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New baseball players' union head Michael Weiner said he has "been assured that all contractual commitments to players will be honored in full."
After an agreement in principle was announced Jan. 23, after more than a month of exclusive negotiations, Greenberg's group had hoped to have control of the Rangers by opening day. But the deal was slowed by concerns from Hicks' lenders after Hicks Sports Group defaulted on $525 million in loans last year.
Hicks said it became apparent about a month ago that the Chapter 11 bankruptcy would be the only way to break the stalemate.
The filing is not the first in baseball.
The Chicago Cubs briefly filed for Chapter 11 protection last year in a step that allowed their new owners to avoid potential claims from Tribune Co. creditors. The Baltimore Orioles were sold in a bankruptcy auction in 1993 after owner Eli Jacobs filed for Chapter 11.
Once the bankruptcy issue is settled and the sale proceeds, at least 75 percent of baseball's owners have to approve the transfer of ownership from Hicks. In a letter included with the bankruptcy filing, commissioner Bud Selig said he intends to recommend the approval of the sale.
Major League Baseball has agreed to give the Rangers a new credit facility while it waits for the deal to be completed, the team said.
This is the 50th season of the franchise that began as the Washington Senators in 1961, and moved to Texas in 1972. The Rangers won their only three AL West titles in a four-year span at the end of the 1990s, and have never won a playoff series.
Court records show that the team's cash flow problems began in 2005. Hicks provided more than $100 million to the Rangers in his tenure, but problems have mounted over the years.
"Due to the unprecedented downturn in the U.S. economic and housing industry and global economic recession, other commitments and contractual restraints, Mr. Hicks was no longer willing to provide the same material financial support he had in the past," Kellie Fischer, the Rangers' chief financial officer, wrote in a separate filing Monday.
Rodney Fort, a professor at the University of Michigan and vice president of the International Association of Sports Economists, dismissed the notion that escalating player salaries played a role in forcing the bankruptcy filing.
"That's the silliest of all economic logic -- to blame your employees because you can't manage the asset in such a way that you can make a go of it," he said. "It's unlikely that even if it were true that high salaries were causing problems for the Rangers, that the answer is declare bankruptcy and sell the team."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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