December 03, 2007

An embarrassment

Not to equate the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee with the United States Supreme Court, but the 2007 results of the Vet Committee do resemble the result of Bush v. Gore in 2000: Both bodies were stacked against the guy who should have won.

How else does one explain Bowie Kuhn being elected and Marvin Miller being denied? The former Commissioner of Baseball gave us night games during the World Series, fought with Charlie Finley of the As, and had no other discernible impact on the game. Marvin Miller, on the other hand, achieved "more lucrative and revolutionary gains, taking the average salary from $19,000 to $241,000 and pitching a virtual shutout against the owners when he went head-to-head."

The veterans panel has been changed twice since 2001, when charges of cronyism followed the election of glove man Bill Mazeroski. The original 15-member panel was expanded to include every living member of the Hall, but that group failed to elect anyone in three tries.

It was replaced by three separate panels -- one for players, one for managers and umpires and one for executives and pioneers, leaving Miller's fortunes largely in the hands of the same group he once fought in collective bargaining and the courts.

He did not come close, receiving only three of 12 possible votes. Under the previous system, Miller received 63 percent of the votes earlier this year while Kuhn got 17 percent -- a reversal noticed by Miller's successor at the players' union, Donald Fehr.

"Over the entire scope of the last half of the 20th century, no other individual had as much influence on the game of baseball as did Marvin Miller," Fehr said. "Because he was the players' voice, and represented them vigorously, Marvin Miller was the owners' adversary. This time around, a majority of those voting were owner representatives, and results of the vote demonstrate the effect that had.

"The failure to elect Marvin Miller is an unfortunate and regrettable decision. Without question, the Hall of Fame is poorer for it."

Amen, brother.

Murray Chass has more.

Posted by Linkmeister at December 3, 2007 02:52 PM | TrackBack

Considering his staggering string of victories in his tilts with baseball management, Marvin Miller deserves to be in the Hall of Fame on his winning percentage alone. No one in the history of the game changed it more for players than he did. But given the almost pathological hatred of organized labor in this country, his failure to be voted in does not surprise me.

Posted by: Rob_in_Hawaii at December 3, 2007 06:42 PM

Not only that, but I defy anyone to name a single success of Bowie Kuhn's. The one change under his regime that was undeniably his was night World Series games. So, next time you're out East fighting to stay up at 1: 30 in the morning watching a game, or sitting in the stands somewhere on a November night in the frozen Midwest watching baseball -- baseball, for God's sake! -- you can thank Bowie Kuhn.

The Hall disgraced itself yet again by putting Kuhn in and keeping Miller out. Somewhere, Jim Bouton is shaking his head.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Posted by: Peter at December 7, 2007 12:08 PM