Donald Fehr

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Donald Fehr
Born Donald Martin Fehr
(1948-07-18) July 18, 1948 (age 68)
Prairie Village, Kansas
Nationality American
Occupation Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players' Association

Donald Martin Fehr (born July 18, 1948)[1] is the executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association. He became nationally prominent while serving as the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1985 to 2009.

Life and career[edit]

Fehr's parents are Irene Sylvia (née Gulko) and Louis Alvin Fehr, of German-Jewish descent.[2][3] He was raised in Prairie Village, Kansas. He graduated from Indiana University and was a member of Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity. Fehr received his law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.[4]


As a young lawyer, Fehr assisted the MLBPA in the Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally arbitration case (later known as the Seitz decision). In 1977, Marvin Miller hired Fehr as the Players Association general counsel.

In December 1985, Fehr was voted executive director of the MLBPA after having served as acting director since December 9, 1983. Fehr successfully challenged the owners' collusion, leading to the owners paying $280 million in damages to the players.

Fehr led the players union through the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike and subsequent World Series cancellation. He was instrumental in implementing the rejection of future admissions into the MLBPA by replacement players who planned to fill in during the strike of 1995. Fehr attended the 1995 New York Yankees' home opener against the Texas Rangers, which saw only 50,425 fans show up making it was the smallest opening day crowd at Yankee Stadium since 1990.[5] Fehr's presence angering many fans who blamed him for ruining their team's postseason chances and what would have been Don Mattingly's postseason debut.[6] Fans booed Fehr and yelled "You ruined the game!"[6] in response to him having attended the last game played at Yankee Stadium before the strike, and booed as he left the stadium;[7][8] one fan also held up a sign saying "$HAME ON YOU!",[9] to which Fehr responded by flipping off the fan.

On June 22, 2009, Fehr announced his intention to step down as the MLBPA executive director position, recommending Michael Weiner as his successor. This was subject to the approval of the union's executive board and possible ratification by all players.[10] He officially relinquished his job to Weiner in December 2009.[11][12]


Shortly after leaving his position as Executive Director of the MLBPA, Fehr took up a position as an advisor to the NHL Players' Association. On December 18, 2010, Fehr was voted in by the NHLPA as their executive director.[13][14]

With the NHL locking out the players at midnight on September 15, 2012, Fehr became the only Executive Director of a players union to be directly involved in work stoppages in two sports. Six of the eight contract negotiations he has been involved in have resulted in work stoppages, including five consecutive negotiations between the MLBPA and Major League Baseball.[15]


  1. ^ Street, Jim (March 19, 2008). "Mariners talk to Fehr about schedule". Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ Klein, Jeff Z. The New York Times  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Maske, Mark (April 30, 1995). "After the Strike, Baseball's Disgusted Fans Decide to Strike Back". The Washington Post. p. A1. 
  6. ^ a b Chass, Murray (April 27, 1995). "BASEBALL; Ceremony, Circus Act And Even Some Fans Greet Game's Return". The New York Times. p. B11. Retrieved September 3, 2010. 
  7. ^ Justice, Richard (August 12, 1994). "With Baseball's Last Out, a Strike". The Washington Post. p. A1. 
  8. ^ Stark, Jayson (August 12, 1994). "Major League Baseball Goes on Strike". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. A1. 
  9. ^ Boswell, Thomas (April 27, 1995). "Fans Allow Yankees Leeway on Strike Zone". The Washington Post. p. B1. 
  10. ^ "Fehr leaving post after quarter-century". June 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Donald Fehr closer to becoming NHLPA's executive director". USA Today. September 11, 2010. 
  13. ^ NHLPA press release
  14. ^
  15. ^

Further reading[edit]

Ruttman, Larry (2013). "Donald Fehr: Former Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association". American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball. Lincoln, Nebraska and London, England: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 281–291. ISBN 978-0-8032-6475-5.  This chapter in Ruttman's oral history, based on an April 24, 2009 interview with Fehr conducted for the book, discusses Fehr's American, Jewish, baseball, and life experiences from youth to the present.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Marvin Miller
MLBPA Executive Director
Succeeded by
Michael Weiner
Preceded by
Mike Ouellet
NHLPA Executive Director