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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

NY Times: Murray Chass: As Miller Is Kept Out, His Fame Only Grows

If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

For the sixth time in 10 years, Marvin Miller was not elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday. Depending on your rooting interest, that is bad news or good news.

It is bad news for those who think the Hall of Fame is the proper place for a person who is widely considered one of three or four men who have had the greatest impact on baseball history. Another of the three is Babe Ruth, and the third is Jackie Robinson or, as I believe, Branch Rickey, although those two men are obviously linked in their successful effort to break baseball’s color barrier.

As for Miller, the founding executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, he led his constituents to the land of rights and riches. In so doing, he helped create a system that has also enriched the owners. With annual revenue in the industry now at $8.5 billion, even the sport’s commissioner, Bud Selig has stated that Miller, who died in November 2012, belongs in Cooperstown.

Not that Selig’s endorsement has done any good. Tired of the Hall’s continued snubs — he called the voting rigged — Miller in 2007 requested that his name no longer be placed on the ballot. [...]

Murray Chass, a retired baseball reporter and columnist for The New York Times, continues to write baseball columns at murraychass.com.

 

bobm Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:08 AM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, marvin miller

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   1. donlock Posted: December 11, 2013 at 11:47 AM (#4615839)
Actually, it would seem that as Miller is not going in the HOF, his fame will recede. This has been the pattern for many of the HOF would-bes. In fact, isn't that the reason Chass and others want him in the Hall -to insure his memory stays bright?
   2. Captain Supporter Posted: December 11, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4615886)
Miller is not going into the hall of fame at least in part because he stubbornly and adamantly opposed efforts to control the use of steroids, despite the fact that the union members made it clear that they did not want to compete against cheaters.
   3. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4615900)
#2 is a assertion I have seen before and still don't believe it. Even a little.
   4. Bob Tufts Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4615912)
Miller opposed the drug testing programs proposed by MLB after 1990 for numeorus reasons.

One - Trust. After collusion and other anticompetitive and illegal acts by MLB from 1981 to 1994-95, there was no way to trust ownership.

Two - Been there, did that but MLB said no. They already had a plan in the wake of the cocaine scandal. It took awhile to put toghether, but included probable cuase testing and many of the items that were used in the wake of the steroid kerfullfe. But, MLB in the person of Peter Ueberroth abrograted the agreement and tried to get a sterner one instituted after only a few years.

Three - Fourth amendment. Miller as a trade unionist and liberal viewed the testing of blood and urine as a violation of a person's privacy done in ordser to prove their innocence.

Four - Privacy. As we have seen, drug tests results - even for an EAP type program - do not stay out of the public domain.


The union listened to Miller's concerns regarding testing, but unlike the Dick Young sprea dimage of players, he did not brainwash them - they did what they felt was right with an understanding of law and industry rules.
   5. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4615927)
Four - Privacy. As we have seen, drug tests results - even for an EAP type program - do not stay out of the public domain.


Anyone who feared MLB would not keep test results secret has been proven so very right the last decade or so.
   6. dlf Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4615928)
In addition to the legitimate points raised by Bob in #4 above, an additional point is that Miller's tenure as Exec Director of MLBPA ended in 1982. While he remained a man of some import for years, by the time steroids were first becoming a public issue, his involvement was tangential at best.
   7. Boxkutter Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4615931)
For the sixth time in 10 years, Marvin Miller was not elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday


So does that mean he made it the other four?
   8. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4615947)
So does that mean he made it the other four?


Right now he is hitting .400 and if he keeps this up he will win a batting title.
   9. susan mullen Posted: December 11, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4615987)
4/24/2008, AP report, changes to HOF Vets committee mean Miller will never be elected, per Donald Fehr:"(Donald) Fehr said changes in the format of the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee made it a "foregone conclusion that Marvin Miller would never be elected." Miller, the former union leader whose strategies helped create free agency and multimillion-dollar salaries, received 51 of 81 (63 percent) in early 2007, falling 10 votes shy of the needed 75 percent. Miller got just three of 12 votes in December. "It makes me sort of very sad," Fehr said." (item at end of article)
   10. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 11, 2013 at 02:32 PM (#4616002)
4/24/2008, AP report, changes to HOF Vets committee mean Miller will never be elected, per Donald Fehr:"(Donald) Fehr said changes in the format of the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee made it a "foregone conclusion that Marvin Miller would never be elected." Miller, the former union leader whose strategies helped create free agency and multimillion-dollar salaries, received 51 of 81 (63 percent) in early 2007, falling 10 votes shy of the needed 75 percent. Miller got just three of 12 votes in December. "It makes me sort of very sad," Fehr said." (item at end of article)


This conveniently ignores the 2011 election, when Miller came up one vote short, closer than he had under the previous system. The ballot had three unanimous choices this time around, which kept support down for everyone else. I see no reason to think it's a foregone conclusion Miller will be permanently kept out, particularly with Bud's support.
   11. dlf Posted: December 11, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4616007)
4/24/2008, AP report, ...


