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Robert Trigaux

Tampa Bay Rays owner: Volcker was 'heroic'



Volcker You'd think Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg would still be celebrating his baseball team's American League Championship. But he's also taking time to hear the economic outlook from Paul Volcker -- former Federal Reserve chairman and close advisor to President-elect Barack Obama (Volcker is at far right in photo). According to Bloomberg News, Volcker told Major League Baseball owners that it will take longer than many people expect to repair the U.S. economy. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig invited Volcker to speak to the sport's 30 owners at their quarterly meetings in New York. He talked for about an hour Thursday and took about a dozen questions from team officials on everything from automakers to unemployment. The media was excluded from the event.

According to Rays owner Sternberg (himself a former Goldman Sachs executive), Volcker said U.S. consumers will have to lead the rest of the world out of the global recession. "He said the same things we are getting in the papers, but when you hear it from the foremost financial authority in the world, it has a bigger impact,'' Sternberg told Bloomberg News.

Volcker has been called on by Selig in the past to help baseball. He was on Selig's blue-ribbon panel on baseball economics in 2000 and on committees in 1990 and 1991. According to the Bloomberg story, Sternberg said Volcker rescued the economy in the late 1970s and early 1980s by curbing inflation. Volcker was on the board of the American Stock Exchange when Sternberg began his Wall Street career there in 1978.

"I told him, you saved the planet,'' Sternberg said he told Volcker when they spoke at the World Series. "What he did back then was nothing short of heroic. He tamed the world's inflation.''

2007 photo by Tannen Maury-Pool/Getty Images

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:23am]


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