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Winfield: Steinbrenner Was in No Position to Dispute Decision

August 01, 1990|HELENE ELLIOTT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MINNEAPOLIS — George Steinbrenner accepted the resignation terms dictated Monday by baseball commissioner Fay Vincent because the investigation into Steinbrenner's dealings with gambler Howard Spira uncovered too many transgressions for him to dispute the decision, Dave Winfield said Tuesday.

"I have a pretty good understanding of why he would go like that--he had no other way to go," said Winfield, who was questioned by special investigator John Dowd but was not a focus of the investigation.

"But I really don't want to say much more about it. I'd really like to find out more information and see how (Vincent) came to his conclusion. We're still in the hinterlands here and not in the middle of things. . . .

"I'm curious, like anyone else would be. I suppose the commissioner looked things over and he felt the punishment fits the crime."

Winfield decided against releasing a statement he had drawn up, saying that Vincent "had set the tone (and) said it all."

Winfield's attorney, Jeff Klein, said his client "was a victim in all this, along with Yankee fans." He said Steinbrenner "attempted to try and make the issue Dave with his campaign to tarnish him," but failed. Klein added that he also saw no legal ground for Steinbrenner to have challenged Vincent's decision.

"(Accepting the ruling) suggests there weren't a lot of other options available," Klein said.

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