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Deep Thought: Marvin Miller Hall of Fame edition

Nov 27, 2012, 11:02 AM EST

cooperstown

In the wake of Marvin Miller’s death, the overwhelming sentiment among baseball writers on Twitter is that it is a shame that he was never inducted into the Hall of Fame. That the Hall disgraced itself in never voting Miller in and, now that he is dead and can never know the honor in life, it is doubly disgraceful. I agree with that sentiment 100%.

I wonder, however, if some of these same writers who believe that the Hall has disgraced itself will still take the position that voting in PED users like Bonds, Clemens and the rest will somehow sully the place.

Which isn’t to say that you can’t still vote against these guys if you want to. Of course you can.  Just don’t claim that you are obligated to do so in order to “protect” the Hall of Fame from some new and unique stain. It’s been stained repeatedly throughout the years through any number of questionable and disgraceful inclusions and omissions. Compared to keeping Marvin Miller out and letting in people like Tom Yawkey in, allowing an additional PED user — for there are surely some in there already — is not gonna hurt the place.

  1. royalintx - Nov 27, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    These may be deep thoughts from Craig, but the same old arguments. Is the re-hashed PED argument really necessary right after death.
    So many of your posts look alike that it gets boring.
    RIP Mr. Miller.

    • dan1111 - Nov 27, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      While I could do without the gratuitous trolling, I think you are right.

      There is no real logical connection between Hall of Fame cases of Miller and steroid users. They are two separate questions, other than the fact that they both affect the Hall’s reputation.

      Craig’s argument seems to amount to “It’s not logical to oppose X, because Y already happened, and it was even worse”. This makes little sense. It’s like saying, I shouldn’t object to someone stealing $10 from me, because I was already lost $1000 in a robbery last week. Or, more to the point, it’s like saying we can’t object to letting every mediocre player into the Hall, since there were already some bad choices in the past.

      Someone who wants to protect the Hall’s reputation should abide by the standards they think are correct, regardless of what happened before. I generally agree with Craig’s take on steroids, but this is weak stuff, especially when it is piggybacking on the story of someone’s death.

  2. thomas2727 - Nov 27, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Somebody on the first Marvin Miller post said reminded that Tim McCarver is in the Hall of Fame and Marvin Miller is not.

    That says so much.

    • paperlions - Nov 27, 2012 at 11:33 AM

      He was given the Ford Frick Award, which means his name is on a plaque in the library of the HOF. He is not a HOFer or a member of the HOF. He was just given an award by his brethren, the winners of which are documented in the museum.

      • thomas2727 - Nov 27, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        Poorly worded on my part. I realize McCarver is not a member.

        I probably spent 2 hours reading all of the plaques when I went to the Hall of Fame last Summer.
        I definitely don’t recall seeing any plaque’s there for anybody for announcing.

        Unfortunately did not make it into the library.

      • gloccamorra - Nov 27, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        Vin Scully, Red Barber, Curt Gowdy and others are called HOF announcers and are considered Hall of Famers. They all received the Ford Frick award and have plaques in the “library”, also called the announcers’ wing of the HOF. So Tim McCarver, incredibly, IS a “Hall of Famer”, as an announcer.

        Thomas2727, if you go to the Smithsonian in D.C., and you don’t visit ALL the wings, you may not see the Mercury Capsule or the Spirit of St. Louis. There’s more to see there than Archie Bunker’s chair, and there’s a lot to see at the HOF. I hope you can get back to the HOF, so you can make up for your earlier cursory visit.

      • paperlions - Nov 27, 2012 at 12:33 PM

        No problem….just wanted to clarify. Announcers are hugely fond of calling each other HOFers, despite the fact that they are not inducted into the HOF…just given an award by their peers, which is great and all…just doesn’t make them a HOFer.

      • natstowngreg - Nov 27, 2012 at 7:01 PM

        The announcers and writers are memorialized in the Hall of Fame, as are players, managers, etc. They are selected to the Hall of Fame (one announcer and one writer each year), like players, managers, etc. Though not by the same electorate. Sorry, but it strikes me as just a little petty to quibble over whether they’re Hall of Famers.

        Whether Tim McCarver should be in the Hall of Fame as an announcer is another matter.

      • paperlions - Nov 27, 2012 at 7:15 PM

        That is not true. Writers and announcers are NOT enshrined. They are given an award voted on by their own, and it is presented to them at cooperstown. They are not enshrined or elected by a HOF committee and they are not HOF members.

      • paperlions - Nov 27, 2012 at 7:21 PM

        If you really want proof, go here: http://baseballhall.org/hall-famers

        and search through the list of HOFer. HOFers include players, managers, umpires, and executives. There is no such thing as a HOF writer/announcer. They are recognized in the museum. If you think they are HOFer, then so is Pete Rose…because he’s in the museum, too.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Nov 27, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    How about those hypocritical baseball writers vote someone who they have ZERO proof he did PEDs…like Bagwell…into the Hall of Fame??? I’m not even talking about Clemens and Bonds. How about Bagwell??? Screw those sanctimonious writers who knew about the rampant PED use all those years and we saw how many articles ? What one? Maybe two?

