The Major League Baseball Players Association's Executive Board has voted unanimously to approve the selection of Michael Weiner as Executive Director, effective immediately.
Weiner, 47, replaces Donald Fehr, who on June 22 announced his intention to leave the position of Executive Director following 26 years of service.
"I want to thank the players for their support throughout this entire selection process," Weiner said. "It has been a pleasure to serve the players over the past 21 years, and I am eager to now serve as their executive director. I look forward to leading the players in this ever-changing and challenging industry. Also, I would like to thank Don for having the confidence and faith in my abilities to endorse me for this position."
Weiner, the PA's General Counsel since 2004, joined the MLBPA in 1988 as counsel. He's participated in virtually every negotiating session in the last several rounds of bargaining, and for much of his tenure, he has been the staff counsel with the primary responsibility for administering and enforcing the Basic Agreement.
"For more than 20 years, Michael has worked diligently and tirelessly to support and defend the rights of players," Executive Board member Tony Clark said. "We are extremely confident that the future of our union is in good hands with Michael at the helm. Also, I want to thank Don for all he accomplished on our behalf during his tenure. We all owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude."
On July 7, following the recommendation of Fehr, the Executive Board announced its preliminary decision to name Weiner as the players' next executive director. The Board then directed the matter be put to a vote of the full membership -- players, managers, coaches and trainers. The members voted, 1,055 to four, to endorse the Executive Board's recommendation. The Executive Board's vote was the final stage of the selection process.
"He has the complete confidence of the players, and I know from long personal experience that their confidence in him is well deserved," Fehr said in a prepared statement. "I have no doubt that under Mike's leadership the MLBPA will continue to set the standard for what a union can be and what a union should be. The best and most successful days of this extraordinary union are yet to come."
The final vote to appoint Weiner, however, was a formality given Weiner's overwhelming support among players.
"To unanimously vote him in was the obvious choice, and everybody is excited to move forward ... and continue to accomplish some great things," board member Curtis Granderson said.
Added Jeremy Guthrie, a pitcher with the Orioles, "The thing that has impressed me in my three years of involvement in the Associaton is that you can tell that Michael cares for the players and cares for the game."
Opening the PA's four-day annual meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Monday, Fehr addressed the players on the Executive Board for the final time as their leader. At a reception on Tuesday night, a group of former Executive Board and negotiating committee members, who covered the entirety of Fehr's 30-plus-year tenure, spoke to the current players about the union's record of accomplishment during that period.
"I've said in the past it's humbling to be mentioned in the same sentence with Marvin Miller and Don Fehr," Weiner said in a teleconference with reporters on Wednesday. "I'm even further humbled by what's taken place in Scottsdale. This is a very important moment in the history of this labor union, in the history of this institution and appropriately have taken time to recognize its importance.
"To be now entrusted with the responsibility to guide this organization going forward, given its history, given where it's come from, given all it's accomplished, given all the sacrifices so many players have made to reach the point we're at now ... is both very humbling and very meaningful."
Don Baylor, Bob Boone, Bret Butler, Phil Garner, Buck Martinez, Steve Rogers and Dave Winfield were among the former union leaders who addressed the players during the reception.
"This union has been around since 1966, and we haven't had very many executive directors," Weiner said. "We had Marvin Miller. We had Ken Moffett for a very brief time. We had Don Fehr for a very extended period of time. Ultimately, the players drive the union, but at a moment when Don, who's been so instrumental in so many aspects of what the union's accomplished since 1977, is stepping down, that's a meaningful time. It's a time for all players and everyone connected with the union past and present to reflect and assess what's been accomplished."
Guthrie added, "As a relatively new player to the league, I really gained a greater appreciation for the fights that have been fought on the players' behalf."
The Player Representatives, Alternate Player Representatives and members of the Executive Subcommittee comprise the MLBPA Executive Board.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.