Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Someone needs to explain this to me.

The Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee failed to elect anyone to the Hall of Fame. The results were announced today. Now I can live with that on the players side. You can certainly argue that guys like Ron Santo, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva and Luis Tiant should be in the Hall, especially given that some comparable players are in there. However, most of the players have already been through as many as 15 elections by the baseball writers. If they weren't elected then, it doesn't seem that the Veterans Committee should be overriding that decision without a very good reason.

However, they didn't elect anyone from the "composite ballot" either. This ballot is made up of umpires, executives, managers and others. The most glaring oversight, to me, is the fact that Marvin Miller was not elected. He got 51 votes, 10 short of the number needed for election.

Is there any question that Miller, as head of the MLB Players Association, has had as great an impact on Major League Baseball as anyone in the past 50 years? Miller took the MLBPA from basically a house union mostly concerned with protecting the players pension fund to a group that had an average player salary of more than $2.6 million as of 2005. By comparison, the average player salary was less than $30,000 in 1970.

Miller had a great role in ending the reserve clause and in the establisment of the current free agency and arbitration systems. The current economic success of the players can be traced to his leadership.

What really amazes me is that 61 of the 84 members of the Veterans Committee are the living Hall of Famers except for Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken. The majority of them (certainly any players elected in the last 20 years or so) benefitted greatly from Miller's leadership of the Players Association.

Unfortunately, the next Veterans Committee election for non-players isn't for four years. Hopefully, that group is more aware of the revolutionary role Marvin Miller played in the development of the game as we know it.


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