Donald Fehr has stepped down as executive director (or head) of the MLB Players Association. As a child who was burned by the loss of the 1994 season, which could have been one of the most amazing seasons ever, I have nothing but disdain for Fehr.
I would watch the news everyday, hoping that there was a positive development, but all I would see was his fat face keeping baseball locked out. I saw my favorite baseball player, BJ Surhoff, sitting by Fehr and I actually screamed at the TV “Get away from him, BJ! He’s evil!”
In all, Fehr was behind three work stoppages in baseball and was the head of the Players Association during the steroid boom. During his tenure, the Players Association held the commissioner’s office by the balls. He has succeeded in making sure that the salary cap stayed away from baseball causing decades of frustration for many teams who lose their talent from big teams with big pocketbooks.
However, he turned the cheek when steroids, HGH, and other PED’s came into the league. He even helped make sure stricter and random testing was not part of the 2002 agreement, which was another year the Players Association brought up the possibility of a strike. However, he did agree to “anonymous” testing and that decision is what is causing so many headaches all over baseball as Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa have been two players named out of more than 100.
Fehr may have been apart of the great financial rise in baseball, but his golden touch has been losing its luster since 2005. Since first appearing before Congress defiantly in March of that year, Fehr has watched while the government probed his sport and organization. There were rumors that the association told players not to help with any of Mitchell’s investigations, but Mitchell was still able to find enough damning evidence to bring the sport to change its policies.
Finally, Fehr had to admit he was wrong to congress and the nation. Also, the very players Fehr swore to fight for became part of the great steroids circus show. Many of these players now have a cloud of shame over them wherever they go and probably won’t be in the Hall of Fame because of his inability to be both a financial leader and an ethical leader.
There are many people who speak of admiration for this man and they should, I admit, because he made a lot of people filthy stinking rich. But as a child who was almost turned off of baseball for life because of the 1994 strike, his face still brings back memories of a summer of sadness. And his reign of anguish for young fans is tied to another generation who grew up watching the titanic home run shows in the late 90s and early 00s only to find out they were cheating their bodies and the sport.
Thank you, Donald Fehr, for finally stepping down and I charge the next head of the MLBPA to learn from the successes and, more importantly, the mistakes of the past.
By the way, after I finished writing this whole thing, I read this on MLB.com and I really appreciate the excellence that Mark shows by truly showing the strong feelings both sides have about Fehr.