Umpires Accused of Corruption Sue Dissidents

On Nov. 1, the day before a meeting in Baltimore organized by umpires trying to oust Richie Phillips as the umpires’ union boss, six major league umpires loyal to Phillips filed a defamation suit against their colleagues who are trying to set up a new union. The six umpires and Pilot Air Freight Corp., a company controlled by Phillips, accused the dissidents of falsely accusing Pilot of paying umpires to support Phillips, according to the suit filed in the Delaware County (Pa.) Court of Common Pleas.

The umpires Jerry Crawford, Gerry Davis, Steve Rippley, Terry Tata of the Nat’l League and Drew Coble and Richie Garcia of the Am. League filed the suit against the A.L. umpires Joe Brinkman, John Hirschbeck, Dave Phillips (not related to Richie Phillips) and Tim Welke. The six — all members of the union’s board — said the dissidents conspired to destroy the union and the reputation of Richie Phillips and made up deliberate lies, which they hoped would discredit Phillips and the union board.

On Nov. 5, major league umpires began voting by mail for the current union, a new one or neither, and the results will be announced Nov. 30. [AP & USA Today 11/2/99]