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Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Marvin Miller has surprising Hall of Fame booster


The push to get Marvin Miller into the Hall of Fame continues apace. Now, as Peter Gammons writes, Miller's old nemesis Ray Grebey has thrown his support behind Miller in a letter to the Hall's board of directors. Miller has Gammons' support, too ... and so does Bill James:


I've been waffling about Marvin Miller for a few years. As I understand things, though:

* the argument made against him by the voters is ... well, we don't know, because the voters' deliberations have not been public and they've not been forthcoming afterward;

* the argument made for Miller is that he would be in the Hall of Fame already if not for those cranky reactionaries who have been voting against him.

What I've not often seen are the reasoned arguments for and against him, and I believe to the bottom of my soul that both arguments do exist.

Deep in my soul, I do not believe there's a reasonable argument against Bill James. I know I don't have a great deal of credibility, but if you look at my record I think you'll find that I'm objective to a fault. Two of my all-time favorite baseball people are Buck O'Neil and Frank White; I've argued that neither belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Or rather, I argued that Frank White doesn't belong and that nobody's quite figured out how Buck O'Neil belongs. We know in our hearts that he belongs, but it was the head part that troubled just enough of the voters.

Bill James is easy, though. Henry Chadwick, who helped popularize professional baseball with his stories and his box scores, was elected many years ago as a Pioneer. A century or so later, Bill James played much the same role. There's room for Bill James in the Hall of Fame because there's room for Henry Chadwick.

But as I've noted in the past, there's no precedent for Marvin Miller. Nobody has ever been elected to the Hall of Fame because of his association with "labor." Which doesn't mean nobody should be elected. I just don't know why, if we elect Marvin Miller, we should stop with him. I believe that if Miller is elected, the doors to the Hall might eventually be opened for Donald Fehr, Scott Boras, and whoever else might come along later.

Maybe that's a good thing. I honestly don't know. It just seems like everyone's dancing around the issues and instead appealing to our guts. And I have to say, to this point that's not been working real well for Marvin Miller.