Brendan Donnelly Acknowledgment sign now

In 2002, the Anaheim Angels became the champions of Major League Baseball. A key contributor to their success that year was reliever Brendan Donnelly, who capped a fine season with 7 2/3 innings of 1-hit baseball and an ERA of 0.00 in the World Series. It is likely that the Angels would not be the champions today without his outstanding regular season and post-season contributions.

Yet, according to the Major League Baseball Players Association, Brendan Donnelly was not on the playoff roster for the 2002 World Champion Anaheim Angels at all. At least, that is their official position, since Donnelly is prohibited from joining the union as a result of having played in some spring training games in 1995 as a replacement player, and the MLBPA refuses to allow the names of replacement players to be included on any official MLB merchandise.

Some of us support and some of us oppose the MLBPAs position barring union membership to 1995 replacement players, and forbidding replacement players to share in the revenue from the licensing of MLB merchandise. The issue on which we are united, however, is our belief that Donnelly should, as a key player on the 2002 Anaheim Angels World Championship team, be acknowledged on all MLB merchandise that claims to list the players on that squad, and which lists all other roster members.

His exclusion serves only to make the MLBPA look petty, vindictive, and ridiculous. An argument has been made that this will serve as a disincentive to those who might agree to be replacement players in some future job action, but the union provides these replacement players with full union insurance and pension benefits, and the suggestion that any practical disincentive results from excluding their names from merchandise strikes us as silly. The exclusion from licensing revenue is a substantive punishment, but refusing to permit Brendan Donnellys name to be included on lists of the members of the 2002 Anaheim Angels is little more than a figurative way to spit in his face.

Those of us signing this petition wish to express the following:

1. As fans, we applaud Brendan Donnelly for finally achieving his goal of making it as a major league ballplayer in 2002, and for being a key contributor to the success of the 2002 Anaheim Angels. We also praise his classy behavior in handling this situation over the past year, for he has not made a public issue of the matter, had no awareness nor any involvement in this petition, and was not contacted to obtain his approval of its preparation.

2. We express our appreciation to his Angels teammates, who responded to this insult by the MLBPA by approving the private, non-commercial printing of championship T-shirts that list Donnelly along with the rest of the roster. We add special praise for former union representative Troy Percival and current representative Scott Schoeneweis for speaking publicly on Donnellys behalf, and for recognizing that support for the goals of the union does not preclude a fair acknowledgment and appreciation for a good teammate and friend who helped them achieve lifelong goals of a World Series Championship.

3. We call on the Major League Baseball Players Association to modify its position on replacement players to allow the honest and open identification of them in MLB official merchandise, and call on them to immediately approve the issuance of 2002 World Champion Anaheim Angels commemorative T-shirts that list Brendan Donnelly along with the rest of his teammates (we also ask them to consider approving issuance of 2001 World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks commemorative T-shirts that list Damian Miller, another 1995 replacement player who was denied this acknowledgment).

The 1994-5 labor debacle that resulted in the first and only cancellation of a World Series is a painful memory that damaged the reputation of baseball and inflicted wounds that still have not healed. We applaud those who are trying to move beyond that sad chapter of baseball history, and encourage the MLBPA to end a practice that only adds to the suffering memory. Whatever its position on union membership and licensing revenue for replacement players, the MLBPAs insistence that official merchandise deny the existence of players whose performances were part of the official results is an absurd practice.

Brendan Donnelly was a member of the 2002 Anaheim Angels: the fans know it, his teammates know it, the men he struck out know it, statistical records know it, and highlight reels will forever know it. This is a matter of common sense, honesty, and human decency.

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