Peter Ueberroth

Peter Victor Ueberroth (/ˈjuːbərɒθ/; born September 2, 1937) is an American executive. He served as the sixth Commissioner of Baseball from 1984 to 1989. He served as the chairman of the United States Olympic Committee from 2004–2008.[1]

Peter Ueberroth

Peter Ueberroth
President of the United States Olympic Committee
In office
Preceded byMarty Mankamyer
William C. Martin (Interim)
Succeeded byLarry Probst
6th Commissioner of Baseball
In office
October 1, 1984 – April 1, 1989
Preceded byBowie Kuhn
Succeeded byA. Bartlett Giamatti
President of the Organising Committee for the Summer Olympic Games
In office
August 3, 1980 – August 12, 1984
IOC PresidentJuan Antonio Samaranch
Preceded byKonstantin Chernenko
Ignati Novikov (Official Representative)
Succeeded byRoh Tae-woo
Personal details
Peter Victor Ueberroth

September 2, 1937 (age 81)
Evanston, Illinois
Alma materSan Jose State University
Ronald Reagan throws out the opening pitch at a Chicago Cubs baseball game
Ueberroth (front right) watches President Ronald Reagan throw the first pitch prior to a game at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.

Early life

Ueberroth was born in Evanston, Illinois, the son of Laura (Larson) and Victor Ueberroth.[2] His father was of German and Austrian descent, and his mother was of Swedish and Irish ancestry. He caddied at Sunset Ridge Country Club, in Northfield, Illinois. [3] He grew up in northern California. While attending Fremont High School, Ueberroth excelled in football, baseball, and swimming. After graduating from high school, Ueberroth attended San Jose State University on an athletic scholarship. While attending San Jose State he joined Delta Upsilon. He competed in the 1956 United States Olympic water polo trials but failed to make the team. Ueberroth ultimately graduated from San Jose State in 1959 with a degree in business.

Trans International Airlines

After college, Ueberroth became a vice president and shareholder in Trans International Airlines (he was 22 years old at the time). Ueberroth worked at Trans International until 1963, when he founded his own travel company, which would become First Travel Corporation. By the time he sold First Travel in 1980, it was the second largest travel business in North America.

Sports career

1984 Olympics

For five years Ueberroth served as the organizer of the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles. He was a prominent figure in the games, receiving the Olympic Order in gold at its conclusion. Due to the success of the games, he was named Time magazine's Man of the Year in 1984. Under Ueberroth's leadership and management, the first privately financed Olympic Games resulted in a surplus of nearly US$250 million. This was subsequently used to support youth and sports activities throughout the United States. Coincidentally, he was born on the day on which the founder of the modern Olympic Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, died.

Ueberroth created a committee of over 150 members (mostly business people and entrepreneurs) to generate ideas, opportunities and solve problems. His aggressive recruiting of sponsors for the 1984 Olympics is credited as the genesis for the current Olympic sponsorship program. Due to recruiting competitors between the Los Angeles Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), after 1984 all Olympics in the US had their local organizing committees enter into recruitment agreements with the USOC to jointly recruit sponsors and share revenues.

Baseball commissioner

Ueberroth was elected to succeed Bowie Kuhn on March 3, 1984, and took office on October 1 of that year. As a condition of his hiring, Ueberroth increased the commissioner's fining ability from US$5,000 to $250,000. His salary was raised to a reported $450,000, nearly twice what Kuhn was paid.

Just as Ueberroth was taking office, the Major League Umpires Union was threatening to strike the postseason. Ueberroth managed to arbitrate the disagreement and had the umpires back to work before the League Championship Series were over. The next summer, Ueberroth worked behind the scenes to limit a players' strike to one day before a new labor agreement was worked out with the Players Association.

