Monday, December 7, 2009
Was Marvin Miller robbed?
Phil Rogers on Marvin Miller's sad fate:
Tom Seaver, one of two former players on the committee, campaigned loudly on Miller's behalf. "It's a no-brainer," Seaver told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. "He is on a par with Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson in terms of his importance on the game of baseball. He is right there."
Crasnick reported that Miller received votes from Seaver, Robin Roberts and all three baseball writers on the committee (Rick Hummel, Hal McCoy and Phil Pepe). That would mean he got only two votes from seven executives: John Harrington, Jerry Bell, Bill DeWitt, Bill Giles, David Glass, Andy MacPhail and John Schuerholz.
Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson both were brilliant baseball players, and the Hall of Fame was originally intended to do one thing: honor brilliant baseball players. There's nothing in the rules about a candidate's "importance on the game of baseball." If all that mattered was "importance," Buck O'Neil would have been elected a few years ago. But O'Neil wasn't elected because the voters couldn't figure out what he was.
Was he a Hall of Fame player? No, not really.
Was he a Hall of Fame manager? No, not really.
Was he a Hall of Fame scout? There aren't any scouts in the Hall of Fame.
Was he a Hall of Fame ambassador? There aren't any of those in the Hall of Fame, either.
What was Marvin Miller? Well, that depends on who you ask. If you ask the writers and the players, you'll get one answer. If you ask the executives, you're likely to get a completely different answer. It doesn't bother me so much that Miller's been rejected once again. There's never been anyone like him elected. What bothers me is the obvious stratification among the voters. It seems pretty clear that he fell two votes short for the simple reason that a majority of the baseball executives simply don't like men who run unions.