"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Breaking News: MLB Still A Sore Loser

Once again, Marvin Miller has been left out of the Hall of Fame – this time by a single vote.

Pat Gillick got voted in. Nothing against Pat Gillick, who as they say is “a good baseball man,” but he was not one tenth as influential on Major League Baseball as Miller was. And I believe George Steinbrenner should be put  in as well – he didn’t get the votes, this time – but I imagine that he’ll get there at some point in the future; whereas it seems likely, at this point, that Miller never will.

Almost none of my reaction to this is printable (so to speak) on a family blog. It’s just so infuriatingly stupid, or spiteful, or both. I’ll let Miller speak for himself, something he is, as always, more than capable of doing. USA Today quotes from the statement he released:

“The Baseball Hall of Fame’s vote (or non-vote) of December 5, hardly qualifies as a news story. It is repetitively negative, easy to forecast, and therefore boring.

“A long time ago, it became apparent that the Hall sought to bury me long before my time, as a metaphor for burying the union and eradicating its real influence. Its failure is exemplified by the fact that I and the union of players have received far more support, publicity, and appreciation from countless fans, former players, writers, scholars, experts in labor management relations, than if the Hall had not embarked on its futile and fraudulent attempt to rewrite history. It is an amusing anomaly that the Hall of Fame has made me famous by keeping me out.”

Miller has made a point of never groveling or indeed campaigning at all for a place in the Hall of Fame, and he’s not changing course now. And he’s right here: the Hall is a repository of baseball history, but it’s not the only one. Anyone interested in the facts can do a little research and decide for themselves just how important a role Marvin Miller played, and his lack of inclusion in the Hall of Fame takes nothing away from his accomplishments. And for such an anti-establishment figure, maybe that really is more fitting.

Still, I would sure love to have a word with the  committee members who didn’t vote for him. That word wouldn’t be printable, either.


1 Emma Span   ~  Dec 6, 2010 12:36 pm

Okay, I may have come off as a little harsher on Pat Gillick there than I intended. I do think Gillick belongs in the Hall -- I just believe Marvin Miller played a much, much larger role in baseball history.

2 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 6, 2010 12:47 pm

I'm far more annoyed that somehow Bill Veeck and Tom Yawkey are in the Hall of Fame but George Steinbrenner is not

3 MichiganYankee   ~  Dec 6, 2010 12:52 pm

Is that Joe Torre pictured next to Miller?

4 Dimelo   ~  Dec 6, 2010 12:56 pm

[1] No worries, I don't think you were harsh enough. I just find the HOF to be a sham. It's a f'ing museum, if it's about baseball and it has helped shape its history then it/him/her should be in the hall of fame.

It's all BS. I don't really look at the baseball HOF as the shrine most people make it out to be. It is crazy political and their decisions usually don't make much sense.

I still don't get the correlation with Rose being banned from baseball (which I agree with) and him not being inducted into the HOF (I think he should). None of it makes any sense to me, I also think Roger Maris deserves to be in there too.

Is there any one player for all baseball fans born from 1961 on forward whom they all know about? When I kid was wagging my bat like Darryl, I also remember hearing: will this be the year Roger Maris' HR record is broken?

How is that not the definition of famous? HOF=FRAUD.

Marvin Miller's answer is spot on.

5 Dimelo   ~  Dec 6, 2010 12:57 pm

[2] Yeah, sure does look like him. Torre was a big union and Marvin Miller guy. He looks like Wolverine there.

6 Emma Span   ~  Dec 6, 2010 1:00 pm

[3] Oh yes.

7 Emma Span   ~  Dec 6, 2010 1:02 pm

[2] Bill Veeck belongs 100% in the Hall. I love that guy. Veeck as in Wreck is one of my all-time favorite baseball books.

I'm with you on Yawkey, however.

As for The Boss, I think he'll get there before too long (and he deserves to). Whereas Miller has been consistently denied for decades now. And so much of Steinbrenner's story would be very, VERY different without Miller's work...

8 rbj   ~  Dec 6, 2010 1:30 pm

[4] It's because Pete's on the permanently ineligible list, and in 1990 the HoF changed the rule so that those on the PI list were no longer eligible for the Hall. It actually isn't Bud's decision, rather one would have to go back to the HoF and ask them to consider guys who are on the PI list. A lot of Rose's stuff is in the Hall, which is appropriate, it's not that the Hall is ignoring his hit total, just the man himself.

I actually like Pate's exclusion, you should not get to play by different rules simply because you're a great athlete.

9 Dimelo   ~  Dec 6, 2010 1:49 pm

[8] So again, what does PI list have anything to do with the HOF? Absolutely nothing. I know Pete's stuff is in there, he just doesn't have a plaque and that to me is pretty dumb.

10 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 6, 2010 1:57 pm

[1] He's not a blight on the HoF, but when you compare him to the limited number of those elected primarily as front office executive, no, Gillick does not belong. His 27 year career is impressive, but is a .533 winning percentage and three World Series make him worthy of being one of 4-6 "GMS" in the game (depending on how you classify the MacPhails)?

Meanwhile, Miller and Steinbrenner were towering figures of the era. The bottom line is Gillick was a nicer guy.

11 Emma Span   ~  Dec 6, 2010 1:58 pm

The Hall is a bit schizophrenic - there's the plaques that make up the "Hall" itself, and then there's the museum. In the museum, they try to stay true to history and make a point of mentioning segregration, Shoeless Joe, Pete Rose, steroids, etc. The plaques are a different story - crazy political as DiMelo notes.

