Players' union leader Michael Weiner remembered at funeral service
PARAMUS, N.J. (AP)
Michael Weiner's funeral drew baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, adversaries who both attended to honor the union leader during a 35-minute service Sunday.
Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, Frank Thomas, David Cone, Bobby Bonilla, Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner, Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, incoming union head Tony Clark and former union head Donald Fehr were among the hundreds who crowded into Sunday's service at Robert Schoem's Memorial Chapel.
"If anybody would like to sit on the floor in front of the pews, that is fine," Rabbi Mary Zamore said. "As you know, Mike Weiner was known for informality. We will respect that by just all squishing together."
Weiner died Thursday at age 51, less than four years after taking over as union head from Fehr. He was eulogized by his wife, Diane Margolin, as people sniffled and cried. Some wore Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers in his honor.
"I've been thinking about how to address you on this occasion since August of `12 when an aggressive cancerous tumor invaded Mike's brain," she said. "I imagined this day would be far, far off, but I knew it was coming."
Selig sat in the third row of the chapel and did not appear to cross paths with Rodriguez, who is seeking to overturn a 211-game suspension issued last summer. Rodriguez has been critical of Selig, and lawyers for the Yankees star have taken issue with statements Weiner made in August, when he said he recommended a negotiated settlement for a certain length that he claimed Major League Baseball did not offer.
In an eight-minute eulogy, Margolin said Weiner and his family felt honored by friends in the past 15 months by "a whirlwind of award ceremonies and parties that some of us came to call Tumorfest 2013."
"Shortly after his cancer diagnosis, Mike told me he was not afraid of death. He wasn't rushing it, but he was not afraid," she said. "His living the past 15 months without fear made all the difference, made everything possible."
Weiner is survived by his wife and daughters Margie, Grace and Sally.
"He clearly did not want us to be saddened by his diagnosis or what his illness did to him," his wife said. "He wanted us to dine, dance and play ball, stay on track with our lives, go to school, go to work, carry on. And by doing so now, we will honor Mike's life."
Weiner was buried at Cedar Park Cemetery.