This conveniently ignores the 2011 election,


Damn them for not using the flux capacitor to its fullest capabilities.
   12. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 11, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4616014)
Miller is not going into the hall of fame at least in part because he stubbornly and adamantly opposed efforts to control the use of steroids, despite the fact that the union members made it clear that they did not want to compete against cheaters.


Huh? Miller was out as executive director almost two decades before steroids became an issue.
   13. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 11, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4616033)
Damn them for not using the flux capacitor to its fullest capabilities.


I was referring to Susan's post, which notes the AP story and Fehr's quotes, then skips ahead to the just-completed election (see "Miller got just three of 12 votes in December"). She didn't need any fancy time machine capabilities for a more accurate assessment.

   14. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 11, 2013 at 03:13 PM (#4616053)
Huh? Miller was out as executive director almost two decades before steroids became an issue.



When steroids is your only issue, every issue is a steroids issue.

Why did the Yankees ship Babe Ruth back to Boston? Steroids.

What caused the 1964 Phillies collapse? Ran out of Steroids.

Why is Pete Rose not in the HOF? Steroids dealers.

What happened to the 1993 Phillies? Closer ran out of Steroids.

Steroids destroyed baseball by giving it some of it's most amazing and memorable seasons and records. Now all that is left is the brown grass slowly dying in those empty stadiums, abandoned oh these many years.
   15. Ron J2 Posted: December 11, 2013 at 04:10 PM (#4616117)
#12 But he did make it clear that he opposed the agreement Fehr eventually negotiated (for the reasons Bob laid out) and certainly the way he dealt with Ken Moffett had to make Fehr leery. In a very real sense Fehr owed his position to the fact that Miller opposed Moffett's seemingly being open to drug testing (granted the focus at the time was recreational drugs)
   16. deputydrew Posted: December 11, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4616128)
Here's a pitch for everyone to read Lords of the Realm. One of the two best baseball books I've read (tied with Veeck as in Wreck). It's fantastic and is a must-read for anyone who wants to be knowledgeable about the history of baseball's labor relations.
   17. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 11, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4616173)
Steroids destroyed baseball by giving it some of it's most amazing and memorable seasons and records. Now all that is left is the brown grass slowly dying in those empty stadiums, abandoned oh these many years.

Do you really want to go through the list of things that have entertained and titillated the masses over the centuries?
   18. Bob Tufts Posted: December 11, 2013 at 05:28 PM (#4616203)
DeputyDrew;

Agreed.

My Miller course book list:

The Lords of the Realm, John Helyar.
A Whole Different Ballgame, Marvin Miller.
The End of Baseball As We Knew It: The Player’s Union, 1960-81, Charles Korr.
Labor in America: A History, Melvyn Dubofsky and Foster Rhea Dulles.

Synder's Fllod book is also worthwhile.
   19. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: December 11, 2013 at 05:31 PM (#4616206)
Here's a pitch for everyone to read Lords of the Realm. One of the two best baseball books I've read (tied with Veeck as in Wreck). It's fantastic and is a must-read for anyone who wants to be knowledgeable about the history of baseball's labor relations.


Good grief. Yet another one I've owned for years & years & haven't ever gotten around to.

*sigh*
   20. bjhanke Posted: December 11, 2013 at 05:41 PM (#4616216)
As McGwire, Bonds and Clemens are kept out, their fame only grows. And there are, and will be, others, including people like Ted Simmons whose problem isn't even PEDs. Whenever you keep someone out whose accomplishments on the field were well above the in/out line, their fame will grow. It may take a while, but it will grow. Even Pete Rose, who went over the line you HAVE to enforce (gambling) is much more famous now than he would be if he had been elected to the HoF. Joe Jackson is much more famous than Ed Delahanty.

I'm glad we have Bob Tufts here.... - Brock Hanke
   21. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 11, 2013 at 06:10 PM (#4616230)
marvin miller belongs in the hall of fame. it's not complicated
   22. Steve Treder Posted: December 11, 2013 at 06:14 PM (#4616237)
Yet another one I've owned for years & years & haven't ever gotten around to.

Get around to it. That is a truly great book.
   23. LargeBill Posted: December 11, 2013 at 07:49 PM (#4616317)
# 21 have to disagree. He was never a part of baseball. He was merely a negotiated that was involved in changing the manner in which revenues were divided. Have a display in the HoF museum that details the labor struggles, but don't enshrine a guy who was never part of baseball. It would make more sense to identify and enshrine the best beer vendors.
   24. Steve Treder Posted: December 11, 2013 at 07:52 PM (#4616322)
He was never a part of baseball.

If that's the case, then neither are any other executives (owner or GM) a part of baseball.
   25. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 11, 2013 at 07:54 PM (#4616324)
If that's the case, then neither are any other executives (owner or GM) a part of baseball.


