A paper gangster that even Diddy could look up to.

One of the most bad-ass figures in sports announced his retirement yesterday: Donald Fehr, the longtime head of the Major League Baseball Player's Association has decided to hang up his spikes, and chances are the MLBPA will be worse off for his absence.

In his 25-plus-year tenure, while other leagues adopted management-friendly policies like salary caps and saw their unions get broken, Fehr presided over the strongest player's association in sports using four words: "no," "no," and "hell no." Sure, one of his biggest "no"s backfired (steroids), but his constituents saw their salaries skyrocket under his watch (even if their balls shrank). Take a look back at Fehr's Biggest Power Moves...

1. CANCELING THE WORLD SERIES fehr_series
Ok, so MLB commissioner Bud Selig was the one who actually canceled a sport's postseason for the first time in American major sports history, but if Selig pulled the trigger, Fehr bought the gun, loaded the bullets and cocked the hammer. With owners set to unilaterally impose a salary cap in 1994, the MLBPA called their bluff, walking off the job in August, forcing the cancellation of the remainder of the season. They stayed on strike through spring training of the following year (until the owners tried to use replacement players, see below), and MLB is now the only major sports league that still doesn't have a salary cap.
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2. BLACKBALLING REPLACEMENT PLAYERSfehr_scabs
As anybody familiar with unions knows, scabs get no love, even when they're longtime minor league ballplayers just looking for a fleeting glimpse of the big leagues. After '95, when a few such minor leaguers (plus some retired MLBers) crossed picket lines to play in the owners' short-lived experiment with replacement players, Fehr barred the scabs from ever being members of the MLBPA. When a few of those players went on to play for championship-winning clubs (Shane Spencer with the '99 and '00 Yankees, Damian Miller with the '01 D'backs, and Brendan Donnelly with the '02 Angels), Fehr prevented them from appearing on (and sharing in the profits of) officially-licensed MLBPA championship gear. Don't ever take sides with anyone against the Family again!
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3. BUSTING COLLUSION
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In the mid-'80s, Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf (above) and then-Milwaukee Brewers owner Bud Selig conspired with other owners to hold down player salaries by not offering contracts to each others' free agents (in 1987 player salaries dropped 16% while overall baseball revenues increased 15%). Fehr was spearheaded a series of lawsuits charging the owners with collusion, culminating in a $280 million judgment for the players in 1990. Collude that!
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4. (HOME RUN) TROTTING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK
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Do the math: the average MLB player's salary was $289,000 in 1983, in 2009 it's $3.24 million. Now that's gangsta.
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5. SAYING NO (TO DRUG TESTING)
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It ultimately blew up in the players' faces, but in the late '90s the union said it didn't want to have to submit to drug testing and until 2003, Fehr made sure they didn't have to. Of course half of those players have a syringe in a haystack chance of making the Hall of Fame (not to mention needing microscopes to find their nuts), but Fehr wasn't the one sticking a needle in his ass.