Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Marvin Miller for the Hall of Fame
I remember the news reports as a kid where Bowie Kuhn was at war with Marvin Miller. As a gradeshooler and then a teen, I really didn't understand the arguments or appreciate the strategy that was being played out on the national scene about the national past time. All I cared about was if the Atlanta Braves could manage to find a way to win a 3 game series before figuring out new ways to lose. That was the 1970s, of course.
Now, I see the genius of Miller; the down right ornery behavior of Bowie Kuhn; and I've managed to see the Atlanta Braves become a baseball powerhouse, win a World Series, and entertain my kids, my father and the entire Southeast.
All thanks to the tenacity of Marvin Miller.
Miller forced the business of baseball to treat the players fairly, decently and with some respect. Sure, we've got jerks in the game and we all like to focus on the cry-babies. But what the owners/MLB was doing to players would not be tolerated in any other occupation, save a plantation/slave relationship.
The modern game of baseball is what it is because of Miller. No one else has impacted the game like him. No one. Period. No, he wasn't a 20 game winner for six seasons. He wasn't in the 40-40 Club. He never did anything on the field. But what he did behind the scenes, in the board room and at the negotiating table made baseball a more fair and honest business for the players.
No one likes the strikes. No one likes the seemingly ginormous salaries for playing a game. But major and minor league baseball is not a game. It is a business. It's a business that is worth more than the Gross Domestic Product of entire nations. And were it not for Marvin Miller, the worth of baseball would still be in the hands of a few, exploiting the natural athletic abilities of the most talented players, e.g., employees.
We all recognize there are problems in baseball. Then again, there are problems in any business or any organization. However, let's not punish Miller for the antics of the few or the inefficiencies of the beast.
Miller brought a bit of parity to baseball. Let's not penalize his accomplishments because we don't like what the business has become. Frankly, the business was worse before Miller --- we just didn't see it while it was hidden behind secrecy in the hands of a few owners.
Mr. Miller, you deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.