NEW YORK (AP) - Donald Fehr is retiring as head of the baseball players' association after more than a quarter-century in charge of the powerful labor union.
Fehr, who turns 61 next month, said Monday he will retire no later than the end of March.
Subject to approval by the union's executive board, he will be succeeded by union general counsel Michael Weiner, his longtime heir apparent. Weiner will head negotiations heading into the expiration of the current labor contract in December 2011.
"I have no hesitancy in recommending to the players that he be given the opportunity to do this job," Fehr said.
A clerk to a federal judge who became the top lawyer to pioneering union head Marvin Miller in August 1977, Fehr took over as acting executive director on Dec. 8, 1983. That was 2½ weeks after players fired Kenneth Moffett, the former mediator who had succeeded Miller following a 50-day strike in 1981,
Fehr led players through a two-day strike in 1985, then was voted the executive director's job on a full-time basis that December. His early years in charge were defined by management's conspiracy against free agents. The union successfully charged management with conspiring against free agents following the 1985, 1986 and 1987 seasons in violation of the labor contract and settled the cases for $280 million.