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Marvin Miller for HOF ???

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Boom_70, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    In today's Times Murray Chass starts his annual push to get Marvin Miller elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    His reaoning - free agency and salary increases. I see neither as aiding the game in a positive manner.

    On Baseball
    Moment Is Right for Miller to Move From Ballot to Hall
    The 110-page booklet arrived in the mail the other day. Its list of recipients is an exclusive group, the 84 members of the veterans committee of the Hall of Fame. The booklet contains biographies of 27 former players and the 15 men who appear on the composite ballot — owners, executives, managers and an umpire.

    There is one problem with the booklet’s contents. The man whose biography appears on Page 102 should not be in the booklet or on the ballot. Marvin Miller should have been elected to the Hall of Fame four years ago, when he first appeared on the veterans committee ballot.

    Miller was the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to 1984. That’s the fancy way of saying that he was the players union boss. In that role, Miller did more to influence the game and business of baseball than anyone in history except perhaps for Branch Rickey, who demolished baseball’s color barrier.

    Rickey brought black players into the game, and Miller made them wealthy. Miller did more than that, of course. He made it possible for all players to make a lot of money, and he improved their working conditions.


    Since he assumed command of the union, the minimum salary has risen to $380,000 from $6,000, and the average salary to a little less than $2.7 million from $19,000.

    With his general counsel, Richard Moss, Miller brought free agency to baseball, a development that in the past 30 years has made a tremendous impact on the game.

    Bowie Kuhn, who was the commissioner in Miller’s time, and other nabobs of negativism warned that free agency would ruin baseball, but Commissioner Bud Selig would tell you that industry revenue had risen to a record-high $5.2 billion this year from $1.2 billion in 1992.

    Miller hasn’t led the union in that 14-year period, but the work he did when he did lead it was instrumental in creating this golden age. Remarkably, when the veterans committee voted in 2003, Miller received only 35 of 79 votes, falling 25 short. Miller did a great job educating the players about labor-management matters, but that didn’t mean they were generally intelligent.
  2. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member


    Miller wasn’t alone in falling short. No one was elected by the veterans committee that year or in 2005. The veterans committee, which is made up of Hall of Fame players, writers and broadcasters, votes on former players every two years, and on the composite group every four years.

    Although I am a member of the committee, I do not vote, because The New York Times prohibits its employees from voting for awards of any kind. I can, however, express my opinion, and my opinion is that Marvin Miller should be in the Hall of Fame. Like what he did or not, his impact on the game is irrefutable.

    “Whether you agree or disagree, he was one individual who had as large a ramification as anybody on the history of the game,” Tom Seaver said by telephone from a market near his vineyard in California. “If the Hall of Fame is an historical repository, he deserves to be there.”

    Probably the most inexplicable result in the 2003 voting was that some of the 41 committee members who played during Miller’s tenure didn’t vote for him.

    Only two players acknowledged that they didn’t vote for Miller. Reggie Jackson said the Hall of Fame should be for players only, and Mike Schmidt said, without singling out anyone, that he looked at the ballot and decided not to vote for anyone.

    “The only players I talked to,” Miller said the other day, “were those who said: ‘I don’t understand this. I don’t know why this happened. It’s ridiculous.’ ”

    Miller was not surprised at the outcome, and he won’t be surprised by another negative outcome when the results are announced Feb. 27.

    “It would be nice,” he said, “but when you’re my age, 89 going on 90, questions of mortality have a greater priority than a promised immortality.”

    Whether or not he is elected, Miller said, he could take great satisfaction in what he and the union accomplished.

    “It’s not just that the players’ situation has improved,” he said. “That’s undeniable. But it’s the whole industry. There has been an improvement that affected everybody. Now there are more players, scouts, concessions workers, managers, general managers, club presidents and so on.”

    “I look at that with great satisfaction,” he continued. “That wasn’t my job as I viewed it. My job was to right some wrongs, improve conditions of players, and that was done.”

    He added: “It’s salaries generally, it’s the average, the median, the top salary, any way you want to look at it. I confess: that’s a great source of satisfaction to me. I didn’t do it all, but I played a part. I helped build a structure that has held together.”


    One beneficiary of that development is prepared to vote for Miller. Jackson, who was in the first class of free agents 30 years ago, disclosed that he had changed his thinking.

    “I’ve given more thought to it,” Jackson said Sunday by telephone from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. “I’m just trying to have a broader view and be objective about people who have had a great impact on the game. Their kind of significance merits notice. The people who were influential in the development of the game need credit for that.”

    Does that group include Miller?

    “Marvin Miller absolutely should be included in the Hall of Fame,” Jackson said.
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Boom beat me to posting this by a few minutes.
    There is absolutely no doubt that Marvin Miller belongs in the Hall of Fame.
    No individual has had more of an impact on the game in the past 50+ years than Miller.
    That the players on the veterans committee who were given freedom from the reserve clause and made millionaires by Miller don't vote overwhelmingly for him is a travesty.
  4. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    If you want to talk about player salaries I would argue that George Steinbrenner has has much greater impact on game than Marvin Miller.
  5. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    George Steinbrenner would still be operating with the reserve clause--and probably embracing it--if it wasn't for Marvin Miller. Miller had more impact on baseball than anyone last century, other than Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson, and arguably Babe Ruth.
  6. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    I'm not talking just about player salaries.
    And if it weren't for Marvin Miller and the MLBPA, George Steinbrenner wouldn't be spending $200 million a year on salaries. He'd "own" his players forever, like in the old days before the Curt Flood/Andy Messersmith decisions and could pay them all $50,000 if he wanted to because they'd have no choice.
    I am not of the belief that Steinbrenner has ruined the game with his ridiculous spending, he's merely reinvesting in his club and playing by the rules...rules that would not exist without Marvin Miller.

    Read "The Lords of the Realm" sometime and found out about Miller's real impact.

  7. Nobody on this board would willingly work under the old Reserve System. Miller didn't shatter it alone -- arbiter Peter Seitz helped -- but he created the circumstances for it to fall almost all by himself. Baseball prospered, its idiot propaganda aside, and Miller belongs. And he will never, ever get in. Further proof that HOF voting makes people idiots and that people in our biz shouldn't get anywhere near it/
  8. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    F_B...people in our business have nothing to do with Miller getting it. He's on the veterans committee ballot. The only writers on that committee are the few who are in the Hall of Fame.
  9. ThomsonONE

    ThomsonONE Member

    As a fan, why would I care in the least about player salaries, or the fairness to the players of the reserve clause? I watch the game to see the play on the field. Period. Marvin Miller had a huge impact on the players lives, but is irrelevant to the average fan. No HoF for him.
  10. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    I got here late, but ...

    George Steinbrenner wouldn't have had any impact on the game if it weren't for Marvin Miller. George doesn't get to spend on free agents if Marvin (with a huge, huge assist from Curt Flood) doesn't help bring down the reserve clause.
  11. 1) He has even less chance from the Vets than he does from the writers, I think.
    2) Thom1 -- There's always been a place in the HOF for builders-of-the-game or whatever it's called. Nobody ever saw Branch Rickey or Kenesaw Landis play, either. Doesn't mean they don't belong.
  12. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member


    Because of Marvin Miller, we have 21 pages of a Hot Stove thread on this board, as players get signed and re-signed by other teams. Yes, there were plenty of trades pre-free agency, but there wasn't the full-scale transfer of players that we see today.

    Good or bad, there is no question about Marvin Miller's impact on the game -- and, yes, that impacts the average fan.
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