Judy Heeter announced Tuesday her intention to step down as Director of Business Affairs and Licensing of the Major League Baseball Players Association — a position she has held since 1991.
Heeter will remain in the role until the end of the year. Among her recent decisions that influenced baseball card collectors was the implementation of the Rookie Card logo program beginning in 2006.
MLBPA’s Evan Kaplan, who is the MLBPA Category Director for Trading Cards and Collectibles, declined to comment further on the move and any future ramifications for licensing or the staffing for 2010.
“For nearly 20 years, Judy was a leader in the trading card industry,” Kaplan said via email to Beckett Media. “Her presence and contributions will be missed.”
Heeter said she was ready for new challenges and cited that and travel (she is based in Kansas City, while MLB’s headquarters is in New York) as reasons for the change.
“It’s been an action-packed 19 years since I first arrived, and much has changed,” Heeter said in a prepared release. “I look forward to the chance to pursue opportunities I haven’t had time to explore. I have informed Don [Fehr] and Mike [Weiner] that I will resign my position effective at the end of this year.”
Donald Fehr, the outgoing Executive Director of the MLBPA, also commented on the news in a prepared release.
“Judy Heeter has been a valued and important member of the staff of the Major League Baseball Players Association for nearly 20 years,” Fehr said. “Her contributions to the development of our licensing program are many and significant. On behalf of myself, and the players, past present and future for whom she worked, I thank her for her outstanding service.”
Michael Weiner, the incoming Executive Director, also commented via the prepared release.
“Judy has aggressively defended player rights in the licensing area,” Weiner said, “and our group licensing program has made great strides during her tenure.”
Heeter joined the MLBPA in November 1990 as outside counsel and then took over with Business Affairs and Licensing in 1991. She previously spent eight years as counsel for Hallmark Cards’ licensing and international divisions.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at email@example.com.