On the occasion of union leader Marvin Miller once again falling shot of the Hall of Fame, it's instructive to note that no sport has had a longer labor peace than baseball. How it got here is easy enough to explain, and has everything to do with Miller's work.
After it was announced that Marvin Miller will once again miss out on the Hall of Fame, Donald Fehr, his successor as head of the MLBPA—and current executive director of the NHLPA—released this statement:
After the death of Marvin Miller, we FOIA'ed the FBI file of the former union head. For someone whose spent his life fighting for baseball players to enjoy the free market, the government seemed pretty convinced he was a Commie.
It's Labor Day. Why not remember Marvin Miller, the union head who dragged baseball into modernity, with this reflection, written one day after his death last fall?
MLB executives and owners feared Marvin Miller, but they weren't the first. FBI documents reveal that the federal government, at the height of the Red Scare, undertook an embarrassingly extensive investigation into Miller's liberalism to determine whether or not he was a loyal citizen of the United States.
He was in the phone book. That's the thing that always got me about Marvin Miller, the former head of the MLB players association and the man who pulled baseball out of its crude prehistory. You expect your heroes to be unlisted. You don't expect to find one of them in the white pages, right there between a Marva and…
Murray Chass, senior writer for murraychass.com, recently threw heat at HOF Expansion Era committee member Tom Verducci for apparently voting against Marvin Miller. Verducci fired back, and thus the post became unique to the Chass oeuvre in that someone actually read it.
George Steinbrenner and Marvin Miller had perhaps the biggest impact on the modern era of baseball. Their failing to make the Hall of Fame just shows that the Veterans Committee is full of old farts who don't get/don't like the game today.
"Heh," Marvin Miller chuckles. "I haven't talked to Jim for a long while." Jim is Jim Bunning, the obstreperous shitbag who sought to deny thousands of Americans their jobless benefits but who, once upon a time, fought baseball's good fight.