- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
- Military group can’t march to honor the fallen at Boston Marathon due to security changes
- Senate passes bills deleting ‘retarded’ from laws
- China announces biggest military hike in 3 years: We are not ‘boy scouts with spears’
Baseball’s former union boss up for Hall
There are few topics in sports that generate more debate than the selections for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. And this year, the debate is centering on one man who never put on a uniform or swung a bat.
A special voting panel will be presented next month with a ballot of 10 executives and pioneers, including Marvin Miller, the former union head who is credited with challenging baseball's reserve clause and thus ushering in the era of free agency in baseball.
Miller is a divisive figure in the game, with many former players singing his praises and executives decrying his hard-line style that led to three strikes and two lockouts from 1972 to 1981.
Miller's worthiness for the Hall had been up for review by a committee made up entirely of former players. He managed to receive more than 60 percent of the vote in 2007. But then his candidacy was placed in the hands of a 12-member panel that included two former players, three writers and seven executives, and Miller did not earn enough votes for entry.
Miller will be on the ballot along with a group that includes former Royals owner Ewing Kauffman, ex-Tigers owner John Fetzer and former National League President Bill White.
The makeup of this latest voting panel is nearly identical to the group that rejected Miller's candidacy in 2007. However, the two former players from the 2007 panel - Harmon Killebrew and Monte Irvin - have been replaced by Robin Roberts and Tom Seaver, who once called Miller's exclusion from the Hall a "national disgrace."
At the very least, Miller has the support of baseball commissioner Bud Selig. In an interview on MLB Network last week, Selig said he favored Miller getting into the Hall while acknowledging that it was not a popular opinion in baseball circles.
"Marvin Miller belongs in the Hall of Fame, if the criteria is what impact you had on the sport, whatever way one wants to value that impact," Selig said. "Yes, Marvin Miller should be in the Hall."
The Hall of Fame offers little specific guidance on how to consider executives, asking voters only to review the candidate's "record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to the game."
It is the issue of contribution that appears to favor Miller. He is credited with helping to boost players' salaries more than tenfold during his tenure, and his work helped set up an economic system that has been enormously beneficial to players without causing too much hardship to teams. But many past executives still hold personal grudges or are simply loath to give credit to a man against whom they battled for nearly a decade.
Miller's exclusion is particularly striking when cast against the inclusion of a host of top baseball executives, including four of the sport's nine commissioners. Last year, the Hall's veteran committee voted in Bowie Kuhn, who was commissioner of baseball when Miller was head of the union.
Miller, for his part, seems uninterested in being inducted, railing against the manner in which veteran players have been elected.
"I find myself unwilling to contemplate one more rigged Veterans Committee whose members are handpicked to reach a particular outcome while offering a pretense of a democratic vote," he told the Boston Globe last year. "It is an insult to baseball fans, historians, sports writers, and especially to those baseball players who sacrificed and brought the game into the 21st century. At the age of 91, I can do without farce."
About the Author
Tim Lemke has been the sports business reporter for The Washington Times since 2005, writing on a wide variety of issues ranging from the construction of the Washington Nationals new ballpark to steroid hearings on Capitol Hill. He writes a weekly column titled “SportsBiz” and maintains a blog with the same name. Highlights of his career include playing some very ...
- First Down: Best weekend bets
- SportsBiz: What the next decade holds
- Shifting sands for NCAA
- Monumental sports year will connect fans on a global scale
- SportsBiz: Selling a new career
Latest Blog Entries
By Tammy Bruce
- Back to the Future: HUVr Tech marketing video goes viral with hoverboard release tease
- Aronofsky's 'Noah' banned in Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- Russian lawmaker wants to outlaw U.S. dollar, calls it a Ponzi scheme
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- Two liberals say Sarah Palin is right: Obama lacks substance
- MSNBC's Rachel Maddow: Bush to blame for Ukraine
- 1M kids stop school lunch due to Michelle Obamas food standards
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again