NEW YORK (AP) Marvin Miller, the union boss who won free agency for baseball players in 1975, ushering in an era of multimillion-dollar contracts and athletes who switch teams at the drop of a batting helmet, died Tuesday at 95. He had been diagnosed with liver cancer in August.
``I think he's the most important baseball figure of the last 50 years,'' former baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent said. ``He changed not just the sport but the business of the sport permanently, and he truly emancipated the baseball player - and in the process all professional athletes. Prior to his time, they had few rights. At the moment, they control the games.''
In his 16 1/2 years as executive director of the Major League Players Association, starting in 1966, Miller fought owners on many fronts, not only achieving free agency but making the word ``strike'' stand for something other than a pitched ball.
Over the years, his influence was widely acknowledged if not always honored. Baseball fans argue over whether he made the game fairer or more nakedly mercenary, and the Hall of Fame repeatedly rejected him in what was attributed to lingering resentment among team owners.
NEW YORK (AP) - Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are set to show up on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time, and fans will soon find out whether drug allegations block the former stars from reaching baseball's shrine.
The 2013 ballot will be announced Wednesday.
Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling are certain to be among the other first-time eligibles. Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines are the top holdover candidates.
NEW YORK (AP) - Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz was suspended Tuesday for the first 25 games of next season following a positive test for an amphetamine.
The 33-year-old was an All-Star for the first time this year when he hit .325 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs.
``I am sincerely regretful for my mistake in taking a prohibited stimulant,'' Ruiz said in a statement issued by the Major League Baseball Players Association.
Ruiz will be eligible to participate in spring training, including exhibition games.
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) - Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley, two of the major faces in the debate over belly putters, said they would not fight a change in the rules if golf's governing bodies decide to outlaw putters anchored to the body.
That doesn't mean they're in favor of a ban.
``I'm obviously not happy with the ruling, but I respect the USGA, and especially Mike Davis,'' Bradley said. ``They make the rules, and I'll adjust appropriately. But I'm going to accept the challenge and hopefully do well when they do ban it.''
Davis, the USGA executive director, and Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson have scheduled a press conference Wednesday morning to announce their conclusions on the future of long putters. All indications point toward a ban on anchoring the club.
HOUSTON (AP) - Jack Pardee, one of Bear Bryant's ``Junction Boys'' who went on to become an All-Pro linebacker and an NFL coach, has been diagnosed with gall bladder cancer and has six to nine months to live, his family said.
The cancer has spread to other organs and that her 76-year-old father plans to move to a Denver hospice where the College Football Hall of Fame inductee's wife, Phyllis, has been receiving care since having a stroke, daughter Anne Pardee confirmed to The Associated Press.
DETROIT (AP) - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and league officials looked at Ndamukong Suh's latest infamous act on the field from several angles, trying to understand why the Detroit Lions defensive tackle kicked Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin area.
``Intent is something that is very difficult for us to ever try to make a judgment on,'' Goodell told reporters before speaking at a Lions charity event.
Goodell said he hasn't spoken to Suh about what he did in last Thursday's game, adding that the league's football operations staff is in the process of speaking to him about it.
``They're still going through the process of whether it should be a fine,'' Goodell said. ``They'll probably make that decision in the next couple days.''
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - The San Francisco 49ers and inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman reached agreement on a five-year contract extension through the 2018 season.
The contract is worth $45.25 million, with $25.5 million guaranteed.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - The Chicago Bears signed former Pro Bowl offensive lineman Andre Gurode, hoping to boost a short-handed unit.
The Bears announced the signing a day after right guard Lance Louis was placed on injured reserve. Louis tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Sunday's win over Minnesota on a blindside hit by the Vikings' Jared Allen and will miss the rest of the season.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky hired Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops as the Wildcats' football coach.
Stoops replaces Joker Phillips, who was fired on Nov. 4. Phillips went 13-24 in three seasons at Kentucky and the Wildcats were 0-8 in the Southeastern Conference this year.
The Atlantic Coast Conference's presidents and chancellors have scheduled a conference call for Wednesday morning to discuss plans about replacing Maryland, a person familiar with the situation said.
The person spoke to The Associated Press early Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the ACC has not publicly discussed future expansion plans.
Maryland announced last week it would join the Big Ten in 2014. If the ACC chooses to replace the Terrapins, Big East schools Louisville and Connecticut are considered the front-runners to fill that vacancy.
The Big East moved quickly to replace Rutgers and braced for more possible departures, getting Tulane and East Carolina to agree to join the re-invented conference in 2014.
Tulane, in New Orleans, and East Carolina, in Greenville, N.C., will make it six Conference USA schools to join the Big East in the last two years.
Rutgers announced a week ago that it would leave the Big East for the Big Ten.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Tulsa athletic director Ross Parmley was placed on paid leave as the university investigates allegations that he may have been involved with an alleged bookie in Oklahoma City.
University President Steadman Upham issued a brief statement saying Parmley will be on paid administrative leave during the investigation. Upham didn't offer details about whether the allegations involved sports betting or other forms of gambling that may or may not be illegal in the state.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Hope Solo is trying to diffuse the drama surrounding her personal life as the gold medal-winning U.S. women's soccer team prepares for an exhibition match against Ireland.
The goalkeeper made her first appearance with the national team since she was married to former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens in Washington state on Nov. 13, a day after his arrest at a party for domestic violence. A judge determined there wasn't enough evidence to hold Stevens, but the matter remained under investigation.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - City officials approved a $320 million deal to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in the city's arena.
The city council approved a 20-year, $324 million deal for Jobing.com Arena in June, but city leaders sought to renegotiate it. The newly approved proposal would help Glendale because it would reduce payments in the early years of the 20-year deal and save the city $4 million.