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FD: All right, let's say selected. You were selected by the owners, and the players had no input.
PU: That's right. I think in the future it would be a good idea for the players to have input in the [hiring of the] commissioner, and before I'd agree to be commissioner again—I'm breaking new ground here, but I feel this way—I would think the players should have input, if they want it.
FD: Equal input?
PU: If they wanted it, certainly. Also, the umpires.
FD: You have participated in the negotiations to the extent that you have offered to hand over the books of the 26 franchises to the players.
PU: No, I have not offered to "hand over" the books. I have simply said that, in the process, if that's something both sides would like, I'll see to it that it's done. There would be no question about it. They would be opened so that there would be no suspicions—because I don't think you can have good collective bargaining with suspicions.
FD: I have the impression that even though you have set yourself apart from the negotiations, if they are resolved in a calm and satisfactory way you'll receive a lot of credit, but if there's a strike people will say it's your fault.
PU: Well, I think the second part is more true than the first, because I think when anything in baseball doesn't go well, the commissioner is blamed. I think history is going to treat Bowie Kuhn very kindly. I think he was a damned good commissioner.
FD: Why did you agree to succeed him?
PU: A lot of reasons. First, I rekindled a love affair with sports through the Olympics. For my family, the Ueberroths, baseball was always the sport we identified with—by a large margin—more than all other sports combined.