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Baseball Has 1st Female Arbitrator

February 9, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Baseball finally broke the sex barrier in salary arbitration.

In 409 hearings since 1974, all cases had been decided by males. Elizabeth Neumeier, a professional arbitrator from Gloucester, Mass., became the first female when Boston outfielder Midre Cummings argued his case Monday before a three-person panel in Tampa, Fla.

Neumeier, born in 1950, is a graduate of New York University and has a law degree from Boston University. She was director of the legal department of the Association of Flight Attendants from 1975-79 and has heard disputes involving the steel industry.

Neumeier, however, isn’t the first female to adjudicate a baseball dispute. Sonia Sotomayor, then a U.S. District Judge in Manhattan, issued an injunction that caused players to end their 1994-95 strike after 232 days. Sotomayor has since been promoted to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Cummings asked for a raise from $250,000 to $725,000, while the Red Sox, using a pair of Harvard professors to argue their case, said he should be paid $450,000. Neumeier was joined on the panel by a pair of veteran arbitrators: Gil Vernon, hearing his 14th case since 1984, and Anthony Sinicropi, hearing his eighth.

Cummings, 27, hit .283 last year with five homers and 15 RBIs in 120 at-bats. A decision is expected Tuesday or Wednesday.

On the first day of hearings this year, Montreal infielder Shane Andrews asked for a raise from $450,000 to $2.3 million, with the Expos arguing for $1.25 million. That case will be decided by arbitrators Richard Bloch, Roger Kaplan and Jerome Ross.

Andrews, 27, batted .238 last season with 25 homers and 69 RBIs.

Three players agreed to one-year contracts Monday, leaving 19 players remaining in arbitration.

Right-hander Aaron Sele and the Texas Rangers agreed at $5,525,000, up from $2.85 million last year and the midpoint between his $6.25 million request and the team’s $4.8 million offer.

Tampa Bay outfielder Quinton McCracken settled at $1.85 million, and Philadelphia second baseman Kevin Jordan settled at $500,000.

Under baseball’s labor agreement, 75 percent of cases this year were scheduled before three-person panels and 25 percent for individual arbitrators.

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