OAKLAND, Calif. - Walter Haas Jr., owner of the Oakland Athletics, said yesterday his family intends to sell the team, setting in motion a lease agreement that gives officials seven months to find a local buyer.
The Haas family, which purchased the team from Charlie Finley on Nov. 3, 1980, is seeking $85 million from any owner who would keep the franchise in Oakland.
If a buyer isn't found within seven months, the Haas family could sell the team to any buyer, including one who could move the franchise, subject to the approval of American and National league owners. The effort to find a buyer will include officials from Alameda County, the city of Oakland and the Oakland Coliseum.
"When I bought the Oakland A's 14 years ago, it was to keep them from moving away from this area," Haas, 78, said in a statement. "Since that time we have built the franchise into one of the most respected organizations in baseball."
Haas, honorary chairman of Levi Strauss & Co., said the team's market value probably was higher than the $85 million sale price. The family said they set the price in an effort to keep the team from moving.
Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris said he was thankful for the Haas family's commitment to keeping the team from moving. Harris and other city officials have been trying to find a group of minority investors to purchase the team.
"This is a unique opportunity for any ownership group, and certainly, given the price, perhaps one of the best options for minority ownership," Harris said.
"We realize this team would be worth more than other franchises. But they bought the team to maintain as a Bay Area entertainment and sports and community asset. And they are committed (to) that and we share in that commitment."
Harris estimated that the team would be worth at least $125 million on the open market. The last team sold, the Baltimore Orioles, was purchased last year for $173 million.
In August 1992, the San Francisco Giants announced a deal that would have transferred that franchise from Bob Lurie to a St. Petersburg, Fla., group headed by Vincent Naimoli. But NL owners rejected the sale three months later and forced Lurie to accept a $100 million offer from Peter Magowan's group.
REARDON PLACED ON WAIVERS
NEW YORK - The New York Yankees gave up on veteran reliever Jeff Reardon, releasing him and recalling reliever Mark Hutton from Columbus. The Yankees also said pitcher Bob Ojeda, designated for assignment last month, was placed on waivers.
"The things Reardon's done in this game, no way did I want him to be here as a mopup guy," Buck Showalter, New York manager, said. "It wouldn't have been fair to him. And right now that's where he would be."
Reardon, 39, who blew a 5-2 lead in his last outing against the California Angels on Wednesday, was 1-0 with two saves and an 8.38 earned-run average in 11 games this season.
"I hope something's out there,"he said. "I feel I can still pitch, but if it didn't work out, it didn't work out."
"I was surprised," said Reardon, second to Lee Smith on the all-time saves list with 367. "I know I've been struggling lately but I didn't think it would come to this."
MCGWIRE OUT WITH FRACTURE
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Oakland first baseman Mark McGwire will miss at least four weeks with a stress fracture in his left heel, trainer Barry Weinberg said.
McGwire's foot will be immobilized for about three weeks, after which he will wear a removable cast that will allow his heel to be treated on a daily basis. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
-- After suffering dizziness yesterday, Toronto's Joe Carter was diagnosed with an inner-ear infection and sat out. Carter, who leads the majors with 39 RBI, is listed as day-to-day.
-- Cleveland moved to fortify its struggling bullpen by bringing up right-hander Paul Shuey from Class A Kinston. The Indians also recalled catcher Jesse Levis from Class AAA Charlotte and sent catcher Matt Merullo and infielder Herbert Perry to Charlotte.
-- San Francisco placed left-handed reliever Kevin Rogers on the disabled list, retroactive to May 2, because of circulatory problems in his pitching arm. Left-hander Pat Gomez was called up from Class AAA Phoenix.
-- Met pitcher Eric Hillman was sent home with an inner-ear infection that effects his equilibrium. His status is day-to-day.
-- Kirby Puckett's sixth-inning single gave him 3,003 total bases, moving him past Tony Oliva and into second place on the Twins' career list. Harmon Killebrew is the franchise leader with 3,412.
-- Atlanta's Greg Maddux already has won consecutive National League Cy Young Awards, and Montreal Manager Felipe Alou likes his chances for No. 3. "He's the best I've seen," said Alou. "He has a good shot at winning the Cy Young again. If it goes to the man with the best command of all his pitches, he should win it every year."