Oakland A's Manager Billy Martin was suspended for one week and fined $1,000 yesterday for bumping home plate umpire Terry Cooney, then repeatedly kicking and throwing dirt at the umpire during a game Friday in Toronto.
The penalty was American League President Lee MacPhail's stiffest against a manager since he became league president in 1974.
Martin's attorney, Ed Sapir, said he has appealed the suspension.
"In my mind Billy Martin didn't do anything wrong," Sapir said from New Orleans. "We've appealed Mr. MacPhail's decision very respectfully. Billy Martin will be in uniform (Tuesday) night to play the White Sox in Chicago."
Bob Fishel, administrative assistant to MacPhail, confirmed the appeal. That means, Fishel said, that the suspension would not take effect until a hearing is held. Martin missed games Saturday and Sunday by not appealing earlier. MacPhail suspended Martin indefinitely -- without a hearing -- after Friday night's incident. "We informed him by telex of the suspension and said he had the right to appeal," Fishel said.
Until the appeal, Martin's suspension was made retroactive to last Saturday and would have covered four games through Friday night.
Martin told WBBM-TV in Chicago: "If I hit him that hard, then I'm in the wrong business." Martin said he would be managing Tuesday night and accused Cooney of "baiting" him.
In an interview with Howard Cosell of ABC Sports, Martin said, "It's unconstitutional to fine and suspend a guy without hearing the facts. I think the league is completely wrong in this."
Richie Phillips, executive director of the Major League Umpires Association, which has threatened legal action against Martin, said the penality is too lenient.
"I do not think that seven days suspension coupled with a $1,000 fine is a sufficient deterrent to Billy Martin and other managers in the American League," Phillips said. "I'm going to view this matter with Terry Cooney and (crew chief) Bill Kunkel and make a decision on whether we will pursue other avenues."
MacPhail announced his decision after reviewing films of the incident.
Ejected by Cooney for arguing ball-strike calls during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Martin charged out of the dugout after Toronto's Ernie Whitt asked the umpire to examine a ball pitched by Oakland's Matt Keough. Martin ran into the 200-pound Cooney, knocking him backward, then kicked and threw dirt at the umpire.
Phillips said the umpires union might seek even stiffer penalties against Martin, possibly a civil suit or a request that Canadian authorities initiate criminal proceedings against the manager.
"If he got a slap on the wrist, we would definitely move in on one of those directions or both," Phillips said. "Those actions are still available and viable. It was a deliberate striking of an individual and the throwing of dirt was an absolutely despicable act. Obviously we are not totally satisfied. But the penalty falls in between a tap on the wrist and a sufficient action to deter others."
The suspension is the third of Martin's managerial career.
In 1973, while with the Detroit Tigers, he was suspended for three days for ordering his pitchers to throw spitballs in protest of what he said was the failure by umpires to enforce rules against that pitch.
A year later, while managing the Texas Rangers, Martin was suspended for three days for ordering his pitchers to throw knockouts pitches at Milwaukee batters.