I agree that it's silly to have a Hall that will, soon, exclude the all-time hits leader, the all-time and single-season home run leader, and one of the greatest pitchers of the modern age (presuming that Bonds and Clemens won't so much as sniff induction for a very very long time). It makes no sense to draw a line in the institution that divides actual history from the way we WANT to see history.

12 Emma Span   ~  Dec 6, 2010 1:59 pm

[10] Can't disagree with you there.

13 rbj   ~  Dec 6, 2010 2:13 pm

[9] You have to take it up with the HoF people. Rule 3E:

E. Any player on Baseball's ineligible list shall not be an eligible candidate.


14 The Mick536   ~  Dec 6, 2010 3:26 pm

Not a bosox fan I, but Yawkey owned the damn team for 44 years and did all he could, like Georgie Porgie to put a winner together. As for Veck, he signed Larry Doby and trained in Arizona to avoid racial prejudice to his players. Both deserve to be in the HoF.

[11] Don't think its crazy political, political, but not crazy. After all, they banned a Tim Robbins movie. But a problem will arise when all the people whom you mentioned become eligible. Not sure of where I come out. Until someone tells me definitively who did what and what effect it had, how can I make a judgment. Not sure if different color plaques work. I am also mindful of the fact we cheered them on during the homer chases.

[11][10] You both be truly great fans and knowledgeable ones. Steiney got to be who he was because of Marvin Miller's work. There would be no Steiney were it not for Miller and that asshole who owned the Oakland A's. Miller is a giant. Steiney is merely an owner, one who should be judged like one. Walter O'Malley did not get in until 2008. Tell me, if you please, would you judge him as more or less of a Titan of the game?

Remember the Brooklyn joke which I may tell because my father was born there and I lived there: If you were in a hotel room with Stalin, Hitler, and O'Malley and only had two bullets, which one would you shoot. O"Malley, twice. Some would say that the same joke could be told about Steiney (remember when he threatened to move the team to NJ?).

15 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 6, 2010 4:11 pm

Bottom line, the HoF to me is an institution; stoic and traditional, and far more often than not inflexible to changing attitudes. Whethert that's a good thing or not is debatable, but what stands out to me is that the HoF does not like to be challenged on anything it holds as fundamental. This is not Valhalla, this is a hall of FAME! If they don't want any confusion or challenges anymore, why not call it the Hall of Honor? That would bring people's view in line with the Hall's self context.

But I guess the "controversy" is good for it because otherwise no one would think of the Hall otherwise, just like with football, basketball and hockey. Hell, I'd probably miss trashing them year after year... No I wouldn't, I wouldn't think once about the Hall.

16 Matt Blankman   ~  Dec 6, 2010 4:58 pm

Let me throw this hand grenade into the discussion - as much as I admire Marvin Miller and agree that he's clearly one of the most influential people in the history of the game, I'm not sure he should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. There's no precedent here. I think I would vote for him, but I could understand an argument that keeps him out beyond just sour grapes from management.

As for Gillick, he's a worthy hall of famer all the way. George should get in eventually, but can someone explain to me why Jacob Ruppert isn't in the Hall of Fame? Let's get him in first. Yawkey being in ahead of Ruppert is a joke.

17 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 6, 2010 11:42 pm

[14] Steinbrenner was well established before Miller really started to make headway. If anything, more liberal owners like Steinbrenner made things easier for Miller because he realized that money could be made by spending it. Once again, your version of history differs greatly from mine.

18 The Mick536   ~  Dec 7, 2010 9:45 am

[17] I only have three Steiney books to rely on, in addition to my personal remembrances, but Steiney had been an utter failure at sports management and/or ownership until the Yankees. People refused to do business with him, because he was a scam artist. Point me in the direction that shows how established he was and where.

Miller became head of the MLBPAA in 1966, several years before Steiney bought the Yankees. If you look at where Steiney was at during that time, he was fixing deals to build or sell boats while destroying the unions on the Lake, ergo his need to make illegal campaign contributions.

Miller had a successful career as the head economist and negotiator for either the Steel workers or the Auto workers, I cannot remember, entering baseball during a period yet to be fully explored or understood, when the stars were getting the big bucks and the also rans were being run over. He changed the face of baseball, evening the playing field, freeing the slaves, so to speak.

Have we forgotten Curt Flood. [2] Veck testified for him, as did Jackie Robinson. Flood left baseball in 1969, a few years before Steiney arrived. When he came back, he wasn't Curt Flood. Steiney took advantage of the favorable decision in his case and then cashed in on the Seitz decision holding the reserve clause unenforceable, a decision that let Steiney sign Messersmith and I forget who else.... Miller was there the whole time. He negotiated the first collective bargaining agreement and got the owners not only to raise the minimum salary, but to agree to arbitration with a more balanced panel.

I'd like to accept your categorization of Steiney as a liberal, but the word, when applied to him, sticks in my throat. Steiney spent money because he didn't have a choice. He needed to put butts in the seats. The years at Shea had been a disaster. The retiring (personality wise) Thurman Munson was not going to lead the Yankees, as Reggie said. He needed straws and pitchers, one of whom he wasted or destroyed (Catfish). That pitcher who is now in the HoF came to the Yankees, I would say, as a result of Miller's work.

Steiney played GM during those years, firing the friends who brought him there and bringing in aging over-the-hill former also rans. He had no choice but to play the game, a game that Miller had created, by paying. Sadly, he mostly paid for schtick drek, except for Dave Winfield, whom he tried to ruin and who went on to lead a Guillick team to a World Series win. And, when his hunches and intuition didn't work, the Yankees went into a funk that lasted until he was suspended for the second time and the baseball people took over.

19 omarcoming   ~  Dec 7, 2010 1:31 pm

Marvin Miller belongs in the HOF when the Grinch gets a Christmas present.

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