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OWNERS GATHERING TO DISCUSS FATE OF COMMISSIONER VINCENT

Baseball owners finally are coming together to vent their spleen at Fay Vincent.

It's unclear if the representatives of the 28 clubs will pressure the commissioner to quit or will attempt to fire him when they gather today at a hotel near O'Hare Airport.American League president Bobby Brown and National League president Bill White called the special meeting last week over Vincent's objection. The commissioner, whose terms run through March 31, 1994, will not attend because he says the Major League Agreement prohibits discussion of the terms and duties of the incumbent.

"I really don't expect that he will be fired on Thursday," Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said Wednesday. "I just don't know what's going to happen. We have a lot of things to talk about."

It appeared 13 or 14 teams were against Vincent and that 10-12 were supporting him. The views of the San Diego Padres and Detroit Tigers were unclear.

"I know that there's a majority that's not going to be behind him," Philadelphia Phillies owner Bill Giles said. "How many, I don't know."

Because the Major League Agreement doesn't have a mechanism for firing a commissioner, it also was unclear what options were available to disenchanted owners. An attempted firing would lead to a court fight that could tie up baseball's administration for a long time.

The anti-Vincent group, by many accounts, is led by Reinsdorf, Bud Selig of the Milwaukee Brewers, Stanton Cook of the Chicago Cubs and Peter O'Malley of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"Doesn't the board of directors fire its chairman or its president if it's not satisfied that the chairman or the president is (not) doing what the board of directors wants done?" Reinsdorf asked. "These franchises are owned by the owners, so to speak, and the commissioner is the employee of the owners. And if the commissioner is not doing a good job for the owners, then he ought to be dismissed."

Reinsdorf's view has changed completely from the early morning of March 19, 1990, when he praised Vincent's role in the four-year agreement between the clubs and the Major League Baseball Players Association.