How many times will the Baseball Hall of Fame fail? This week they voted in Pat Gillick, who was the GM for Toronto, Baltimore, Seattle, and Philadelphia, but not Marvin Miller, who led the players union to free agency and made its members rich. Miller lost by one vote. It was the fifth time he was not elected. Miller, never at a loss for words, did not take the results quietly:
Many years ago those who control the Hall decided to rewrite history instead of recording it. The aim was to eradicate the history of the tremendous impact of the players' union on the progress and development of the game as a competitive sport, as entertainment and as an industry. The union was the moving force in bringing Major League Baseball from the 19th century to the 21st century. It brought about expansion of the game to cities that had never had a Major League team. It brought about more than a 50 percent increase in the number of people employed as players, coaches, trainers, managers, club presidents, attorneys and other support personnel, employees of concessionaires, stadium maintenance personnel, parking lot attendants, and more. It converted a salary structure from one with a $6,000 a year minimum salary to a $414,000 a year salary from the first day of a player's Major League service. The union was also the moving force for changing the average Major League salary from $19,000 a year to more than $3 million a year, and the top salary from $100,000 to more than $25 million a year. The union was a major factor in increasing the annual revenue of all Major League clubs, combined -- from $50 million a year before the union started in 1966 to this year's almost $7 billion a year. That is a difficult record to eradicate -- and the Hall has failed to do it.
A long time ago, it became apparent that the Hall sought to bury me long before my time, as a metaphor for burying the union and eradicating its real influence. Its failure is exemplified by the fact that I and the union of players have received far more support, publicity, and appreciation from countless fans, former players, writers, scholars, experts in labor management relations, than if the Hall had not embarked on its futile and fraudulent attempt to rewrite history. It is an amusing anomaly that the Hall of Fame has made me famous by keeping me out.
At least they didn't elect George Steinbrenner.
The others that were denied include: Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Billy Martin, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub. All the details are here. I could make a case for Concepcion, John, Oliver, and Staub. But first: Marvin Miller, Ron Santo, and Minnie Minoso.
(BTW, info on Santo's funeral and visitation is here. The funeral should be covered live at 10 am on Friday on WGN radio and TV.)
- Barry Orton