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Anderson Dismisses Suggestion He Has Been Blackballed by Owners

February 19, 1996 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Former Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson dismissed suggestions he has been blackballed by baseball owners for walking out on replacement players last spring.

``People ask me if I think I’m being blackballed, and my answer is absolutely not,″ Anderson said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times published today.

``I don’t think I leave the Tigers with any stigma, and to say otherwise, to say I’m being blackballed, would be a crutch, an excuse. I just didn’t fit what people were looking for this winter.″

Anderson, who retired after 17 years with the Tigers, said he would return to baseball again _ for the right team _ and said owners know that.

``I mean, none of the bad clubs would be stupid enough to call me because they know I’m not going to jump back into that,″ he said. ``I’ve had enough of that in the last few years.″

Anderson does believe Tigers owner Mike Ilitch never forgave him for walking out on the replacement players, but he doesn’t regret his decision.

``If I had to do it again, I’d do it with more flair and be even more vocal about it,″ Anderson said. ``It was the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in my 43 years in baseball.

``The committee that came up with it should be skinned, dipped in honey and left for the ants.″