Judge: Baseball must take back nine umpires who lost jobs in mass resignation

Saturday, December 15th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Major League Baseball must rehire nine of the 22 umpires who lost their jobs after a failed mass resignation two years ago, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III, in an opinion released Thursday, upheld most of the decisions made by an arbitrator in May. He also left open the possibility that three other umpires could get their jobs back, ordering that their cases be reheard by a different arbitrator.

``Baseball is not beyond the reach of contracts or the labor laws,'' said Pat Campbell, a lawyer for the umpires.

The umpires are also to get back pay of up to about $400,000 annually plus benefits. The decision, if it is not overturned on appeal, is likely to cost baseball at least $5 million.

Bartle upheld the termination of 10 umpires, but said they may ask the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review that part of his decision.

Rob Manfred, baseball's chief labor lawyer, did not return telephone calls seeking comment.