Former MLBPA Executive Director Marvin Miller passed away today at the age of 95. A larger man in the history of baseball we may not have seen, and yet, he's yet to grace the Hall of Fame.
It’s hard to know where to begin with the news today that former MLBPA Executive Director Marvin Miller passed away at the age of 95. In the history of sports, there may have never been a more galvanizing and important figure. As with most people of greatness, the actions of Miller were not seen by all as being good for sports. Still, love him or hate him, his impact on not only Major League Baseball, but all professional sports leagues, cannot be overstated. Collective bargaining, arbitration, free agency, and the fight for players’ rights all began with Miller. In that, you might disagree with Miller, but you had to respect him.
Google kindly suggests that you search for insults about umpires.
Last night, Bob Davidson screwed up a double switch in the Cardinals-Marlins game, costing the Cardinals Allen Craig for an inning. It was another in a long line of umpire mishaps that will only increase the calls for robot double switchers, though it could've been worse. Davidson admitted that he'd screwed up, and the Cardinals won the game. Dustin Parkes wrote about the incident here. One of the things he wrote was this:
Brett Lawrie was right to be upset about the two strikes that got him ejected on Tuesday, but framer extraordinaire Jose Molina had as much to do with the calls as umpire Bill Miller.
On Tuesday night, the Rays beat the Blue Jays 4-3. All of the scoring was over by the seventh, but the real action occurred in the bottom of the ninth, when Brett Lawrie was ejected by umpire Bill Miller after arguing balls and strikes, first with loud body language, then with loud words, and finally by transforming his helmet into flying suspension bait. Lawrie probably brushes his teeth more intensely than you’ve ever done anything, so you can only imagine what he looks like when he’s called out on borderline pitches in a close game against a division rival. Actually, that’s not true—imagining it isn’t the only thing you can do. You can also watch this video:
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Just one of the 12 candidates on the Expansion Era Hall of Fame ballot reached 75 percent - and not the most worthy one.
It's a good thing I'm not part of Baseball Prospectus' contingent at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, because this morning's news would have had me trashing my hotel room and pointing my rental car in the direction of the Expansion Era Committee, which announced its voting results for the Hall of Fame. From among the 12 candidates — eight players and four non-players — only Pat Gillick gained election, while Marvin Miller was bypassed yet again.
The former MLB Players Association executive director and former GM are up for selection to the Hall of Fame.
Last week, I took a swing at analyzing the eight players on the Expansion Era Hall of Fame ballot to be voted upon at next month's Winter Meetings, using JAWS to evaluate their fitness for Cooperstown. That tool's not available when tackling the four non-players on the ballot, namely Pat Gillick, Billy Martin, Marvin Miller, and George Steinbrenner, whose achievements must be evaluated more subjectively. Nonetheless, it's apparent that relative to their already-inducted peers, they certainly have strong arguments in their favor. Today I'll examine the cases of Miller and Gillick, saving those of the Yankees' odd couple, Steinbrenner and Martin, for a later installment.
Marvin Miller wants no part of an invitation to Cooperstown.
The Hall of Fame was in the headlines last week, and not just because the retirement of Mike Piazza kindled the inevitable debate over the catcher's Cooperstown credentials. No, an even more deserving honoree made waves via what was almost certainly a first: a request to the voters not to be elected.
Kicking off a series of historical investigations on the impact of different umpires.
"Despite all the nasty things I have said about umpires, I think they're one-hundred percent honest, but I can't for the life of me figure out how they arrive at some of their decisions."
-A's manager Jimmy Dykes
"What the detective story is about is not murder but the restoration of order."
-Mystery writer Phyllis Dorothy "P.D." James
Maury examines some of the more persistent misbeliefs around the game.
Beyond those, there have been other myths as well. The media has reported that more than 75 million fans attended games this past season in MLB, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim name case is all but over, Bud Selig was a used-car salesman, and that Marvin Miller was the first choice to become the first executive director of the Players Association. These statements are no more true than the Doubleday fairy tale.
Allen Barra has written for numerous publications since the late-1970s, including The Village Voice, The Wall Street Journal, and currently The New York Times. In 2002, Barra authored Clearing the Bases: The Greatest Baseball Debates of the Last Century, which took a refreshing look at some of baseball's most argued topics. Recently, BP correspondent Alex Belth caught up with Barra to discuss his early days as a writer, the influence of Bill James on his work, and Major League Baseball's marketing department.
Baseball Prospectus: So what team did you root for as a kid?