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Richie Phillips dies at 72; led umpires, NBA refs

Published June 4, 2013 10:21 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Philadelphia • Richie Phillips, a hard-charging negotiator for NBA referees and Major League Baseball umpires, has died. He was 72.

Phillips' death was reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, which said he died Friday of cardiac arrest at his second home in Cape May, N.J. His death was confirmed by the D'Anjolell Memorial Home in Broomall, where a viewing is scheduled Thursday.

Phillips represented NBA referees in the 1970s and '80s and led MLB umps from 1978 until 1999, when a negotiating tactic of mass resignations backfired. That led umpires to abandon Phillips' Major League Umpires Association and form a new union, the World Umpires Association.

Nonetheless, umpires made tremendous gains under Phillips. When he became their negotiator in 1978, rookie umpires made $17,500. By 2000, they earned at least $95,000.

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