National League President Bill White, saying his reputation means more to him than his job, declared yesterday he would resign if he does not receive the full support of baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent in a dispute with National League umpires.

"I've got to completely clear my name from that slander," White said, referring to statements made last week by National League umpire Joe West and the head of the umpires' union, Richie Phillips.

"I want the commissioner to get the facts, and then I want a {public} statement from the commissioner. This is the time to take a stand, to find out who's right and wrong, who's telling the truth and who's lying."

White met with West and Phillips in Philadelphia last week to discuss West's ejection of Phillies outfielder Von Hayes from an Aug. 22 game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

After the meeting, West and Phillips gave accounts of the discussion that differed dramatically from White's.

West said White told him he had handled the Hayes situation properly and that he was considering asking umpires to no longer involve themselves in bench-clearing brawls.

White offered no comment after his meeting with West, but after reading West's published account, issued a statement saying he had told West he did not approve of his ejection of Hayes and that he had instructed West to no longer touch players while attempting to stop brawls on the field.

White's public criticism of West angered Phillips, who called it "an unprecedented lack of support for umpires." Phillips asked Vincent to resolve the matter. . . .

A federal court document supports former New York Yankees general partner George Steinbrenner's claim he paid a reputed gambler $40,000 to keep damaging allegations against a major league baseball manager a secret, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

The Plain Dealer said a transcript obtained from federal court records in Cleveland indicated Howard Spira had made a sports betting allegation against Cincinnati Reds Manager Lou Piniella. In the transcript, Spira said Piniella allegedly made bets on college and professional football games while he worked for the Yankees.

Piniella has denied betting on anything but horse races, which is legal. Steinbrenner, who stepped down in early August as Yankees managing general partner, said he paid Spira $40,000 to prevent him from making public his allegations against Piniella.