Monday, July 28, 2008

Good Read - Baseball's Greatest Scandal ... It Wasn't Steroids

The fact that "Manny gets to be Manny", and a whole bevy of today's other baseball players are tremendously rich fat cats is, to a large degree, possible, due to the efforts of one man.

Marvin Miller.

Peter Dreier and Kelly Candaele have a great post up - "Baseball's Greatest Scandal ... It Wasn't Steroids" (it appeared in The Nation, initially) - that's worth taking a few minutes to read.

Miller became the first director of the baseball players union, and soon, the word "collective bargaining" become as often used as "take me out to the ballgame".

Miller cut the chains and created free agency and every player since the early 1970's has benefited from it, or, at least, has the opportunity to do so.

With the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies yesterday, Miller, again was odd-man-out, being excluded of inclusion, less to do with the odds of such a thing, but more to the efforts of those that control baseball, and the Hall of Fame.

Many high-profile Hall of Fame players agree. Pitching great Tom Seaver said that Miller's exclusion is a "national disgrace." "Whether you agree or disagree, he was one individual who had as large a ramification as anybody on the history of the game," Seaver, a Hall of Famer, told the New York Times a few years ago. "If the Hall of Fame is an historical repository, he deserves to be there."

Hank Aaron wrote that "Miller should be in the Hall of Fame if the players have to break down the doors to get him in."

When he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999, legendary pitcher Nolan Ryan devoted part of his speech to paying tribute to Miller. Ryan reminded the audience that when he broke into the major leagues in 1966, he had to spend the winter months working at a gas station from 3 pm to 9 pm, while he wife worked at a local bookstore, to make ends meet. Because of Miller's efforts, Ryan said, "we brought that level up to where the players weren't put in that situation."

And, for good measure, Red Barber;
In 1992, the Hall of Fame broadcaster Red Barber said, "Marvin Miller, along with Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, is one of the two or three most important men in baseball history."

Check out "Baseball's Greatest Scandal ... It Wasn't Steroids", it's a good read

Bonus Links

Via award, O'Neil forever part of Hall; Inagural O'Neil award given to namesake, accepted by Morgan

Allen Barra: Players Need To Make Stand for Marvin Miller

Hal Bodley: It's time for Marvin Miller to get his Hall of Fame pass

Dave Zirin: Why Curt Flood Belongs in the Hall of Fame; An Interview with Marvin Miller

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