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Marvin Miller was investigated by the FBI for communist ties

May 14, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT

Marvin Miller

Marvin Miller’s legacy was, in a nutshell, the laying of the groundwork for elites to make billions of dollars they wouldn’t have otherwise made by allowing them to cast of the chains of an anti-competitive system and market their services to the highest bidder. Those who suffered as a result of his work, at least initially, were men who preferred to act in a sheltered collective, wished to squelch free market competition and who then, as now, preferred to depend on government subsidies rather than utilize their own capital, ingenuity and work in order to grow their businesses.

So, naturally, he was suspected of being a godless, American-hating communist, to the point where the FBI kept a big file on him. Deadspin obtained the file and has all the details. Upshot: Miller wasn’t a danger to the Republic.

But I am struck by how, in the United States, everyone is supposed to value the making of money except the people who actually work to make it. When they want it, lookout! Communists!

  1. mgflolox - May 14, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    The investigation was probably launched at the behest of Bowie Kuhn, by his good friend Richard Nixon, I would imagine.

  2. randygnyc - May 14, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Perhaps Miller had a life outside of baseball and did things that warranted investigation. I have no idea either way. Neither do any of us. With that said, without any facts, it will only be fools who take a stand either way.

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 14, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      There are oodles of facts in the linked article.

    • ditto65 - May 14, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      We all know the government would never take unwarranted action…

    • sportsdrenched - May 14, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      Ineed, That equal rights for all citizens thing will get you in trouble every time.

    • detroitr1 - May 14, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      Maybe you should see if he has a connection to benghazi with his “life outside of baseball”

      You never know…

    • aceshigh11 - May 14, 2013 at 6:21 PM

      What a demented prick you are.

  3. sdelmonte - May 14, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Being investigated by J Edgar’s FBI is in some ways a badge of honor. Not that such investigations led to happy endings for many. But I think Miller would have been glad to have offended the button down conservative Feds of that day.

  4. cur68 - May 14, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    More I learn of Marvin Miller the better I like him.

    -Judge a man by the reputation of his enemies
    Arabian Proverb

    • 18thstreet - May 14, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      So, you’re a Muslim, eh?

      • cur68 - May 14, 2013 at 4:09 PM

        If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the body of your enemy float by.

        -Japanese Proverb

      • 18thstreet - May 14, 2013 at 4:26 PM

        A Japanese Muslim?

      • cur68 - May 14, 2013 at 7:03 PM

        May a thousand fire ants fine you.

        -Ancient South American Indian saying

      • historiophiliac - May 14, 2013 at 7:37 PM

        Do you pay that fine in bread crumbs or just let them loose for a picnic orgy?

    • stlouis1baseball - May 14, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      Said the communist sympathizer…

      • cur68 - May 14, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        Свободный рынок, теперь!

      • bigharold - May 14, 2013 at 4:13 PM

        “communist sympathizer” Canadian ,, same thing.

      • 18thstreet - May 14, 2013 at 4:29 PM

        Which one is the communist sympathizer? The guy who wrote the Arabian proverb?

      • cur68 - May 14, 2013 at 7:03 PM

        Da.

      • Old Gator - May 14, 2013 at 10:28 PM

        Try “Ja.” Karl Marx was German, but people who listen to TPN don’t know this.

      • cur68 - May 14, 2013 at 11:17 PM

        I appeal to the lowest common denominator, Gator. Can’t be makin’ with the facts when you do that.

  5. billybawl - May 14, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    To put this in some context, he was one of many loyal left-leaning Jewish intellectuals active in the government and labor unions during the time of the investigation. As one commenter said, it was a badge of honor to be investigated by J. Edgar Hoover and, frankly, if you didn’t have an FBI file at the time, you weren’t doing your job.

    I think it’s important to recognize that when Miller came to baseball, he viewed players as exploited workers, not materially different than the Steelworkers he had worked with. The greatest irony is that not only did he help those players become millionaires, he helped the millionaire owners recognize how much more money they could extract from the game.

    • bigharold - May 14, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      “The greatest irony is that not only did he help those players become millionaires, he helped the millionaire owners recognize how much more money they could extract from the game.”

