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MLBPA chief Michael Weiner dies

One of the key figures in the the history of the Major League Baseball Players Association has passed away.

Patrick McDermott

Michael Weiner, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, passed away at the age of 51 on Thursday as the result of a brain tumor.

As the head of the players' union since 2009, Weiner was instrumental in the new collective bargaining agreement, signed in November 2011. That agreement brought about advances in PED testing, including allowing blood tests to detect HGH. The agreement also brought dramatic changes to free agency, including the qualifying offer system by which teams now receive draft pick compensation.

Weiner was an adversary to Bud Selig  throughout his career with the MLBPA. The commissioner, howe er, showed admiration for the man he often faced across the negotiating table in his statement to the press:

"All of Major League Baseball mourns the loss of Michael Weiner, a gentleman, a family man, and an extraordinarily talented professional who earned the trust of his membership and his peers throughout the national pastime. Our strong professional relationship was built on a foundation of respect and a shared commitment to finding fair solutions for our industry. I appreciated Michael's tireless, thoughtful leadership of the Players and his pivotal role in the prosperous state of Baseball today.

"Michael was a courageous human being, and the final year of his remarkable life inspired so many people in our profession. On behalf of Major League Baseball and our 30 Clubs, I extend my deepest condolences to Michael's wife Diane, their three daughters, his colleagues at the MLBPA and his many friends and admirers throughout the game he served with excellence."

Working with Selig since 2009, Weiner helped usher in what will end up being an unprecedented 21 years of labor peace for professional baseball with this latest CBA.

Weiner began with the MLBPA under legendary union advocate Donald Fehr in 1988, joining the Association at a time when relations between players and owners were reeling from collusion in the wake of the beginning of free agency. He helped Fehr see it through the strike in 1994 and its bitter aftermath. He became the general counsel for the MLBPA in 2004. When Fehr announced that he would step down at the end of 2009, he recommended Weiner as his successor. He was the fifth executive director of the MLBPA.

Former Major Leaguer Tony Clark, who has served as MLBPA Deputy Executive Director since late July will act as interim Executive Director for the time being.

Weiner is survived by his wife Diane and his three daughters.

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