But Chadwick gets to stay. Excellent.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: December 12, 2013 at 12:32 AM (#4616425)
It would make more sense to identify and enshrine the best beer vendors.

No way! Modern beer vendors can't even make it past the 7th inning.
   27. Steve Treder Posted: December 12, 2013 at 12:52 AM (#4616431)
No way! Modern beer vendors can't even make it past the 7th inning.

You've noticed that too? What's the deal?!?
   28. Sunday silence Posted: December 12, 2013 at 01:34 AM (#4616443)
Given that all or most of the major sports have some sort of free agency; how exactly do you make the case for Miller? Is what he did unique or something that no one else could have done?

*****

I dont know how you come to the conclusion that Joe Jackson and Pete Rose being kept out of the HoF are some sort of analogy for Miller's fame? For one thing, during their heyday Joe Jackson was about as equally famous as Ty Cobb. His ban from baseball has made him some sort of footnote but it hasnt made him more famous than he already was. And what's the pt. of citing Ed Delahanty? Anyone can cite an obscure HoF'er. How about Addie Joss? I guess that proves what exactly? What about Dom MiMaggio? How's his fame growing? Or George Grantham? Or Ron Cey? Think his fame is growing? Steve Garvey's seems to be growing. Is it because of his HoF snub?

Fame is a very complicated matter; you just cant simplify like you've done.
   29. bobm Posted: December 12, 2013 at 02:26 AM (#4616464)
Given that all or most of the major sports have some sort of free agency; how exactly do you make the case for Miller? Is what he did unique or something that no one else could have done?

As an innovator?

Free agency introduced in US pro sports

League Year
   MLB 1976
   NFL 1992
   NHL 1995
   NBA 1996 

   30. Sunday silence Posted: December 12, 2013 at 02:48 AM (#4616467)
OK so he got baseball into free agency 15 years early. I still dont think he's the only guy who could have that. done He wasnt alone in doing that in any event. And, is 15 years of "bonus" free agency, some sort of landmark achievement?
   31. Bob Tufts Posted: December 12, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4616770)
Given that all or most of the major sports have some sort of free agency; how exactly do you make the case for Miller? Is what he did unique or something that no one else could have done?


Given that all or most sports have integrated, how exactly do you make the case for Jackie Robinson? Is what he did unique or something that no one could have (eventually) done?

Anyone that knows their baseball history would acknowledge that Miller's string of victories (hmmm...Jack Morris and wins. perhaps Miller had the most "wins" in the 70's and in World Series like situations?) over MLB with regard to union-management interaction was as or more impressive as Robinson's arrival in MLB and his career.
   32. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4616788)
Yes, players had been trying to no avail to organized so it would matter for decades, and players had been trying to get free agency for just as long with the same result, and the guy who got that for them is pooh-poohed as insignificant? Anyone's accomplishments can be denigrated in that fashion. Hey, someone else could have led the Allied Forces in WWII, and he may have been just as effective, so why did we make so much of this guy Eisenhower. Because he actually did it, to great success. How about that guy Jesus--I mean, someone else could have been the son of god....
   33. Jeltzandini Posted: December 12, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4616797)
His ban from baseball has made him some sort of footnote but it hasnt made him more famous than he already was.


He's definitely way more famous now than he otherwise would be, if he had played out his HOF career normally. Tris Speaker is a contemporary who basically lived that path. Probably ten times more people today can identify Shoeless Joe Jackson than can identify Tris Speaker.
   34. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 12, 2013 at 02:35 PM (#4616821)
He's definitely way more famous now than he otherwise would be, if he had played out his HOF career normally. Tris Speaker is a contemporary who basically lived that path. Probably ten times more people today can identify Shoeless Joe Jackson than can identify Tris Speaker.


But was it the ban from the Hall, the ban from the game, or throwing the World Series that added to his fame? I don't think he'd be significantly more or less famous had he been permanently banned from MLB but still elected to the Hall of Fame.
   35. Jeltzandini Posted: December 12, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4616863)
But was it the ban from the Hall, the ban from the game, or throwing the World Series that added to his fame? I don't think he'd be significantly more or less famous had he been permanently banned from MLB but still elected to the Hall of Fame.


Well, who knows. It's all part of a package of official unpersonness/martyrdom. Some part of his current fame is that some people view him as a cause, and others argue against the cause. If he'd been in the HOF, there would be no cause.
   36. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 12, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4616877)
Well, who knows.


That's the point. My guess is the Hall aspect (other than the precedent-setting part of it), is rather a small portion of where he rings on the fame meter now. Comparing him to Speaker and saying the more famous one isn't in the Hall isn't a very fair test, because Joe committed one of the most noteworthy acts in baseball history.

A Joe Jackson who didn't throw the World Series and instead got quietly elected to the Hall is indeed less famous today, but that's not really germane to the point Brock was making in 20.



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