wonderful thing for the game of baseball.


"This is either a threat to be ignored or an offer to be accepted."
   3. Steve Treder Posted: June 03, 2013 at 05:54 PM (#4459405)
I suppose there have been worse union leaders, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.

Yeah, that was one of the all-time, inner-circle blunders. Epic fail.
   4. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 03, 2013 at 06:29 PM (#4459421)
There's a name for people who think MLB umpires are irreplaceable: Richie Phillips.
   5. Publius Publicola Posted: June 03, 2013 at 09:07 PM (#4459532)
Gene Upshaw was pretty bad too.
   6. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: June 03, 2013 at 09:12 PM (#4459537)
If you complain about the umps these days, you must not have seen some of the immobile piles of meat that Phillips protected.

He also owned a shipping company that had the contract to ship the umps equipment from city to city. I am sure he profited handsomely.
   7. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: June 03, 2013 at 09:50 PM (#4459577)
I suppose there have been worse union leaders, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.

His last act was an all-time great fiasco, but like the lead-in notes, he was head of the union for over 20 years and had won several victories before then.
   8. Publius Publicola Posted: June 03, 2013 at 10:07 PM (#4459603)
If you complain about the umps these days, you must not have seen some of the immobile piles of meat that Phillips protected.


Eric Gregg.
   9. Cris E Posted: June 03, 2013 at 11:04 PM (#4459652)
Eric Gregg

Umm, technically most of that that wasn't meat.
   10. winnipegwhip Posted: June 04, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4460025)
I suppose there have been worse union leaders, but I can't think of any off the top of my head. On the other hand, his work stoppage in 1999 turned out to be a wonderful thing for the game of baseball.


The answer is Alan Eagleson.
   11. Ron J2 Posted: June 04, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4460094)
#10 He started off good ...

Seriously, his initial work for Bobby Orr was quite good in the context of the day. There's a reason why he was pretty much everybody's agent. (And to this day Bobby Clarke is a staunch defender)

By the end of his tenure he was stealing from his clients and making behind closed door deals contrary to the best interests of the union.

He ended up in prison (and kicked out of the hockey hall of fame and stripped of other honors) primarily because one investigative journalist would not let go of the issue.

   12. winnipegwhip Posted: June 04, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4460189)
#10 He started off good ...


...is this Marge Schott talking? Good one.
   13. TomH Posted: June 04, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4460198)
OK, I have a ignoramus-about-hockey question: you can get kicked out of a Hall of Fame? Or was that just a figure of speech?
   14. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 04, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4460220)
OK, I have a ignoramus-about-hockey question: you can get kicked out of a Hall of Fame? Or was that just a figure of speech?


Not a figure of speech, Eagleson got kicked out. The big thing was his crimes were directly related to the game of hockey. This wasn't a guy like OJ doing something outside the sport, Eagleson's crimes were directly related to the game affecting people who were part of the NHL. I recall Brad Park being one of the early vocal guys and he wound up being joined by some of the game's inner circle types (Orr, Howe, etc...).
   15. winnipegwhip Posted: June 04, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4460245)
About 15-20 Hall of Famers threatened to have their names taken out of the Hockey Hall of Fame if he wasn't removed. The names included Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Mike Bossy and others.

   16. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 04, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4460278)
Wow. I've paid almost no attention to hockey past the WHA days, but even so the fact that this is all news to me makes me wonder what mother's-basement-shaped cave I've been living in.
   17. TomH Posted: June 04, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4460283)
Wow. That generates lots of questions I never pondered before.

OK, so... does that mean that if Bonds gets elected by the BBWAA, and enough living MLB HOFers threaten to leave the HoF, that the HoF itself could kick Bonds out... before he's even inducted, theoretically?

(I know, that would require the BBWAA to reverse course on its path so far. Rose could have been an example if the BBWAA had been allowed to vote on him.)

Who empowered the Hockey HoF to make that decision? Is the NHL process different than MLB's? The MLB HoF grants sole discretion of its members to the BBWAA. Or so I thought. Could the HoF tehroetically take away (or overrule) the BBWAA's leadership?

Maybe it's my lack of NHL following, but this would seem to have been a HUGE thing if it had happened in MLB.

   18. winnipegwhip Posted: June 04, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4460297)
Considering that Bobby Orr and Gordie Howe were among those who wanted Eagleson out it is hard to ignore.

If players like Tom Seaver, Cal Ripken, Rickey Henderson and others were to protest I don't know if it would get anywhere. The Hall is so stubborn that it wouldn't budge. As great as those and other living players are, it would take the names of deceased greats to scare the Hall.

Orr and Howe are Mount Rushmore names in the history of hockey. I can only think of two living H of Fame players that are on that level...Aaron and Mays.
   19. Gary Truth Serum Posted: June 04, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4460299)
Eagleson wasn't the only one. Gil Stein's election to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993 was overturned because it was determined to be "improperly manipulated" when Stein changed the voting rules and some members of the selection committee in order to facilitate his election.

You kind of have that provision in cases where fraud can be proven.
   20. Ron J2 Posted: June 04, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4460327)
#17 As others have noted, the credibility of the organization was at stake. Brad Park was the first to go "him or me" (and nobody doubted he meant it) but apparently Bobby Orr was the driving force behind the anti-Eagleson movement. Just stayed behind the scenes (as he generally prefers). Brad Park is a fairly big name. He alone made a fairly credible threat. Tie in with the backing of so many others (with only Bobby Clarke as a vocal Eagleson supporter by the end. He had plenty of guys supporting him initially. This is where Orr came in. Contacting the doubtful and spelling out the details)

He was also removed from the Order of Canada at roughly the same time (something that's only happened to 4 others). That's actually a bigger honor that was taken away.

One difference between the Hockey hall and Cooperstown is that the Hockey hall is essentially controlled by the NHL (The baseball HOF is privately owned though both are run as charities). That's how Gil Stein manipulated his election. While president of the NHL he had the criteria for election changed (reduced the percentage of voters required) and made new appointments conditional -- they had to promise to vote for him for the hall.
   21. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 04, 2013 at 05:37 PM (#4460358)
As great as those and other living players are, it would take the names of deceased greats to scare the Hall.


Well, sure -- if dead players start rising up out of their graves &/or materializing in ectoplasmic form to make their wishes known, I can certainly see being scared.
   22. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 04, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4460360)
I suppose there have been worse union leaders, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.

Perhaps this guy might qualify.

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