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The Hall of Fame announces its non-player candidates

Nov 11, 2009, 10:55 AM EDT

Most of the Hall of Fame arguing this winter will be over Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Barry Larkin and Robby Alomar.  But there are managers and executives to be considered as well:

Twenty former major league managers, umpires and executives will be
considered for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame for
induction in 2010 by two Veterans Committees, with results of a Dec. 6
vote to be announced Dec. 7 at baseball’s Winter Meetings, it was
announced today . . .The 10 managers and umpires eligible for election consideration to the
National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010: managers Charlie Grimm, Whitey
Herzog, Davey Johnson, Tom Kelly, Billy Martin, Gene Mauch, Danny
Murtaugh and Steve O’Neill; umpires Doug Harvey and Hank O’Day.

The 10 executives eligible for election consideration to the
National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010: Gene Autry, Sam Breadon, John
Fetzer, Bob Howsam, Ewing Kauffman, John McHale, Marvin Miller, Gabe
Paul, Jacob Ruppert and Bill White.

Picking managers for the Hall of Fame is an exercise in subjectivity (at least until this book comes out, anyway). Yes, at some point a handful of rings trumps everything else, but how does one really distinguish between Tom Kelly and Davey Johnson?  Between Whitey Herzog and Billy Martin?  I think objective cases can be made for all of those guys, but the “fame” part of “Hall of Fame” may count for more in the case of these guys.  If I had to pick I’d say yes to Herzog and probably Martin and no to the other ones mentioned, but I’ll be honest and say that a lot of that has to do with me simply liking them more than the other candidates.  Your counterarguments are welcome.

As for the executives, it has long been and remains a total disgrace that Marvin Miller is not in the Hall of Fame. Love him or hate him, his impact on baseball is undeniable. After Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, I’d have a hard time saying anyone did more to revolutionize the game of baseball than did Miller. Maybe Branch Rickey, but that’s about it.  The Veterans’ Committee is still comprised of a ton of old-timers and company men, however, many if not most of whom didn’t receive the benefits — or were cost money directly — by the changes Miller wrought.  I’d like to think people would set aside nearly forty year-old grudges, but I’m not optimistic. And it’s worth mentioning that he doesn’t want to be inducted anyway.

I’ll be at the Winter Meetings this year, however, so at least I’ll get to complain to people about Miller’s exclusion in person.  I’ll be the angry bald guy being escorted out of the convention center by security. 

The other owners and executives don’t impress me all that much.  Great, you were rich enough to buy a team and lived long enough for people to forget that you were a sonofabitch when you were younger. That’s not Hall of Fame worthy in my opinion.

  1. Red Sox Fan in ATL - Nov 11, 2009 at 11:55 AM

    “Great, you were rich enough to buy a team and lived long enough for people to forget that you were a sonofabitch when you were younger.”
    Wow, that describes HOFer and former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey to a T.

  2. Simon DelMonte - Nov 11, 2009 at 3:25 PM

    I’m as pro-union as they come in this day and age, the son of a proud member of the teachers union. And I usually agree with Marvin Miller when he gives interviews on the state of affairs in baseball. But I still feel uncomfortable about having him in the Hall. His accomplishments were off the field. Period. And just don’t know if they helped the game. Helped the players, yes. The game? I don’t think so.
    Can I offer a compromise candidate in Curt Flood? Here is a brave man who changed the game as well, but was also a pretty good player. And someone who, unlike Miller, basically lost his career for his principles.

  3. Craig Calcaterra - Nov 11, 2009 at 4:31 PM

    Well, for starters there are a lot of guys in the Hall whose accomplishments were “off the field,” so that’s a non-starter. I understand the thinking behind the “good for the players and not the game” argument, but I don’t buy it. The game is radically different now than it was before free agency, I’ll grant that. But I think it’s a tall order to say that the game is worse off. More people watch it now. Everyone makes more money. The quality of play remains high. There is competitive imbalance, but is it any worse than what we saw during the alleged Golden Age? Are Royals fans really worse off than St. Louis Browns fans were? Wait, we can’t answer that because there are no more St. Louis Browns.
    As for Flood: if you’re inclined to put him in the Hall of Fame, I can’t see how you can argue against Miller. Miller was behind Flood’s challenge in the first place. If failed in his case. Miller persisted and ultimately won with other players what could not be won with Flood alone. Ultimately they were after the same thing, and one succeeded where the other failed. Why honor the guy who failed instead of the one who succeeded? Put less harshly, why honor the name out in front of the challenge instead of the mastermind?
    Ultimately my argument for Miller comes down to this: there were three times in baseball history where everything frickin’ changed: the end of the deadball era, the integration of baseball and the advent of free agency. Marvin Miller was the force behind that third one. How can you not honor that?

  4. Simon DelMonte - Nov 11, 2009 at 5:00 PM

    It would seem that you have demolished my arguments, or at least damaged them. Which just leaves the same unease about Miller’s induction at a gut level. It just feels to me like his achievements are for some other Hall of Fame. Or at least some other wing of this one.
    No matter. Someday, when the Veterans Committee is made up of players who supported him in their careers, he’ll get in. But not till then.

  5. Amol - Nov 11, 2009 at 11:24 PM

    “The other owners and executives don’t impress me all that much. Great, you were rich enough to buy a team and lived long enough for people to forget that you were a sonofabitch when you were younger.”
    I’d suggest taking another look at Bill White, as that’s in no way a fair description. I only know a bit about him, specifically that he was the first African American to be league president, but it seems like enough for him to get more than a cursory dismissal.

  6. Detroit Michael - Nov 12, 2009 at 6:05 AM

    I would have liked to see Buck O’Neil on the executives and pioneers slate of candidates.

  7. Lawrence From Plattekill - Nov 13, 2009 at 10:10 AM

    Hey, how about Steinbrenner for the Hall of Fame? If he wasn’t there–that one guy willing to think in terms of owner vs owner rather than owners vs players–would Miller have been nearly as successful as he was?

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