SIDELINES : Black Executive Eyeing Yankees

FROM TIMES WIRE SERVICES

J. Bruce Llewellyn, the chairman and chief executive officer of the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Co., says he is interested in buying the New York Yankees if George Steinbrenner is forced to sell the team, New York Newsday reported today.

Llewellyn has previously tried to buy the Seattle Mariners and the Baltimore Orioles. If successful in purchasing the Yankees, he would become the first black owner of a major league baseball club. Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Co. is the third-largest black-owned business in the country.

"The Yankees would be a great property, and they have great potential," Llewellyn said. "But they've been abused for the last dozen years."

To succeed, Llewellyn would have to overcome a number of obstacles. First of all, baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent would have to force Steinbrenner to sell the team as punishment for his dealings with gambler Howard Spira.

Also, Steinbrenner has said that he will not sell, even if he's suspended from baseball.

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