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AROUND THE MAJORS

BASEBALL DAILY REPORT : Justice Has King on His Mind

February 23, 1996|Associated Press

David Justice said when police pulled him over in a high-crime area in Florida, his first thoughts were of Rodney King.

The Atlanta outfielder denied any wrongdoing, and police in Riviera Beach, just north of West Palm Beach, filed no charges after the Sunday night incident. Still, the revelation Thursday shook up what figured to be a peaceful spring for the world champion Braves.

"It eats at me because I know I'm a good person," said Justice, whose home run gave the Braves a 1-0 victory over Cleveland in the deciding game of the 1995 World Series. "Now they're attacking my character and I've done nothing wrong."

Justice was pulled over after police spotted his Lexus, its lights off, parked along a busy highway about 11:35 p.m. Sunday.

"There was an unknown black male leaning into his vehicle," acting police Lt. David Torres said. "When the officer pulled up, the black male had fled. . . . It appeared to be suspicious."

Justice said he stopped his car for less than a minute to get his bearings, and he denied talking to anyone.

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Former Oakland and Kansas City Athletics owner Charles O. Finley, who could be as cantankerous as he was flamboyant, was buried in Merrillville, Ind., surrounded by his family, friends and two of the players he loved most, Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter.

"Charlie Finley was contentious and outspoken, but when times caught up with his thoughts, he became an innovator and creative," Jackson said after the funeral service. "His ideas were great. He was tough, he was never easy to work for. Very tough, but fair."

Finley died Monday of heart disease.

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Reliever Tim Crabtree, one of the candidates for the Toronto Blue Jays closer's role, had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. . . . The Oakland Athletics have agreed to terms with five players. Outfielders Allen Battle and Jose Herrera, infielder Tony Batista and right-handed pitchers Mark Acre and Don Wengert all agreed to one-year contracts. . . . Derek Lilliquist, a left-handed reliever who spent part of last season with the Boston Red Sox, signed a minor-league contract with the San Francisco Giants.

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