Peter Ueberroth will not be walking away from baseball on Dec. 31, 1989.
Ueberroth, who has said he would be a one-term baseball commissioner, last week agreed at an owners meeting to stay on at least through the 1990 labor negotiations, a source close to Ueberroth told The Associated Press Monday.A spokesman for Ueberroth, however, said no agreement had been reached.
At last week's meeting in San Francisco, the clubs indicated they wanted Ueberroth to stay in office beyond the expiration of his contract on Dec. 31, 1989, and Ueberroth said he would, according to the source.
"No length was discussed," the source said.
"It came up in a report and took less than two minutes. The details will be worked out."
Rich Levin, a spokesman for Ueberroth, said Monday that he had spoken with Ueberroth and that the commissioner said he had not agreed to an extension.
"Peter said no action was taken," Levin said.
Ueberroth, who succeeded Bowie Kuhn as commissioner on Oct. 1, 1984, is credited with turning around baseball's finances. According to Ueberroth, 21 teams were losing money when he took office, but he recently predicted that this season 20 clubs would show a profit.
In response to teams' increased fiscal conservatism, the players union has charged owners with conspiring against signing free agents for the last three years. An arbitrator found the owners guilty in the first case and the later two are pending.
The union is saying the a strike in 1990 is a possibility and some owners think only Ueberroth and his persuasive personality can prevent a lenghty walkout.
"An extension makes sense," the source said. "The national broadcasting agreements expire Dec. 31, 1989. The Basic Agreement expires Dec. 31, 1989. Peter's contract expires Dec. 31, 1989."
At the winter meetings last December, Ueberroth said: "If I needed to get re-elected right now, I wouldn't be able to put that together. Let's say couldn't get double-digit support."
Ueberroth needs votes from 14 of the 26 clubs for re-election and said in an April interview with the AP that he still did not think enough owners wanted him back.
"I know there are some who don't like me," he said. "I don't see any reason to think things have changed."