      I’ll give you the first part, .. he did ay the ground work for players to get a more equitable share of the revenue. But, the second part, .. making owners even more wealthy was really not his doing. That was to a great degree a function of better marketing and additional revenue streams most notably cable TV. hen I was a kid you could easily get 120 Yankee games a year on local broadcast TV for free. Now you can get about 15-20, .. if you include the times they are on networks game of the week.

      He’s a historically significant labor figure but it would be hard to argue that he invented cable TV thus allowing owners to charge more people, whether they come to the game or not.

      • billybawl - May 14, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        I’d never say he invented cable TV, nor did I suggest he was alone — O’Malley was probably the first owner to recognize the profits to be had. But certainly one response to the pressure on payroll exerted by the Players’ union was that MLB got smarter about making money.

        When I was a kid, I was lucky to get about 24 A’s games on broadcast OR cable TV. I just don’t think it’s a coincidence that began to change as free agency took off. Maybe without Miller the owners would have eventually seen the money on the table, but I think they were more interested in the old ways of doing business.

        Lords of the Realm is a good read on this subject.

      • bigharold - May 14, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        I vividly remember baseball before cable, during the transition and after. Cable was the single biggest factor in the ability to support escalating player salaries. First there was FA, then a few years later cable. Then ten years later wide spread cable. Right at about the same time salaries were mushrooming.

        There were other things like official licensing and trade marks, joint ventures. Even now the Yankees are in partnership with the Cowboys for operation of the concessions. The Yankees are paid less than market rate for that contract thus reducing the revenue exposed to revenue sharing. But, the Yankee ownership also owns the company, Legends LLC, that gets the contract that now has a greater profit margin, which is not subject to revenue sharing. So honing revenue streams continues while Internet and wireless streaming of games is creating yet more revenue streams.

        Miller’s efforts eventually lead to free agency, (the players union actually lost the court battle over the reserve clause), which subsequently provided the framework to allow salaries to grow. But, cable TV and marketing provided revenue streams to support the growth. Perhaps, the more sophisticated marketing was spurred by the need to pay FA salaries. But, it’s really a coincidence that free agency was followed closely by the cable. In fact the marketing is aided by the exposure on cable, so that is another way cable helps.

        If the technology; cable, Internet, wireless streaming were just becoming widespread today as opposed to their beginning 25-35 years ago there is no way salaries would be at the levels they are today. Today the Yankees generate about 425 mil annually in revenue. To do that in an environment without cable and or sophisticated marketing the Yankees would need an 80 thousand seat ball park with an average price of $65 per seat and they’d have to have 81 sell outs.

  6. largebill - May 14, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    The Deadspin headline is a little odd: “How America Commie-Baited A Baseball Hero” Baseball hero? I checked Baseball Reference and couldn’t find him listed any where. Turns out the article is about some labor lawyer.

  7. badintent - May 15, 2013 at 12:52 AM

    When Hoover wan’t at the race track boozing it up and placing bets on sure winners that the Mob threw him, he was living in fear of the photos the Mob had of him and his side kick doing “Hips and Lips”. The FBI had files on every Jewish scientist that worked on the Manhattan Project but let a German-British scientist steal the paperwork for the atomic bomb firing technology. Hoover was the biggest POS moving. He denied the there was a MOB to cover his ass.His name should be removed off the FBI building.He dragged his feet on the investigations of the murders of the Soutthern voter recruiters. He was a coward and grabbed the credit for John Dillinger’s arrest after his own agents had risked their lives to make the arrest. Total fraud.P-O-S.And an Anti-Semitc Nazi to boot.
    John Kennedy was going to fire him but went to Dallas the week before he would have sent Hooover a pink slip.

  8. thebigtim2012 - May 15, 2013 at 6:33 AM

    To the vermin that made light of Benghazi. Our ambassador died along with some very brave men hardly something to joke about. Douche

  9. ctony1216 - May 15, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    A country that taxes ordinary work at a higher rate than capital gains is a country that spies on labor leaders. One of these days, workers — all workers, right-wing, left-wing, all religions — will figure this out, stop listening to the hatemongers and others that divide us, pull together and change the country for the better, most likely with a little help from a man or woman like Marvin Miller.

  10. manchestermiracle - May 15, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    How typically ironic that a government tasked to defend the free market, yet acts very communistic, would label someone a communist who is trying to help others realize their free-market potential. And yeah, Hoover was a top-notch d-bag.

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