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THE SUNDAY PROFILE : Batting 1.000 : Even with millions of dollars at stake, sports agent Jeff Moorad has no use for written contracts. All it takes for him to sign some of baseball's top talent is a low-key approach and a handshake.

August 07, 1994|STEVE EMMONS | Los Angeles Times

"Yeah, Jeff's for real, you're darn right," says Quinn of the Giants. "And I like Jeff, despite what I feel about agents in general. My underlying feeling is, right on the table, they make a hell of a lot of money off players with a hell of a lot of talent and can make their entire salary in 12 weeks out of the year. And more power to 'em. Sure, they do other things for their players, but the good, hard negotiations are 12 weeks. That's it.

"I can truthfully say I'm jealous."

*

On a Saturday in July, Moorad is entertaining a client, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds, at home on Balboa Island. The living room is ornately comfortable, but everyone is upstairs in the small, cluttered "apartment" where Jan Moorad has been virtually bedridden for weeks because of a difficult pregnancy.

The remains of a pizza and a pie are on the counter. On a night stand is a medical monitor that transmits the unborn baby's vital signs to the hospital. How are you doing? Fine, she says, answering the question for perhaps the 20th time that day.

Hammonds and his girlfriend give hugs and goodbys. The phone rings often, and Moorad takes some of the calls. He will be off to Miami that night, Pittsburgh the next day and back on Wednesday, all the time calling his wife, clients, teams, reporters, assistants.

He takes time out in the living room to explain the reason for it all: "It's just a great high to close a deal. I live for those moments of closing a deal I'm convinced is pushed to the limit."

A few days later, Jan Moorad delivers 5-pound, 1-ounce Justin William a month prematurely, but he's strong and home with Mother within a few days. Asked whether the boy is right- or left-handed, Moorad chuckles.

"I think I'll keep him on my side of the table," he says. "You last longer."

Jeffrey S. Moorad

Age: 39.

Native?: Yes, born and raised in Modesto; lives on Balboa Island in Orange County.

Family: Married to Jan Johnson Moorad; 17-day-old son, Justin William.

Passions: Basketball, baseball, football and the moment of closing the deal.

On the pending baseball strike: "Remember that each time a basic agreement is negotiated, you have a group of new owners who are convinced that they can break the union: 'Hey, why \o7 can't \f7 we get rid of arbitration, why \o7 can't \f7 we curb free agency?' In reality, they can't, nor should they be able to, and as soon as the owners recognize that once again, I think we'll have a basic agreement in short order."

On what's special about sports negotiation: "The difference is you're talking about human beings--players, who many owners and general managers think of as commodities when they're not. They're real people. And there are issues that apply to the negotiation that are completely distinct from buying or selling a car. How a player \o7 feels \f7 after negotiations is as important as the bottom line."

On the odds of success: "In baseball, the system flushes away 90% of the players. Less than 10% of the players who sign professional contracts make it to the major leagues. And think of the kids who give up college, give up an opportunity to have an education. You have such mixed feelings."

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