  4. mojosmagic - Nov 27, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    The Hall of Fame for Marvin Miller? For what? Taking the “boy” out of the game. For instigating” strikes” that led to summers of no baseball to watch. For turning the “dream” of playing baseball into how much money I can stuff into my pocket. For creating a league filled with players who care little about fans and more about impending free agency. For having tickets prices rise to the point an average Joe can’t afford to take his family to a game. Marvin Miller did a good job for the players and was paid handsomely in return.

    • The Common Man - Nov 27, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      This comment right here? Is bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. Baseball players were professionals since at least the 1860s, and the rise of salaries has allowed more players to use the offseason for training and conditioning, rather than barnstorming (which risks injury) or having to get a second job. As such, we get better baseball on the whole than we had before. Baseball has always been a business, and if baseball has raised its ticket prices, that’s because fans will (for the most part) pay them to attend games. That’s not the fault of players. If Sony thought you’d pay $1500 for a Playstation, they would sell it for that much.

    • kkolchak - Nov 27, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      Baseball’s greedy, idiotic meglomaniac owners have done far more to destroy the game than the players’ union ever did. All the players wanted was a fair share of the pie considering it is THEM we go see and not the billionaire scumbags in the owners’ boxes.

      Baseball certainly has a culture of maximizing profit at the expense of virtually anything else. But the worst of it (watering down the playoffs even further with the wild card play in game, for example), are ownership’s doing.

      • mojosmagic - Nov 27, 2012 at 3:20 PM

        How old are you? Not old enough to remember.

      • DJ MC - Nov 27, 2012 at 3:47 PM

        Based on your post, mojo, and the simplistic fiction you offer that is only spouted by kids who are still ignorant and don’t know better and old men who only like what they remember from their youth, I’m guessing you’re either too young, or too old, to drive.

    • natstowngreg - Nov 27, 2012 at 7:14 PM

      *mounts high horse*

      I’m old enough. Old enough to have followed baseball back when it was about trading baseball cards and reading The Sporting News. Before players made millions.

      Old enough to have learned, over a half-century of following baseball, that what mojosmagic is saying is utter crap. That, when I was young and didn’t know any better, the players I admired were treated like dirt. Marvin Miller brought 20th Century reality to MLB; the owners hated him for it. For that alone, he should be in the Hall of Fame.

      Good old days? As Carly Simon sang, “these are the good old days.”

      *dismounts high horse*

      • blacksables - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:45 AM

        How where the players treated like dirt, since the facts show that since day 1, they have been paid an salary twice (or more) what the average American made, got a per diem on top of that, had their travel paid for, and stayed in 4-star hotels?

        As well as commercial endorsments they were paid for, as well as receiving discounts on cars, TV’s, furs for their wife, etc. just because they shopped at a particular store.

        As well as getting free drinks and dinner every time they showed in particural places so the fans could see them.

        That was pre-Miller. Since then, the players receive a pension (which is better than politicians get), a share of the merchandising, as well so many other benefits I can’t remember them all.

        Say what you will about the owners, but the players have NEVER at any time been poor and abused. They have been a privileged class since 1869 and continue to get more privliged all the time.

        They benefit from the sport without acutally having to incur any of the costs of it. Sounds like they have a really good thing going, and people should stop pretending they don’t.

  5. gosport474 - Nov 27, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    This is why I dislike it when a writer withholds his vote for someone the first time on the ballot. “He is not a first-time ballot HOFer” is heard often. Well, my thought is if he is a HOFer then he should be voted in. What if he dies or is killed in accident before he gets voted in? Then the writer has denied them that ultimate honor while living just because of pettiness. Ron Santo as an example.

    • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 27, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      …also, if every writer shared that philosophy, every would fall off the ballot every year. It is beyond stupid.

  6. APBA Guy - Nov 27, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Marvin Miller was a transcendent figure in baseball and deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, which is, after all, the museum of baseball. You hear the argument that Mojo makes all the time, and it’s made all the time with complete disregard for those same evils being attributed to owners. Look, baseball is a business based on a game. What Miller did was bring balance to the players’ side of the business. And who can argue that the game is worse off than it was before him? Probably the same people who say baseball is dying, I suppose, but they’re wrong. Players making more money has heightened interest in the game, year round, to a level it never was before Miller. It’s true that players move around more, and that fan loyalty is often player focused rather than team focused. But clever owners can lock up fan favorites-as the Rays did. There’s nothing wrong with players making more money. The teams are prospering, the game is thriving, and the players are better than ever. What’s not to like?

    • blacksables - Nov 27, 2012 at 11:52 AM

      http://baseballhall.org/

      Its the “National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum”.

      Two seperate entities under one roof.

  7. bluesoxbaseball - Nov 27, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Like leaving out Buck O’neil.

  8. raysfan1 - Nov 27, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    There is one known steroid user in the HoF–Pud Galvin used testosterone. Of course it was neither illegal or against the rules in the late 19th century. There are also several amphetamine users in the HoF.

