Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hall of Fame conspiracy?

The Nation published article you have to read about the snubbing of Marvin Miller from the Hall of Fame. It recounts Miller's rise and accomplishments as the leader of the players union, and it describes the outrageous machinations that not only kept him out of the Hall, but also led to the selections of two of Miller's most frequent adversaries: Bowie Kuhn and Walter O'Malley:

In 2007, the veterans committee failed to pick Miller again. This time, however, he received 63 percent, 12 percent short of the magic number. He was the only candidate to earn a majority of the votes. That year, former commissioner Bowie Kuhn received only fourteen votes.

That tally for Miller was obviously too close for comfort for baseball's establishment, concerned that he would probably reach the three-quarters threshold in the next vote. Later that year, the Hall of Fame board carried out a coup. They changed the rules and transformed a democratic voting process into a conspiracy of cronies. They created a twelve-member committee, responsible solely for considering baseball executives, with nine votes required for selection. The much smaller group included seven former executives, two Hall of Fame players, and three writers. When that group met last December, the ballot they considered included ten people, eight of them former team owners or executives as well as Kuhn and Miller. Miller only got three votes. Three people received enough votes to gain entry into the exclusive club. Walter O'Malley, who owned the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1950 to 1979, received nine votes. Barney Dreyfuss, who owned the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1900 to 1932, earned ten votes. Kuhn, baseball commissioner from 1969 to 1984, also received ten votes.

Now Miller says he doesn't want to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. I don't blame him.

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