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MLB.com

Press Release

09/28/2010 2:22 PM ET
Gene Orza to retire

NEW YORK -- Gene Orza, the Major League Baseball Players Association’s Chief Operating Officer, today announced his retirement plans, bringing an end to an illustrious 26-year career with the union. Gene will remain on staff through March 31, 2011.

Gene, 64, joined the MLBPA as Associate General Counsel in 1984, and throughout his tenure played a critical role in the union’s success. Named Chief Operating Officer in 2004, Gene figured prominently in negotiating Basic Agreements since 1985. It was Gene's formulation of a drug testing compromise in 2002 that allowed the Clubs and Association to break an almost 20-year impasse on the subject of random testing of players.

Gene has litigated cases and negotiated agreements that span the Basic Agreement and Major League rules. There is virtually no subject in the sport, from the amateur draft to the strike zone, to which Gene has not made a significant contribution on behalf of players. He also has been instrumental in expanding baseball’s global popularity by overseeing the Association’s international efforts, including the creation and launch of the World Baseball Classic, and the playing of exhibition and regular season games throughout Asia and Latin America.

In announcing his retirement, Gene said, "Each day since Don Fehr's resignation has only served to reaffirm just how fortunate the players are to have a person like Michael to succeed him, and seeing the enormously talented people he's been able to bring on board -- well, it's simply time for the old to make way for the new.

"And what better time than now? Today's players are as aware as ever not just of the debt they owe to the players who went before them, but of their resulting obligation to the players who will come after them. Then too, the lessons learned from the great struggles waged and won by the players in the '90s seem alive and well, and so the greater mutuality and cooperation that characterize the sport today, and to which those struggles gave birth, is likely to continue. Finally, and perhaps most important, under Michael's leadership the MLBPA surely will continue to be a shining illustration of all that can be achieved, and resisted, by employees when they band together in common and steadfast purpose."

“For nearly three decades, Gene has represented Major League baseball players with unparalleled passion and determination,” stated MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner. “Every player in the game has benefitted from Gene’s intelligence, creativity and fortitude. Personally, I owe a tremendous debt to Gene for all he has taught me about being a labor lawyer and for all the kindnesses he has shown to my family and me.”