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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Marvin Miller 1917 -2012


Labor economist Marvin Miller, head of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 through 1982 died yesterday in his home in Manhattan.

Whatever your opinion of the economics of Major League Baseball, Miller was instrumental in raising the status of baseball players from that of chattel, with a league minimum salary below the national median income, to a bargaining position with the clubowners (who Faye Vincent called “the twenty-four idiots.”)

Miller’s “A Whole Different Ball Game” is one of the great baseball books, telling the sometimes hilarious history of the players union and their struggles against the owners, for whom the real national sport was, and remains, union bashing. He told of an early meeting where a player accused him of being a communist. Miller replied that he had the highest security clearance from the U.S. government from his work on the National War Labor Board in World War II. Miller got a percentage of baseball card revenues for the players when they had formerly been compensated with books of S&H Greenstamps.

Miller has been snubbed five times in Hall of Fame voting, falling one vote short in 2011. He will be eligible for consideration again in 2014.

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