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In August 1989, Judge Thomas Roberts awarded $10.5 million to 139 players for Collusion I, dating back to players who were free agents between 1985 and 1986.[1] The players union seemed to believe that Barry Rona, the owners’ chief labor negotiator, was an instrumental player in collusion, as evidenced a few years later in a lawsuit attempting to prevent Rona from becoming an agent.[2] Rumors were that the owners shared a similar view as the players union about Rona.[3] On the November eve of new labor agreement negotiations in 1989, Rona resigned as chief labor negotiator and was replaced by Charles O’Connor. Commissioner Fay Vincent was asked about Rona’s resignation and responded, “That’s a subject I’m not going to talk about.”[4]

O’Connor, using a stay-the-course strategy, didn’t necessarily earn improved credibility and trust from the players union, either.[5] In February 1990, when baseball didn’t begin, O’Connor stated that “I concede at this stage it’s a lockout.”[6]



[1] Ross Newhan, “Owners Must Pay $10.5 Million,” Hartford Courant, September 1, 1989: E1.

[2] Murray Chass, “Baseball; Union Sues to Bar Rona as Agent,” New York Times, December 21, 1993.

[3] Ross Newhan, “A New Man on the Point for Owners Baseball: Charles O’Connor took over at the last minute as lead negotiator for baseball management. Will his outlook affect the outcome of the talks?” Los Angeles Times, December 9, 1989: 1.

[4] Manny Topol, “Owners Meet with Union,” Newsday, November 29, 1989: 125.

[5] Michael Hiestand, “Player Meetings; Union Says Baseball Officials’ `Harsh Words’ Hurt Negotiations,” USA Today, December 8, 1989: 04C.

[6] Murray Chass, “Negotiators Exchange Outlooks on Talks,” New York Times, February 16, 1990: A26.

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