Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Before Alomar, Budig Made Mark at Kansas

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Before Alomar, Budig Made Mark at Kansas

Article excerpt

If American League President Gene Budig had been nearly so perceptive as when he helped stimulate University of Kansas athletics as chancellor, Roberto Alomar might have wound up as a heel, not a hero.

If the gifted Baltimore second baseman, best in baseball at his position, had been suspended throughout the playoffs, including a potential World Series, he would have been treated as unhappily in Maryland as well as elsewhere.

After all, for the Orioles to have to play without their best against Cleveland and then the Yankees and perhaps beyond, would have made Baltimore fans unhappy with Alomar, too. Instead, reprieved and given only a five-day pat on the wrist by Budig, effective at the beginning of next season, Alomar stayed in the lineup. From Orioles fans, grateful for the reprieve, he received a happy salute. Then appropriately booed at Cleveland, Alomar sank the favored Indians. In the fourth game of a best-of-five, Alomar singled in the tying run with two out in the ninth and then won the game and divisional playoff with a home run. From where the umpires sit, the light suspension, which the players' association had the chutzpah to appeal, was an affront to the arbiters' authority and the league's dignity. The man who founded the American League in 1901, former Cincinnati newspaperman Ban Johnson, would have lowered the boom on Bobby. Supporting umpires was one of Johnson's strengths when he challenged the quarter-century grip of the National, where often John McGraw and others bullied game officials given weak league support. Chances are, too, that if the original commissioner, Judge Landis, sat in his swivel chair in Chicago, action would have been much more stern. In 1921, for instance, flouting Landis' rule prohibiting World Series players from barnstorming afterward, Babe Ruth and fellow Yankee outfielders got only as far as Buffalo. Before they could play further, Landis had suspended each player the first 30 days of the '22 season, costing them a month's pay, and had withh eld their shares of a Series lost to the rival Giants. Next season, as a result, the Babe lost his home run championship to the Browns' Ken Williams, who hit 39. …

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