Dick Wagner, who has borne the brunt of fans' discontent over the breakup of the "Big Red Machine," and the Cincinnati Reds' sagging fortunes, was fired yesterday as president and general manager of the club.
Wagner's predecessor, Bob Howsam, agreed to return as chief executive officer and general manager on an interim basis. Howsam, top executive of the Reds from 1967 until Wagner assumed control in 1978, was in New York on business and did not plan to be in Cincinnati until later in the week. Woody Woodward, assistant general manager, will be in charge until Howsam arrives.
"We feel it is necessary to make a change at this time. These have been difficult times for Dick and for all of us," said James Williams and William Williams, the brothers who are the team's chairmen and general partners.
"Bill and Jim Williams have made a decision and I respect that. They own the ball club," Wagner said . . .
Buddy LeRoux was negotiating to buy 90 percent of the Cleveland Indians for $20 million last winter, five months before he signed a letter of agreement to sell his shares of the Boston Red Sox to a group including Carl Yastrzemski, it was revealed in Boston.
LeRoux, one of three Red Sox general partners, said he had been interested in the Cleveland franchise for several years, according to the testimony of Red Sox consultant John Harrington, who represents general partner Jean R. Yawkey.
Harrington was the leadoff witness in a Superior Court trial in Boston to determine if LeRoux violated the club's operating agreement by seizing power with the help of limited partners on June 6 . . .
In New York, National League President Chub Feeney reserved decision after hearing Umpire Joe West's appeal of his three-day suspension and $500 fine for shoving Braves Manager Joe Torre after a game June 28 in Atlanta. Feeney met with West and Richie Phillips, attorney for the Major League Umpires Association, for one hour . . .
Pittsburgh Pirate Dave Parker, hitting only .244 and used only against right-handed pitching, has refused the Pirates' request to undergo an eye examination. "There's nothing wrong with my vision," he said . . .
Seattle designated hitter Richie Zisk temporarily revived a man who had collapsed on a hotel dance floor in Baltimore Saturday night. By applying cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Zisk got the victim's pulse and breathing back by the time paramedics arrive, but the man died later in a hospital.