Jerold C. Hoffberger president of the Baltimore Orioles, said today he may not pay a $2,500 fine imposed by Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn because he asked the governor of Maryland to throw out the first ball for the second game of the World Series.
Hoffberger, who relinquished ownership of the American League franchise to Edward Bennett Williams on Nov. 1, said he was fined Oct. 29 -- and ordered to pay it "immediately" -- for breadking a rule that says politicians and movie stars cannot toss out the ceremonial first ball at a World Series game without permission.
Gov. Harry Hughes, a former minor league pitcher, threw out the first ball for the second game against Pittsburgh.
Asked if he would pay the fine, Hoffberger said, "I don't think so. But I'm waiting for advice from my lawyers."
Hughes, who learned of the fine today, merely laughed and said, "I didn't throw the ball out as a politician. I threw it out as a former minor league baseball player."
Hoffberger, in a telephone interview from a Kansas City meeting of major league officials, said, "He (Kuhn) wanted the governor uninvited. I decided not to uninvite the governor. I suggested to Mr. Kuhn that he uninvite the governor if he wanted the governor uninvited.
"He (Hughes) deserved to throw out the first ball. He's a great guy. I'd do the same thing all over again."
Kuhn said in a statement through a spokesman, "The issue here is very simple. We have a regulation for the World Series which says first-ball throwers must be approved in advance with Frank Cashen (former Oriole general manager), our administrator."
Hoffberger said in response, "I found it surprising because at the playoffs (in Anaheim, Calif.) former President Nixon threw out a ball and nobody was fined. But the commissioner said playoffs were different."