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Sunday, September 28, 2003
Updated: September 29, 6:13 PM ET
Coach attacked at first base gets pink slip

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals have fired Tom Gamboa, the coach attacked last year during a game against the White Sox in Chicago.

Gamboa was dismissed as bullpen coach less than two hours after the Royals' final game of the season.

General manager Allard Baird said Sunday that a replacement would probably be chosen within a few days from within the Royals organization.

"Tom is a good baseball person as you well know, but we felt the need to upgrade in that position," Baird said after a 5-1 home loss to the White Sox closed out the season.

Gamboa did not return calls to his cell phone on Monday.

Gamboa, 55, was hired as the Royals' bullpen coach in October 2000 under then-manager Tony Muser, then spent 2002 as first-base coach before returning to the bullpen this season.

He was coaching first base in a game against the White Sox in Chicago on Sept. 19, 2002, when a father and son ran on the field and attacked him. Gamboa was left with damage to the hearing in his right ear.

One year later, Gamboa filed suit in Cook County, Ill., Circuit Court against the father -- William Ligue Jr. -- as well as the security firm and concessionaire at the Chicago ballpark at the time of the attack. The lawsuit alleges that the concession company served alcohol to Ligue until he became drunk and that the security firm failed to keep him off the field.

Ligue was sentenced last month to 30 months on probation plus community service on two counts of aggravated battery. His teenage son was sentenced to five years' probation and 30 hours of community service.

The Royals led the AL Central by seven games at the All-Star break, but the bullpen didn't perform well enough to maintain the lead. Kansas City finished third, seven games behind Minnesota and three behind Chicago.

The Royals starting rotation was racked by injures, which kept the bullpen in turmoil. The bullpen had a cumulative 5.60 ERA.