Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Krup You! (Jealous Ones Envy)
2008-05-22 07:26
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

A few years ago I was heated about something or other concerning the Hall of Fame. I happen to be talking with a noted baseball historian and he just shrugged my complaints off. "This is the institution that elected Tom Yawkey, how can you take them seriously?" Marvin Miller, one of the most important figures in the history of the baseball business, sure doesn't. According to an article by William Rhoden in today's New York Times:

In a letter to the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Miller wrote:

"Paradoxically, I'm writing to thank you and your associates for your part in nominating me for Hall of Fame consideration, and, at the same time, to ask that you not do this again."

Miller added: "The antiunion bias of the powers who control the hall has consistently prevented recognition of the historic significance of the changes to baseball brought about by collective bargaining. As former executive director (retired since 1983) of the players' union that negotiated these changes, I find myself unwilling to contemplate one more rigged veterans committee whose members are handpicked to reach a particular outcome while offering the pretense of a democratic vote. It is an insult to baseball fans, historians, sports writers and especially to those baseball players who sacrificed and brought the game into the 21st century. At the age of 91, I can do without farce."

Miller said he planned to write a separate letter to the Hall of Fame board asking them to withdraw his name from consideration. "I simply want to make sure that they know how I feel," he said. "I don't want to be nominated again. By anybody."

Miller doesn't need the Hall of Fame to be remembered as the Giant that he is. And neither does Buck O'Neil.

2008-05-22 07:48:16
1.   rbj
Let's see: attendance at an all time high? check. Revenue at an all time high? check. Lots of new stadiums (stadia?)? check. Beginnings of a global market (Asian & Latin players)? Check. TV ratings pretty good considering virtually all ratings are down due to increased channels? Check.

Powers That Be still having their heads stuck in past grievances? Sadly, check.

2008-05-22 08:06:52
2.   mehmattski
You'd think that the players on the veteran's committee would remember their strongest advocate and his accomplishments. But I guess that's what Miller means by "rigged," that the players on the committee are anti-union to begin with?
2008-05-22 08:28:00
3.   Alex Belth
Players who are in the Hall, and even many of those who are not in, don't care about Miller even the ones who knew what he did for them. Self-absorbed pinheads. A shame but not a surprise.
2008-05-22 08:37:19
4.   JL25and3
Players are barely represented on that particular branch of the Veterans Committee. From the HOF website, regarding the most recent election (

The 12-member electorate that reviewed the Executives/Pioneers ballot featured Hall of Famers Monte Irvin and Harmon Killebrew; former executives Bobby Brown (American League) and John Harrington (Red Sox); current executives Jerry Bell (Twins), Bill DeWitt (Cardinals), Bill Giles (Phillies), David Glass (Royals) and Andy MacPhail (Orioles); and veteran media members Paul Hagen (Philadelphia Daily News), Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) and Hal McCoy (Dayton Daily News)

2008-05-22 08:40:36
5.   Shaun P
It is asking too much for every player inducted from now on to devote a couple of minutes of their speech to Miller? Thanking him and trumpeting for his induction?

That's the least they could do.

That Bowie Kuhn is going into the HoF, and Marvin Miller is not, boggles my mind.

2008-05-22 08:40:46
6.   Cliff Corcoran
4 And Irvin was on the commissioner's side of things back in the day as one of Kuhn's cronies.
2008-05-22 08:41:36
7.   kylepetterson
I realized it was a joke when I saw multiple voters write "so-and-so is definitely a hall-of-famer, just not a first round hall-of-famer".
2008-05-22 09:03:26
8.   buddaley
I get exercised over HOF elections, but only two decisions have incensed me. They are the snubbing of O'Neill in the mass induction of negro leaguers and the continued absence of Miller from the Hall.

I can abide overlooking Blyleven and Raines or inducting Perez and Mazeroski. There it is a matter of different approaches to players' careers and significance.

But in the case of O'Neill, it was unforgivable that the man who best represented the very essence of the game was overlooked. That the Hall could not come up with a way to honor his stature, by creating a category of "contributions to the game" and naming it after him as the first recipient for example, was narrow and thoughtlessly stupid.

As for Miller, I rank him among the top 5 non-playing influences in baseball history along with Rickey, Cartwright, Chadwick and perhaps Landis, and in his case, the contributions were almost entirely positive and carried out not just to the economic betterment of the game but with high moral purpose as well.

Admitting Kuhn in the same year that Miller is again snubbed is beyond parody.

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