I have said my piece on this before, but already feel the need to speak up again since the media is actually spending even more time and space about Marvin Miller, as if there were any reasons in the first place that Miller and the Baseball Hall of Fame should even be in the same sentence. Today (12/6) Miller again failed to receive enough votes for the Hall. That this was even a possibility is sad.
Marvin Miller never played, coached, or managed in the big leagues. He never owned even a portion of a team. He was not an executive for a major league teams, nor a broadcaster. You know, those prerequisites for everyone else in the Hall. There were 25 players on the roster for each team during most of the season, and 40 on the roster at other times. Never, not even during the war years, did teams ever have to scramble to fill space on the rosters.
Deserving players in the Hall of Fame such as Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio played long and amazing careers, mostly for one team, and did not leave baseball with fewer than 10 major league seasons completed. No one forced these guys to continue at the sport they clearly excelled in. Some of the accomplishments of just these 2 players (hitting .400 for an entire season, 56 game hitting streak) have still not happened since they did it, and they did it mostly with almost half of the number of teams in the big leagues today. In other words, against much tougher competition on a daily basis.
Baseball had already begun its expansion process in 1961, which was before Marvin Miller came to baseball.
Since Marvin Miller came to baseball, there are still 25 or 40 men on each team’s roster. Due to further expansion, pitchers and hitters are facing comparatively weaker competition than the Hall of Famers inducted during and prior to the 1960’s did. Yet, we have only had one real threat to a batter hitting .400 in the past 50 years. Not one pitcher has won 30 games in one season in more than 40 years. While we have had some single season home run records set, those are tainted in the minds of many because of steroids because neither the players union nor management took action against when it would have made a difference.
Still digging, but I yet to see a Marvin Miller “accomplishment” that would enable ‘Hall of Fame’ to be included in the conversation.
Sure, Miller had a huge influence on baseball, and the entire pro sports world for that matter, as well as sports fans and non-fans. His helping to sever the ties between players and teams after only 4 years took away the incentive for teams to spend to more thoroughly scout, coach, and develop players and their all-around skill levels. There is no more “rebuilding” years since teams now can try and buy their way out of a poor minor league system.
The fans are now priced out of going to games on a regular basis. Season tickets are now mostly corporations and businesses, or individuals sharing tickets to go to a few games each year because that is all they can afford. Kids can no longer go by themselves (2 or more friends) to a summer day or night at the ball park, buy a general admission ticket, and form the love for their team and its players for a couple of bucks out of their allowance. Not only have ticket prices skyrocketed, but fans are also gouged for parking and concessions, and maybe for binoculars having to sit hundreds of feet further away from the field so that executive suites can be below them.
Those who are not even sports fans are paying outrageous fees for their cable or satellite TV each month because of the regional and national sports networks having to pay millions of dollars for TV rights to the games, only to force consumers into helping to pay these costs each month.
These prices are in place so that a backup catcher can make over one million dollars for next season alone, even if he only plays in 20 games.
So those of you who honestly believe that Marvin Miller deserves to be recognized should contact the Players Association and have the millionaires Miller created at the fans’ and non-fans expense build him a shrine, and leave the Hall of Fame to the deserving baseball players, managers, owners, and broadcasters.
I’m not done yet. It kills me that some of the same people who think Marvin Miller should be honored are not complaining because George Steinbrenner also did not make it to the Hall of Fame. Even though Steinbrenner was an owner (and therefore a true baseball person), it seems to me he and Marvin Miller did exactly the same for the players and their financial windfalls. How are these two any different?