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Baseball's Commissioner Describes 1987 as Year of Progress in All Areas

December 08, 1987|ROSS NEWHAN

DALLAS — In his annual state-of-the-game address at the winter baseball meetings here Monday, Commissioner Peter Ueberroth described 1987 as a year of progress in all areas, including equal employment opportunity.

"We're doing a good job, we just need more time," Ueberroth said of the minority hiring program.

He cited a variety of statistics. Among them:

--The number of minority employees in front-office positions has increased 400% since April, when Al Campanis, then vice president of player personnel for the Dodgers, appeared on the television show, "Nightline," and said blacks lacked the necessities to manage in the major leagues.

--Of the 1,500 front-office jobs, 10% are held by minorities, including 600 women.

--Of the major leagues' 1,300 managers, coaches, trainers, instructors and scouts, 230 are held by minorities.

Ueberroth said there is an obvious need to address the absence of a minority manager and predicted it would happen. He also said there has been an imbalance favoring the employment of blacks over Latins, which also needs to be corrected.

"At the same time, baseball should never deal in tokenism," he said. "It should never hire anyone it doesn't believe in. We should always hire only the best people."

Ueberroth also pointed out record attendance of 52 million, which he said was prompted at least in part to adherence to comparatively low ticket prices and safer and saner ballpark environments.

He said that baseball broke even financially in 1985, had an operating profit of $11.5 million in 1986 and will do even better when the '87 figures are compiled. He said that two-thirds of the clubs broke even or made a working profit this year.

He also said that there will never be a perfect year in the fight against drug abuse but that, of the 1,000 players tested at various levels this year, only 3% showed positive compared to 10% in 1985 and 5% in 1986.

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