    However, I agree with comments that Miller’s HoF case is not really comparable to the PED users.

  9. temporarilyexiled - Nov 27, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    It’s the Hall of Fame.

    It’s not the Hall of Popularity.

    It’s not the Hall of Virtue.

    I thought it was supposed to be the place where those who have made the biggest contributions to the sport are honored for that, and that alone. Pete Rose should be in the Hall. He should remain banned from the game itself.

    Even if you argue that the Hall of Fame is separate from the museum, it’s still a group with major historical significance – significance that it can’t escape.

    Marvin Miller is easily one of the most important people ever associated with the sport – a person whose accomplishments are amazing. He’s belonged in the Hall for a long time. That he’s been slighted is purely political. And I bet he’s always been okay with his status – less so with the makeup of the various voting committees.

    I have no problem with mentioning his case with the upcoming group of players now to be voted on. The reasons one or another gets in or gets snubbed may be different, but the underlying arbitrary nature of the voting is exactly the same.

    As for the PED users, the best you can do is to try to figure out how much the numbers are tainted, and then use your judgement.

    The good old days, as we’ve seen by revisiting the accomplishments of Marvin Miller, weren’t so good after all. There’s obviously more incentive to cheat now, but to say that the oldtimers were somehow more virtuous is naive to say the least. Human nature hasn’t changed for millions of years.

    Young men in competitive situations tend to do whatever it takes to win, and the line between what’s okay and not okay is a very fine one, and one that starts and ends in different places depending on who you talk to.

    That the Hall has left out Marvin Miller is understandable, considering his enemies, but it’s still a joke. If the Hall leaves out any of the new crop of potential members for anything other than how good they really were, it’s not only a joke, it signals the end of its relevance.

    • mojosmagic - Nov 27, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      Wow, my original post got a lot of thumbs down and I’m not used to that. Anybody who says baseball is better for the fans today just isn’t old enough to remember how it was. I understand the young people posting grew up with free agency and I’m old school guy. Back in the day the owners kept salary’s down but a kid could also watch a doubleheader for a buck. The pricing was relative to the times and the owners were not making a killing off the public.They had a different business model and it was good for the fans. That’s just a fact.Today an average player makes 10 million a year and if he has an off year he goes into arbitration and gets a raise. How does “service time” make the game better? How does service time keep a player hungry?

      • mrstpaul - Nov 27, 2012 at 3:42 PM

        You got a lot of thumbs down because your comment is a gross oversimplification.

        The reserve clause was the last vestige of indentured servitude and Marvin Miller (with an assist from Peter Seitz) did away with it.

      • DJ MC - Nov 27, 2012 at 4:03 PM

        It is anything but a fact. It shows a complete ignorance for the game that is bad enough from someone who didn’t live through it, but completely inexcusable from someone who did.

        Doubleheaders were “a buck” because that was the only way fans would come to games, which were still mostly in the afternoon. In fact, that is why they would have doubleheaders in the first place: as an enticement to draw fans on weekends and sell them food and beer, since weekday attendance for the good teams was lower than your average Rays game today.

        Their business model was based on keeping costs as low as possible. They did that by preventing the players from receiving their fair share for their talents, and doing everything in their power to prevent them from organizing.

  10. mojosmagic - Nov 27, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    LOL. The games were at night I am not that old. My original comment was that Marvin Miller doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame and nothing will change my opinion of that. The players live a charmed life and I don’t consider them “indentured servitude”. That is the type of BS Miller threw out. In fact that statement at the time was considered blasphemous and an affront to people who actually lived through real slavery. Bottom line, the payers are greedy, the owners are greedy and the fans pay the price. Just the way it is.

    • raysfan1 - Nov 27, 2012 at 11:20 PM

      Yes, there were night games at every park other than Wrigley in the 1940s. I’m not that old either, but I am old enough to remember the 1960s. You make the point that the fan experience has gotten worse. However, the numbers of fans attending games does not support your view. The team with the lowest attendance those year were the Rays at 1.55 million. In 1965, the year before Miller came on the scene, that would have been good for 4th most in all MLB. The Yankees drew 1.2 million that year, and there were teams with fewer than a million. Baseball minimum wage in 1966 being $6000, was less than the US median income…in today’s dollars, it’s about the same as $44000 today (and US median income in 2011 was 50000). That isn’t indentured servitude, but many ball players had to have second jobs. As far as greedy goes, the owners were always greedy, they simply no longer have all the power.

      Here’s what free agency did, besides lead to higher player wages: 1965, again the year before Miller became head of the MLBPA, was the first time in 6 years that the Yankees were not the AL rep in the World Series. It is now unusual for a team to win a pennant even3 years in a row–it has happened twice since 1970.

      You can believe that entertainers being paid like entertainers, and taking an equitable share of the pie, is bad for baseball–or hurts the enjoyment of it…but it is not a belief based in logic.

  11. hushbrother - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    “Waaaa, Marvin Miller’s not in the Hall of Fame! Such an affront to the baseball cognoscenti.”

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