During the course of his stint as commissioner, Ueberroth reinstated two Hall of Famers, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, who had been banned from working for Major League Baseball by Kuhn because of their associations with gambling casinos. Also, Ueberroth suspended numerous players because of cocaine use, negotiated a $1.8 billion television contract with CBS,[4][5] and initiated the investigation against Pete Rose's betting habits. In 1985, Ueberroth's first full year in office, the League Championship Series expanded from a best-of-five series to a best-of-seven series. At his urging, the Chicago Cubs chose to install lights at Wrigley Field rather than reimburse the leagues for lost night-game revenues. Ueberroth then found a new source of income in the form of persuading large corporations to pay for the privilege of having their products endorsed by Major League Baseball.

However, Ueberroth, with the assistance of the owners, also facilitated collusion between the owners in violation of the league's collective bargaining agreement with the players. Players entering free agency in the 1985, 1986 and 1987 offseasons were, with few exceptions, prevented from both signing equitable contracts and joining the teams of their choice during this period. The roots of the collusion lay in Ueberroth's first owners' meeting as commissioner, when he called the owners "damned dumb" for being willing to lose money in order to win a World Series. Later, he told the general managers that it was "not smart" to sign long-term contracts.[6] Former Major League Baseball Players Association president Marvin Miller later described this as "tantamount to fixing, not just games, but entire pennant races, including all post-season series."[7] The MLBPA, under Miller's successor, Don Fehr, filed collusion charges and won each case, resulting in "second look" free agents, and over $280 million in fines.[8] Fay Vincent, who followed Ueberroth's successor in the commissioner's office, laid the crippling labor problems of the early 1990s (including the 1994–95 strike) directly at the feet of Ueberroth and the owners' collusion, holding that the collusion years constituted theft from the players.[9]

Under Ueberroth, Major League Baseball enjoyed "increased attendance (record attendance four straight seasons), greater awareness of crowd control and alcohol management within ballparks, a successful and vigilant anti-drug campaign, significant industry-wide improvement in the area of fair employment, and a significantly improved financial picture for the industry. When Ueberroth took office, 21 of the 26 clubs were losing money; in Ueberroth's last full season – 1988 – all clubs either broke even or finished in the black. In 1987, for example, baseball as an industry showed a net profit of $21.3 million, its first profitable year since 1973."[10]

Nonetheless, following the announcement of the first of three large awards to the players following the collusion findings, Ueberroth stepped down as commissioner before the start of the 1989 regular season; his contract was to have run through the end of the season. He was succeeded by National League president A. Bartlett Giamatti.[10]

Post-baseball activities

Ueberroth has been a director of The Coca-Cola Company since 1986. Mr. Ueberroth is an investor and chairman of the Contrarian Group, Inc., a business management company, and has held this position since 1989. He is also co-chairman of Pebble Beach Company. He is a director of Hilton Hotels Corporation and previously served as director of Adecco S.A. from 2004 to 2008. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Aircastle since 2012 and been on the Board since 2006.[11]

In 1989, Ueberroth considered purchasing Eastern Air Lines, then crippled by a strike and bankruptcy from Texas Air. However, a management dispute with Texas Air CEO Frank Lorenzo led to the deal falling through.[12]

Three years after leaving office, he led the Rebuild Los Angeles project after the 1992 Los Angeles riots.[13]

In 1999, Ueberroth, along with Arnold Palmer and Clint Eastwood, bought the Pebble Beach golf course.

Ueberroth ran for Governor of California in the 2003 California recall election as an independent, though he was a registered Republican. His campaign focused on California's economic and budget crisis, avoiding social issues. With polls indicating only a low level of support, he pulled out of the race on September 9, 2003, though his name still appeared on the ballot and received a small but significant number of votes. He placed 6th in a field of 135 candidates.

Ueberroth was chairman of Ambassadors International, Inc. but was replaced by his son, Joseph Ueberroth in April 2006. Ueberroth resigned from the board in November 2008.

Ueberroth was also the chairman of the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors.

