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Former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth says he and a group of investors would consider buying the Los Angeles Dodgers if the price was right.

And what might be right? The Baltimore Orioles sold for a record $173 million to a group headed by Peter Angelos in 1993."The Dodgers baseball franchise is, in my view, the most valuable franchise in baseball," Ueberroth said Tuesday, a day after owner Peter O'Malley announced that the team is up for sale.

"We would have a strong interest, but I don't think we'd be a very likely winning bidder because of the marquee nature of the Dodger franchise," said Ueberroth, whose group's bid for the California Angels last year was outdone by the Walt Disney Co.

Industry experts speculated that the Dodgers' starting price would be $200 million, but the closing would be closer to $300 million. O'Malley, whose family has controlled the franchise since 1950, said he would take his time.

"Results are more important than timing," he said Monday. "We've probably received one offer a year for 25 years. I may be here for a long time. It will not be a circus."

Politicians did get into the act, however.

In New York, Brooklyn borough president Howard Golden sent letters to Gov. George Pataki and mayor Rudolph Giuliani asking for a commission to look for ways to bring the team "home."

Walter O'Malley moved the Brooklyn Dodgers west after the 1957 season, a move still regarded as betrayal by many in Flatbush.

Broadway producer Manny Kladitis said his investors, including Japanese backers, were interested in bringing the Dodgers back to New York, too, and he planned to talk to the mayor.

"It is crucial that the future ownership be more than a faceless corporate entity or another egotistical sports owner," Los Angeles councilwoman Laura Chick said in a resolution she introduced Tuesday.

Chick figures the Dodgers are already home, and her resolution urges O'Malley to explore public ownership of the team. She held up the NFL's Green Bay Packers as a model for the nation's second-largest city.

Over 4,600 shares of Packers stock are owned by 1,898 people, with no more than 200 shares owned individually. When shares are sold, which seldom happens, no profits are allowed. The team turned a $5.4 million profit last year.

If the 9.2 million people in Los Angeles County bought a $30 share apiece, they would be in speculating range of $300 million. And the county has about 9.1 million more people than Green Bay.

"In a city this size, I think it would work even easier," because there would be more investors, Chick said. When she emphasized to colleagues that the idea didn't involve tax money, "they got excited," she said.

"I know it's unlikely that every man, woman and child in the county will invest, but there's nothing that says it has to be only the people of Los Angeles," Chick said. "It could be the entire Southern California region."

"My guess is that it's not efficient," said Mark Weinstein, an associate professor of business, finance and law at the University of Southern California. Public ownership means organizational costs that a partnership or closely held corporation can avoid, he said.

O'Malley, whose family has controlled the team since 1950, said he had no idea how much the Dodgers were worth. He expected to take six months finding a buyer; baseball's approval process could take another year.

Besides the player contracts and the franchise, assets include the stadium and its 300 acres overlooking downtown Los Angeles; the Dodgertown spring training park in Vero Beach, Fla., and Campo Las Palmas in the Dominican Republic.