Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth said yesterday that the ninth-inning call that helped the Kansas City Royals win Game 6 of the World Series may have been wrong.
Ueberroth, in discussing last week's controversial call in an appearance on the "Donahue" show, defended American League umpire Don Denkinger as one of baseball's best and said human errors are "part of the game."
The Royals won the game, 2-1, Saturday night and then beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 11-0, Sunday to win the World Series.
During the show, Ueberroth viewed videotapes in which Denkinger called Jorge Orta safe at first base after first baseman Jack Clark fielded the ball and flipped it to pitcher Todd Worrell on the bag, apparently before Orta touched base.
"I think he may have missed it," Ueberroth told host Phil Donahue. " . . . It's part of the game. Umpires are not perfect. They make mistakes."
The commissioner also said he disliked having former president Richard Nixon as the arbitrator in the umpires' salary dispute.
The team owners and the umpires' union chose Nixon to decide how much the umpires would be paid for the two games added to this year's league playoffs.
"I was totally against that," Ueberroth said. "I don't think a tiny dispute that I wouldn't even get involved in should involve the former head of this country. And it dredges up all the problems Richard Nixon faced." . . .
The Cincinnati Reds have signed player-manager Pete Rose to a three-year contract worth $1 million "not so much as salary, but to reward him for what he has done," Reds owner Marge Schott announced. Schott told reporters that the contract was worth $1 million, but did not say whether that was per year or overall.