By JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer
December 4, 2007
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Even one of the men who followed Bowie Kuhn as baseball
commissioner thinks Marvin Miller was snubbed by the Hall of Fame.
Bud Selig commended the Hall voters for selecting Kuhn while throwing his
support behind Miller, the longtime nemesis of baseball management who was left
out by the Veterans Committee for the second time this year.
"I was surprised that Marvin Miller did not receive the required support
given his important impact on the game," Selig said.
He might have been surprised, but Miller wasn't.
The former head of the players' union said he could tell by looking at the
panel -- stacked with those he regularly opposed, and beat, in arbitration and
collective bargaining -- that his chances of induction were slim.
"I'm so able to count votes in advance," he told The Associated Press
after being informed of the results. "I think it was rigged, but not to keep me
out. It was rigged to bring some of these (people) in. It's not a pretty
"It's demeaning, the whole thing, and I don't mean just to me. It's
demeaning to the Hall and demeaning to the people in it."
Kuhn, who died in March at the age of 80, is the first commissioner elected
since Happy Chandler in 1982. Former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley, managers
Dick Williams and Billy Southworth and ex-Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss also
Manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey each missed induction by a
Dreyfuss helped bring peace between the American and National Leagues by
arranging the first World Series in 1903. O'Malley united the East and West
Coasts under baseball's flag when he moved the Dodgers to Los Angeles after the
1957 season. Southworth and Williams won two World Series titles apiece.
Kuhn served from 1969-84, a period in which attendance tripled, the World
Series went nocturnal and baseball took its first, tentative steps into national
marketing. But during essentially the same era, Miller led the players to more
lucrative and revolutionary gains, taking the average salary from $19,000 to
$241,000 and pitching a virtual shutout against the owners in head-to-head
"Over the entire scope of the last half of the 20th century, no other
individual had as much influence on the game of baseball as did Marvin Miller,"
current players' association boss Donald Fehr said. "Because he was the
players' voice, and represented them vigorously, Marvin Miller was the owners'
adversary. This time around, a majority of those voting were owner
representatives, and results of the vote demonstrate the effect that had.
"The failure to elect Marvin Miller is an unfortunate and regrettable
decision. Without question, the Hall of Fame is poorer for it."
The veterans panel has been changed twice since 2001, when charges of
cronyism followed the election of glove man Bill Mazeroski. The original
15-member panel was expanded to include every living member of the Hall, but
that group failed to elect anyone in three tries.
It was replaced by three separate panels -- one for players, one for managers
and umpires and one for executives and pioneers, leaving Miller's fortunes
largely in the hands of the same group he once fought in collective bargaining
and the courts.
He did not come close, receiving only three of 12 possible votes. Under the
previous system, Miller received 63 percent of the votes earlier this year while
Kuhn got 17 percent -- a reversal noted by Fehr.
But Selig, a former owner and longtime bargaining foe of the players, has
been one of the most vocal supporters of Miller's candidacy. And Hall of Fame
player Harmon Killebrew, who was on the panel that considered Miller, said he
was limited because he could only vote for four of the 10 candidates.
"Everybody on that list deserved to be there," Killebrew said, declining
to reveal whether he voted for Miller. "He certainly had a tremendous impact."
Hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark defended the process.
"There was no concerted effort other than to have very qualified committee
members evaluate very qualified candidates," she said. "There was a very open
and frank discussion about each of the candidates. Everyone on that committee
knows Marvin and respects what he did for the game. And that showed in the
The five elected this time will be inducted into the Hall on July 27 in
Cooperstown, N.Y. They will be joined by any players elected in traditional
voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America to be announced Jan. 8.
The Veterans Committee did not consider players this time, but will meet
late next year to vote on candidates for enshrinement in 2009.
Dreyfuss, who received 10 of 12 votes, helped end the longtime feud between
the American and National Leagues when he and Boston owner Henry Killilea agreed
to meet on the diamond after the 1903 season.
The World Series was born.
Southworth, who was chosen on 13 of 16 ballots from the panel that
considered umpires and managers, won four pennants and two World Series with the
St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Braves.
Williams was a spare part on O'Malley's Dodgers in Brooklyn but earned his
way into the Hall as a manager, making his debut by taking the "Impossible
Dream" Red Sox to the 1967 AL pennant and winning the '72 and '73 World Series
with the Oakland Athletics.
The only one of the most recent inductees who is alive, Williams said he and
his wife, Norma, broke down and cried when they got the call on Monday morning.
"It just blew our mind," he said. "Under the (voting) regime they had
previously ... I didn't think anybody would get there."
O'Malley moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles after the 1957
season -- a baseball version of the California Gold Rush that helped open the
West to the national pastime. He received the minimum nine votes necessary for
"Mr. O'Malley was a visionary by opening the gates to the West Coast. He
linked the entire nation to the game of baseball," Dodgers Hall of Fame manager
Tommy Lasorda said. "What a contribution he's made."
AP Baseball Writers Ronald Blum and Mike Fitzpatrick contributed to this
Updated on Tuesday, Dec 4, 2007 5:20 am, EST
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