Posts Tagged ‘Marvin Miller’

RIP Marvin Miller

November 27, 2012

Marvin Miller as union head

ESPN just posted that Marvin Miller, architect of the MLBPA died. He was controversial and apparently a bit of a jerk, but he ushered in the era of free agency and finally got players a bigger cut of the pie. He also led the union in striking. Now we’ll see how much his Hall of Fame chances are boosted. Apparently, some people didn’t mind him in the Hall, they simply didn’t want him to be around to accept the honor.

Anyway, RIP, Marvin Miller, you changed the game forever both for good and for bad.

The Next Hall of Fame Vote

November 15, 2010

The Hall of Fame

Well, the new Hall of fame ballot for the Veteran’s committee is out. Here’s the list: Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons, and Rusty Staub as players. Billy Martin is the only manager listed. Pat Gillick, Marvin Miller, and George Steinbrenner are the executives on the ballot.

This is the “Expansion Era” list. It includes players from 1973 through 1989 and owners, managers, execs, etc from 1972 through the present. There are some other qualifications that make guys like Joe Torre ineligible for now, but those are the key dates for people being considered this time. They’ve created three Veteran’s Committees now: this one and two others. The others are the “Segregation Era” which runs from 1871 through 1946 and the “Golden Era” which is 1946 through 1972. Remember you heard that here first. And it’s interesting that the National Association isn’t a major league, but by making the first period begin in 1871, it seems the players in the Association can be considered. I find that a bit of a strange coupling. 

Apparently the three committees meet in rotation one a year. So any one on this current list will be available for consideration again in 2013. The committee consists of eight current Hall of Famers, four executives, and four writers. Unlike the writer’s ballot, which restricts a member from voting for more than 10 players, the committee can vote for any number of people they deem worthy of the Hall.

It’s an interesting list this time, with no player that is a certainty. I will point out that Johnny Bench, Bill Giles, Tony Perez, and Frank Robinson are all on the committee. This makes four members with close Cincinnati ties, which could be good for Concepcion. I don’t have any idea who they’ll pick.

But of course I can’t leave it at that. What fun would that be? I’ve got to tell you who I would vote for if I were a member of the committee. 

I’d vote for George Steinbrenner. I never liked his act, but his importance to the game is significant enough that I think he deserves a nod. I do wish that Colonel Ruppert would get a try, but that is apparently the job of the “Segregation Era” committee. You gotta admit that Steinbrenner, love him or hate him, put his stamp on the game.

The second person I’d vote for is Marvin Miller. Again I guy I don’t particularly like but whose influence on the game is great. Maybe the Player’s Union makes a strike more likely. Maybe free agency makes the movement of players more likely so that you never get a chance to fall in love with a favorite player on your team (but then a lot of really good players have been traded). Maybe it led to “rent a player”, but it led also to player emancipation and salaries that made the Black Sox scandal almost impossible. For all those good and bad things, we owe Marvin Miller. Few non-players ever had a greater effect on the game.

The only player I’m sure I’d vote for is Ted Simmons. I think he is terribly underrated. He wasn’t Johnny Bench behind the plate, and being a contemporary of Bench certainly hurt him, but he was a heck of a hitter and wasn’t a bad catcher. His SABR numbers are a lot better than his traditional numbers, which may hurt him with the committee, but he’d get my vote. There are others like Concepcion, Garvey, Blue, and John that I could be talked into if someone had a persuading argument, but can’t see voting for them just on my own reading of the information. I suppose, in fact, that I might be talked into voting for most of the list, that’s how close together they are.

There’s one other name I’d like to see  considered for the list, Dr. Frank Jobe. He invented “Tommy John surgery.” Considering how many players careers he has changed an argument could be made for giving him a slot in Cooperstown. Consider that, to use simply one 2010 example, Liriano led the Twins to a division title this season. Without Jobe’s pioneering work, Liriano doesn’t pitch and the Twins probably don’t win. There’s a lot of players like that, including Tommy John, of course. I don’t know that Jobe should be in Cooperstown, but I’d like to see his merits debated by both the committee and the public in general.

And finally, when the “Segregation Era” and the “Golden Era” vote comes up in the next two years, I’d like to see a couple of ladies from the 1940s girls league given consideration. I know there’s an exhibit on them, but it isn’t the same thing as being elected. There are a handful of them still with us and if they’re going to be enshrined, it needs to be quickly. Again, I’m not certain any of them should be elected, but I’d like to see the issue debated by fans and the Veteran’s Committee. It could be interesting.

New Hall of Fame Members

December 7, 2009

So the Veteran’s Committee just fnished its job, did it? As usual they bungled badly.

Doug Harvey, umpire–No problems with him in the Hall. I remember when the Game of the Week had a special segment where Harvey explained rules and how umpires did things. He’s the first place I heard that umps listen for the ball hitting the mitt while watching the feet to determine a close play at first. Everyone seemed to think he was a superior umpire, so good for him.

Whitey Herzog, manager–Won once (1982) and took a bunch of teams to the playoffs and World Series. When confronted with a World Series record of 1-2 he commented he’d rather be 1-2 than 0-0. I always liked that.

So no problem with who got in. The problem is who didn’t. Where’s Tom Kelly who won more World Series than Herzog? In point of fact, Kelly’s Twins actually beat Herzog’s Cardinals in 1987 for one of Kelly’s wins and one of Herzog’s losses. As usual no respect for Kelly.

Where’s Danny Murtaugh who also won 2 World Series? His managership coincided with the rise of the Pirates in both 1960 and the early 1970s. In between he was in retirement and the Pirates were awful.

Where’s Ewing Kauffmann who made the Royals relevant, and incidently gave Herzog his big break?

Finally, why not Marvin Miller?

Well, vet’s committee, let’s hear it.

Upcoming Hall of Fame voting

November 25, 2009

In a couple of weeks the veteran’s committee will set down to vote on the latest Hall of Fame list. On that list will be a number of managers, umpires, and contributers who a panel of experts has deemed worthy of consideration. One of those names is Marvin Miller’s.

For years Miller was head of the player’s union. There seems to be a belief that he is a jerk. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. I don’t know the man. What I do know is that he is the most significant non-player in recent baseball history. His leadership of the player’s union led to a number of changes in baseball, some good, some not so good. You hated the strikes, blame Miller (and a lot of other people too). You think salaries are inflated, blame Miller (and a lot of other people too). You like free agency and giving ball players a little freedom to move around and maybe make a team a little more competative, praise Miller.

You see that’s the problem with Miller. He’s done things that make the fans furious, but he’s also made it possible for teams to pick up quality players they might not otherwise get. Yes, he’s had a lot of help in both those things, from owners who are Neanderthals and owners who are enlightened, players who think of themselves and players who think of the good of the game. Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? I certainly think so. Is he going to be elected? Don’t bet the farm on it.