Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Marvin Miller (1917-2012)

For years, Major League Baseball operated under a different system that bound players to their teams, leaving the players with little or no say as to their contract status.

In 1966, Marvin Miller, a labor economist who'd worked with some labor unions, such as the United Auto Workers (UAW), was elected as the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). It was Miller who negotiated baseball's first collective bargaining agreement in 1968. Because it was a labor union, after all, inevitably, the players went on strike three times, and were locked out twice, under Miller's watch (1966-82). In between, Miller opened the doorway to free agency and arbitration, leading to the steadily increasing salaries today's owners are still dealing with. In short, if you've got a beef with today's players adopting a vagabond, mercenary mentality, changing teams on a seemingly annual basis, well, Miller would get the lion's share of the blame.

Miller passed away on Tuesday at 95, long since retired from his involvement with baseball, and has been denied entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, despite endorsements from Commissioner Allan "Bud" Selig all the way down to current players. Miller won't be eligible until the class of 2014 after his last bid failed, and it'll be every three years going forward. It is believed that the pool of current & former team executives on the Veterans' Committee denied Miller induction out of spite because of what his efforts had done to them in an adverse manner. Because he made as much of an impact on the game to this day as any player, manager, or executive of that same era, Miller should finally be allowed his place.

Rest in peace.

No comments: