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Baseball player agent taps into lawyering background

You might ask why a tough criminal lawyer would change his career in mid-stream to become a Major League Baseball Players Association certified agent, with four clients presently on the rosters of major league teams.

In addition, the lawyer-turned-agent has been eagerly donating several hours a day to coaching and administering two local baseball teams that consist of 10-year-old and 12-year-old boys.

The answer is easy, once you get to know Marc Kligman, a 44-year-old baseball addict who lives in Desert Shores.

“Baseball has always been my passion. And I love the law,” he said. “I also felt that being actively involved in baseball at some point in my life, such as becoming a player agent, would become a good fit.”

Indeed it has become a good fit. In addition to his major league clients, Kligman also represents more than 12 players on minor league rosters. And he spends the rest of his free time working with 21 youngsters, including his two sons, who play on the two club teams that he established after moving to Las Vegas from California last year.

Kligman explained that he has yearned to be involved in professional baseball since his early years, growing up in Stamford, Conn. He attended Johns Hopkins University and went on to Tulane Law School, where “I got bitten by the courtroom argument bug.” That’s when he decided to become a criminal trial lawyer.

But it was during the three years he worked in the San Diego County public defender’s office as a criminal trial lawyer that Kligman turned to his obsession for baseball and formed his player agency, Total Care Sports Management. At first he devoted his free time to being a player agent, then all of his time.

“The connection from criminal defense lawyer to baseball player agent is easy enough. Both involve the art of negotiation, making it a natural for me,” Kligman said.

For example, he explained that working out a plea deal, which is so much a part of criminal lawyering, and arguing on behalf of his client’s best interest while discussing a player’s contract with a ballclub involve the art of negotiation.

That’s how Kligman was able to convince the Philadelphia Phillies last November that its all-star catcher, Carlos Ruiz, deserved a three-year contract worth $26 million. Troy Renck, a respected sportswriter for the Denver Post, subsequently tweeted that Kligman’s role in negotiating the Ruiz contract involved “good work by the agent.”

But his responsibilities to his player client don’t end once he has negotiated the deal. In fact, a multitude of financially related responsibilities first begin, he noted. That includes tasks such as marketing the player for commercial endorsements and even handling his taxes, right down to helping him shop for a new car.

Kligman also represents Miami Marlins first baseman Justin Bour, Colorado Rockies pitcher Rob Scahill and San Francisco Giants pitcher Chris Heston.

It’s on the sandlot diamonds in and around Summerlin, however, that Kligman gets to exercise his baseball obsession, firsthand.

“I have a newly formed nonprofit organization called Kligman Baseball,” he said, explaining that the entity was established for the express purpose of dealing with his two club teams.

Team Majestic is for 12-year-olds, and the Bomb Squad is for 10-year-olds. He said both are independent club teams, made up of kids who in some cases also play on Little League teams. Club ball is made up of boys who play at a somewhat higher level than Little League and are principally involved in tournament competition.

Kligman has a more personal reason for spending half his time year-round as coach and administrator of the two teams.

“My son Elie plays for Team Majestic, and my other son, Ari, plays for the Bomb Squad,” he said, adding that his wife Leah and daughter Tova enjoy attending their games.

The teams travel to other states to participate in tournaments. Kligman said that last year Team Majestic traveled as far east as Kentucky.

“Being a nonprofit organization makes it all possible,” he said. “It enables us to raise funds to help our kids travel, kids who wouldn’t otherwise have the financial means to experience this level of play.”

Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. His most recent novel, “Double Play,” is now available. Contact him at hjaffe@cox.net.

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