NEW YORK -- Top baseball players union executive Gene Orza has decided to retire.
Orza has spent 26 years with the Major League Baseball Players Association and will remain on the staff through March 31, 2011.
"For nearly three decades, Gene has represented major league baseball players with unparalleled passion and determination," said MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner. "Every player in the game has benefitted from Gene's intelligence, creativity and fortitude."
Orza joined the MLBPA as associate general counsel in 1984 and was named the union's chief operating officer in 2004. He and former executive director Donald Fehr were at the forefront of every collective bargaining agreement since 1985 and helped the players through the strike that canceled the 1994 World Series and lingered into the spring of 1995.
"It's simply time for the old to make way for the new," said Orza, also referring to Fehr's resignation last June. "And what better time than now?
"Today's players are as aware as ever not just of the debt they owe to the players who went before them, but of their resulting obligation to the players who will come after them. Then too, the lessons learned from the great struggles waged and won by the players in '90s seem alive and well, and so the greater mutuality and cooperation that characterize the sport today, and to which those struggles gave birth, is likely to continue."
The 64-year-old Orza also helped the creation and launch of the World Baseball Classic and was the union's central figure in negotiations with Major League Baseball on the sport's current drug policy.