Ueberroth is a Life Trustee of the University of Southern California.[14]

Ueberroth and his wife, Ginny, were two of the founders of Sage Hill School. He additionally served briefly on the school's Athletic Advisory Council.[15]

Ueberroth is a Board Member for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is named after Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott, and is awarded annually to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year.[16]


  1. ^ Macur, Juliet (October 2, 2008). "U.S.O.C. Picks Video-Game Executive to Replace Ueberroth". The New York Times. Retrieved October 3, 2008.
  2. ^ "Burlingame High School Class of 1955 Constituents". Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  3. ^ (Chinese) Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Joseph Durso, A Billion-Dollar Bid By CBS Wins Rights To Baseball Games The New York Times. December 15, 1988. Retrieved March 13, 2008.
  5. ^ Mushnick, Phil (1 January 2000). "Crime of the Century: How Peter Ueberroth and Baseball's Money-Hungry Owners Robbed our Children of the National Pastime". New York Post. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  6. ^ Helyar, John (1994). Lords of the Realm: The Real History of Baseball. New York City: Villard. ISBN 0-345-46524-5.
  7. ^ Anderson, Dave (June 23, 1991). "SPORTS OF THE TIMES; Baseball's Realistic Adversary". New York Times.
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-11-02. Retrieved 2011-11-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Peter Ueberroth and Collusion
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2009-10-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ a b "Commissioners". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  11. ^ Aircastle Ltd (AYR) Reuters.
  12. ^ Free Fall, The Needless Destruction Of Eastern Air Lines.
  13. ^ Alonso, Alex A. (1998). Rebuilding Los Angeles: A Lesson of Community Reconstruction (PDF). Los Angeles: University of Southern California.
  14. ^ Board of Trustees Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine, University of Southern California, Retrieved April 13, 2008.
  15. ^ "Sage Hill hosts private dedication for gym". Daily Pilot. April 29, 2008. Retrieved May 5, 2008.
  16. ^ Lott Impact Trophy Retrieved December 15, 2011.

Further reading

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Soviet Union Konstantin Chernenko
President of Organizing Committee for Summer Olympic Games
Succeeded by
South Korea Roh Tae-woo
1984 Summer Olympics

The 1984 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event that was held from July 28 to August 12, 1984, in Los Angeles, United States. This was the second time that Los Angeles had hosted the Games, the first being in 1932.

California was the home state of the incumbent U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who officially opened the Games. The logo for the 1984 Games, branded "Stars in Motion", featured red, white and blue stars arranged horizontally and struck through with alternating streaks.

The official mascot of the Games was Sam the Olympic Eagle. These were the first Summer Olympic Games under the IOC presidency of Juan Antonio Samaranch.

The 1984 Games were boycotted by a total of fourteen Eastern Bloc countries, including the Soviet Union and East Germany, in response to the American-led boycott of the previous 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; Romania was the only Eastern Bloc nation that opted to attend the Games. Iran and Libya also chose to boycott the Games for unrelated reasons. Despite the field being depleted in certain sports due to the boycott, 140 National Olympic Committees took part, which was a record at the time.The 1984 Summer Olympics are widely considered to be the most financially successful modern Olympics and serve as an example of how to run the model Olympic Games. As a result of low construction costs, coupled with a reliance on private corporate funding, the 1984 Olympic Games generated a profit of more than $250 million.

On July 18, 2009, a 25th anniversary celebration was held in the main Olympic Stadium. The celebration included a speech by the former president of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, Peter Ueberroth, and a re-creation of the lighting of the cauldron. Los Angeles will host the Summer Olympics for the third time in 2028.

1984 World Series

The 1984 World Series began on October 9 and ended on October 14, 1984. The American League champion Detroit Tigers played against the National League champion San Diego Padres, with the Tigers winning the series four games to one. This was the city of Detroit's first sports championship since the Tigers themselves won the 1968 World Series.

This was the first World Series that Peter Ueberroth presided over as commissioner. Ueberroth began his tenure on October 1, succeeding Bowie Kuhn. Ueberroth had been elected as Kuhn's successor prior to the 1984 season, but did not take over until the postseason as he was serving as the chairman of the 1984 Summer Olympics, which ran from July 28 through August 12.

