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The Marvin Miller papers

Dec 10, 2012, 1:30 PM EDT

Marvin Miller

Interesting stuff from Richard Sandomir at the New York Times. The papers and letters of Marvin Miller, the late honcho of the MLBPA.

In it, letters from Ted Turner in 1980, so impressed with Miller’s work that he wishes he could be a player rather than an owner. Which, well, yeah, Turner probably would have wished that anyway.  Plus some very early and delicious byplay between Miller and his arch-enemy Bowie Kuhn.

What has always struck me more than anything about Miller is that he took his mission extremely seriously. His work could have been on behalf of auto workers, coal miners, Teamsters or baseball players, and he would have approached it the same way.  His opponents, however, didn’t think of the business of baseball as a real business. It was for them, of course, but the players were kids not to be taken seriously. As such, the owners never met Miller on the field of labor battle like any other responsible captains of industry would.  This allowed Miller to take the battle to them, always putting them on the defensive.

Some of that, at least from Miller’s perspective, is revealed here. Good stuff. Would love to go look at all of it.

  1. Old Gator - Dec 10, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Great title for a movie. How soon will Brad Pitt be old enough to play him?

    • Francisco (FC) - Dec 10, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      Right now. Did you not see the Curious Case of Benjamin Button?

      • Old Gator - Dec 10, 2012 at 7:33 PM

        Point scored. Makeup does wonders, but the movie sucked.

    • historiophiliac - Dec 10, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Yea, on the movie. Boo, on the Brad Pitt.

      • Old Gator - Dec 10, 2012 at 7:35 PM

        David Straithairn?

        (Sits back smugly and sips his lapsang souchong).

      • historiophiliac - Dec 10, 2012 at 8:17 PM

        How about James Woods? Same skin, different jaw line.

    • bigharold - Dec 10, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      Forget Brad Pitt, nobody saw Moneyball theatrically except the people that were portrayed in it, .. and Howell just saw it to get ammo bitch

      You want an interesting movie about Miller get some that can write like, (eh ripoff), Hunter S. Thompson. Then depending on whether you want play it for laughs or get semi-serious you can get either Will Farrell or Johnny Depp to play Miller. Gonzo labor relation!

      There’s off position to the genius switch!

  2. cur68 - Dec 10, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Marvin Miller & Don “Quixote” Fehr, eh? Well maybe in 1995. For a while.These days? Eat your heart out, Quixote! CBA through 2016.

    • Roger Moore - Dec 10, 2012 at 3:47 PM

      I think that still gets back to the issue of the owners not taking the players seriously. Real, serious industries try to preserve labor peace because they know the price of a major labor action can be more than the advantage they gain by winning it. I think the 1994/95 labor action- together with Selig taking full control as commissioner- was when the owners finally started to take the MLBPA seriously.

      • cur68 - Dec 10, 2012 at 5:18 PM

        You were great in The Spy Who Loved me. Just a terrific car. Hope you kept it.

  3. Detroit Michael - Dec 10, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Don’t mess with Joe Torre circa 1972.

    Heck, don’t mess with Joe Torre today either, I’d guess.

  4. DJ MC - Dec 10, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    His commitment to the union cause comes from rising through the steelworkers’ union, of course. If he had been someone who came though baseball, even if he still wanted to create the union he wouldn’t have had the perspective to see what really needed to change.

    There’s a parallel with the rise of teams hiring outside economists and statisticians to help them run their teams. They come from outside the sport, even as fans, so they end up with a completely different perspective, for better or worse, than those who come up from within.

  5. manchestermiracle - Dec 10, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    The NHL Players’ Association could use Mr. Miller right about now….

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