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May 10, 2006

MLB Giving Medical Coverage to Negro Leaguers, White Players Suing to Stop It

Worst lawsuit ever?

Negro Leagues players' payments upheld

Major League Baseball is entitled to pay former Negro Leagues players $10,000 a year and provide medical coverage as compensation for their exclusion from the big leagues, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, rejecting a reverse-discrimination suit from a group of white ex-players.

The medical program was established in 1993 and the income program in 1997 for players who were in the Negro Leagues in 1947 or earlier, before Jackie Robinson broke the major league color line.

It covered players who had spent at least part of four seasons in professional baseball, including the Negro Leagues, but had not played long enough in the major leagues to qualify for medical or pension benefits. Before 1980, players needed four or five years in the majors.

About two dozen former Negro Leagues players are collecting benefits under the two programs, said Richard Levin, a spokesman for the major leagues.

The programs were challenged in 2003 by Mike Colbern, a Chicago White Sox catcher in 1978-79, on behalf of a group of white retirees who had played too briefly to qualify for pre-1980 medical or pension benefits. Claiming racial discrimination, they sought equal benefits for themselves.

Upholding a federal judge's dismissal of the suit, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said baseball had legitimate reasons to limit the program to those who had been barred because of their race...

Posted by jsmooth995 at May 10, 2006 1:09 PM

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