This was the last World Series in which the designated hitter was used for games played in a National League team's ballpark in the World Series (as in even-numbered years, the DH would be used in all games, which was first instituted in 1976). The next World Series did not use the DH (as odd-numbered years saw the DH rule not in force for the World Series). Starting in 1986, the DH would only be used in games played at the American League representative's park.

A. Bartlett Giamatti

Angelo Bartlett Giamatti (; April 4, 1938 – September 1, 1989) was an American professor of English Renaissance literature, the president of Yale University, and the seventh Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

Giamatti served as Commissioner for only five months before dying suddenly of a heart attack. He is the shortest-tenured baseball commissioner in the sport's history and the only holder of the office not to preside over a full Major League Baseball season. Giamatti negotiated the agreement resolving the Pete Rose betting scandal by permitting Rose to voluntarily withdraw from the sport to avoid further punishment.

Baseball Assistance Team

The Baseball Assistance Team is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization affiliated with Major League Baseball. The organization's mission is to "confidentially support members of the Baseball Family in need of assistance." The baseball family includes former players, both from the Major and Minor Leagues, former Negro League and All-American Girls Professional Baseball League players, umpires, scouts, and MLB and MiLB team personnel.

Bill White (first baseman)

William De Kova White (born January 28, 1934) is a former professional baseball first baseman who played for the New York and San Francisco Giants (1956, 1958), St. Louis Cardinals (1959–65, 1969) and Philadelphia Phillies (1966–68). In 1989 White was elected President of the National League to replace Bart Giamatti, who succeeded Peter Ueberroth as Commissioner. White served as NL president until he retired in 1994.

White became a full-time sportscaster after his playing career ended in 1969, and was the play-by-play man and color analyst for New York Yankees television and radio broadcasts for 18 years.

Bowie Kuhn

Bowie Kent Kuhn (; October 28, 1926 – March 15, 2007) was an American lawyer and sports administrator who served as the fifth Commissioner of Major League Baseball from February 4, 1969, to September 30, 1984. He served as legal counsel for Major League Baseball owners for almost 20 years prior to his election as commissioner.

Kuhn was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.

Claire Smith (journalist)

Claire Smith is an American sportswriter. She covered the New York Yankees from 1983 to 1987 as the first female Major League Baseball beat writer, working for the Hartford Courant. She later worked as a columnist for The New York Times from 1991 to 1998, and was an editor and columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer from 1998 to 2007. She is currently a news editor for ESPN.

After the first game of the 1984 National League Championship Series against the Cubs in Wrigley Field, the San Diego Padres physically removed Smith from the visitors' clubhouse despite a National League rule requiring equal access to all properly accredited journalists during the playoffs. San Diego first baseman Steve Garvey left the clubhouse, told her she still had a job to do, and proceeded with an interview. Newly appointed Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth declared a new rule the next day requiring equal access for all major league locker rooms.Her mother Bernice was a chemist working for General Electric. Smith credits her for sparking her interest in baseball, especially for Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers. Her father, William, was an illustrator and sculptor. She was born in Langhorne, Pennsylvania and graduated from Neshaminy High School. She attended the Pennsylvania State University and then Temple University, getting her first journalism job with the Bucks County Courier.

Commissioner of Baseball

The Commissioner of Baseball is the chief executive of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the associated Minor League Baseball (MiLB) – a constellation of leagues and clubs known as organized baseball. Under the direction of the Commissioner, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball hires and maintains the sport's umpiring crews, and negotiates marketing, labor, and television contracts. The commissioner is chosen by a vote of the owners of the teams. The current commissioner is Rob Manfred, who assumed office on January 25, 2015.

Dick Wagner (baseball)

Dick Wagner (October 19, 1927 – October 5, 2006) was a sports, entertainment, and broadcasting executive who spent twenty-five years in Major League Baseball. He was best known for running the Cincinnati Reds during the 1970s and the Houston Astros during the 1980s.

Floyd Youmans

Floyd Everett Youmans (born May 11, 1964) is a former professional baseball pitcher. He pitched all or part of five seasons in Major League Baseball from 1985–89. He is one of the players dealt by the New York Mets to the Montreal Expos for Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter.

John Young (baseball)

John Thomas Young (February 9, 1949 – May 8, 2016) was an American professional baseball player. He also scouted and worked in the front office. Young played in Major League Baseball for the Detroit Tigers in 1971. He founded Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), a youth baseball program aimed at increasing participation among African Americans in baseball.

Jose Luis Gonzalez (artist)

Jose Luis Gonzalez (also known as J.L. Goez, Joe L. Gonzalez) has been in the field of fine arts since 1956 as a designer, painter, muralist, sculptor, restorer, ceramist, importer, and arts administrator. Gonzalez is versatile in designing, executing, and installing of murals, shrines, monuments and restoration of the same. Gonzalez has devoted his lifetime to the recognition and training of Chicano artists in the United States, with results that have won him international acclaim. He received a City of Los Angeles Certificate of Service, for his chairmanship of The Los Angeles City Bicentennial Committee from Mayor Tom Bradley on September 28, 1976. He also received the Bronze Medallion of Mexico City from Dr. Carlos Hank Gonzalez, Mayor of Mexico City, in 1981 for his contributions toward the Mexico City is Sister City of Los Angeles project. In 1984 Peter Ueberroth, President of the Olympic Committee, along with Harry L. Usher and Paul Ziffren, presented him a Certificate and Bronze Medal for his contributions to the success of the 23rd Olympiad held in Los Angeles known also as the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee

The Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, or LAOOC, also known as the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, was an informal name for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIII Olympiad. The President of LAOOC was Peter Ueberroth.

Major League Baseball collusion

Baseball collusion refers to owners working together to avoid competitive bidding for player services or players jointly negotiating with team owners.

Collusion in baseball is formally defined in the Major League Baseball Collective Bargaining Agreement, which states "Players shall not act in concert with other Players and Clubs shall not act in concert with other Clubs." Major League Baseball went through a period of owner collusion during the off-seasons of 1985, 1986, and 1987.

Historically, owner collusion was often referred to as a "gentleman's agreement". After the 1918 season, owners released all their players – terminating the non-guaranteed contracts, with a "gentleman's agreement" not to sign each other's players, as a means of forcing down player salaries.

Olympic Velodrome (Carson, California)

The Olympic Velodrome for the track cycling events at the 1984 Summer Olympics was located on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, California. Constructed between 1981 and 1982, the velodrome was sponsored by the American convenience store chain 7-Eleven.

The 333.3 meter long track was demolished in 2003 and replaced by the ADT Event Center in 2004, now known as the VELO Sports Center, which remains the only Olympic-standard velodrome in the United States. The ADT center was built to the south of where the Olympic Velodrome had been. Dignity Health Sports Park soccer stadium (formerly Home Depot Center and StubHub Center) is situated where the velodrome once stood.

President of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games

The President of the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games is the individual who is in charge of leading the Organizing Committee for each Olympic Games.

Theodore Roosevelt Award

The Theodore Roosevelt Award is the highest honor the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) may confer on an individual. The award is awarded annually to a graduate from an NCAA member institution who earned a varsity letter in college for participation in intercollegiate athletics, and who ultimately became a distinguished citizen of national reputation based on outstanding life accomplishment. Each awardee, by personal example, is said to exemplify the ideals and purposes to which collegiate athletics are dedicated.

The award, nicknamed "The Teddy," is named after U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, whose concern for the conduct of intercollegiate athletes and athletic programs led to the formation of the NCAA in 1906. Past winners include four former Presidents of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower (1967), Gerald R. Ford (1975), George H.W. Bush (1986), and Ronald Reagan (1990).

Young Presidents' Organization

YPO (formerly Young Presidents' Organization) is a global network of young chief executives with approximately 27,000 members in more than 130 countries, according to the organization's 2016 YPO International Fact Sheet.

Sporting News Sportsman/Pro Athlete of the Year


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