prilosec coupon lamictal medication generic names online paharmcy canada no perscription dalacin c 300mg price laxifen tablets at walmart oracea dosage for acne propecia on the phone order trittico online kaufen orabet soccer predictions sildenafil ratiopharm kaufen motrin 800 ibuprofen tablets where to buy finasteride online pharmacy review cart duetact generic digoxin therapeutic levels for heart failure hydrodiuril dosage of tylenol ovral birth control synthroid thyroid medication dosage proventil inhaler coupons 2014 buy candy echeck budesonide nebulizer solution dosage benicar 5mg without prescription augmentin dosage pediatric doxycycline for cheap viagra billed and shipped from u s cialis tadalafil 20mg viagra samples by mail pregnant man thomas beatie before man walmart viagra price buy domperidone in usa venta de mistoprostol en usa tadapox reviews on apidexin lamictal withdrawal symptoms how to buy clondine metazole tablets for sale vpxl male enhancement lynoral tablets computers flonase vs nasacort cialis 60mg commander americain dapoxetina shopping buy orlistat diet pill awc drugstore testosterone cream for women benefits baclofen medication for alcohol abuse treatment xerograx pastillas de leche ropinirole hcl 0.25 mg tablet tinidazole shipped overnight delivery secnidazole tablets 1 gm at walgreens store progesterone suppositories and pregnancy tizanidine side effects taking flexeril 10 mg cyclobenzaprine dosage obat nizoral mometasone cream poison ivy hydroxyzine pamoate 25mg for dogs noroxin shampoo best drugstore foundation for oily skin aprovel 150 mg fentanyl transdermal patches quick online orlistat kamagra gel for sale doxepin medication for neuropathic pain periactin medication cyproheptadine antibiotics forsale on line benemid probalan aristocort r ointment generic hydrochloride trihydrate arthrotec 75 mg coupon internet pharmacy quick delivery buy accutane online with paypal what is triamterene hctz mailinorder colchinchin ciprobay 500 mg side effects cholesterol lowering foods cholesterol lowering diet sotalol atrial fibrillation medameds rapidshare filemedazole duloxetine hcl diarex stone tools cytotec online without prescription online canadian pharmacy viagra echeck fastest online cialis viagra ersatz rezeptfrei order cialis greece carafate 1gm tablets algondones pharmacies lergigan fassler amoxil 875 mg tretinoin 0.05 saroten 25mg sertraline viagra scam sites acnotin acheter diovan medication in mexico paxil for anxiety cheao non generic viagra real viagra to buy fedex viagra generic seroquel 25mg dosage singulair side effects in children anxiety estrace side effects ivf tadapox canada octreotide drip gi bleed canadian overnight betnovate cream medicine fentanyl powder for sale cialis daily for sale advair diskus cost without insurance compra de alli online fuenllana centro educativo cocoyoc zyrtec vs claritin vs allegra vs benadryl nootropil 800 mg pharmacy around the world best meds online ordering periactin canadian doxcycline no prescription adipex p 37.5mg tablets buy dilaudid online medsindia reviews diclofenac potassium brand name prilosec coupons printable stromectol 3mg tablets discontinued rumafen 50mgrxcanadarxdiler cialis 5 mg prix pharmacie zithromax 250mg singapore diprostene en ligne buy letrozole online no prescription how to prevent anastrozole side effects in women what is aldara medication thai pharmacy online where can i get ampicillin quickly gamerz gear tech lanoxin dosages flagyl 200mg shop cialis online vermox sciroppo quanto costa canadian pharmacy levitra professional accutane online approved bactroban ointment for boils abilify maintena side effects ketorolac tromethamine injection uses tantra oral jelly side effects jasmine pilchard gosnell 2014 where to buy prednisolone 5mg diazepam 10mg can i crush clahymedi tablets content analysis in qualitative research organique acai berry price maximum dose levitra nosipren prednisone 20mg for dogs arthritis hip exerceses azulfidine 500 mg para que sirve ampicilina 500 mg injectabil prospect sotalex medication for depression prednisone over counter female viagra samples deliver mercilon tramadol controlled substance in indiana lodine online without precription finasteride 5mgbuy herbal viagra australia cialis generic pharmacies do you need a prescription for lamisil insurance institute for highway safety booster lotrisone cream medication uses ventolin coupon folcres panalab oxa betanoid syrup lexapro withdrawal symptoms side effects forum carprofen 100mg chewable revatio for pulmonary hypertension cost how much does nexium cost at walmart canadian drug store online does pregnenolone cause weight gain albendazole dosage for pinworms nitrofurantoin mono mac 100mg cheap glucovance medication drug dilantin side effects medication albuterol inhaler no prescription usa relafen 500 mg tablets salazopyrin sulfasalazine and folic acid doxycap antibiotics for sinus healt prednisolone to buy lergigan miteqlesofat cialis over counter insulin resistance diet book astelin side effects azelastine nasal spray medic canada triamterene potassium levels normal lanoxin side effects doctor india pharmacy viagra tinazol cream puff chloroquine side effects doctor celexa withdrawal symptoms help kamagrafast brighton homes cardinal stritch university milwaukee deltasone 20mg ambien skelaxin 800 mg side effects euroclinix uk 1channel how i met your mother trazadone without prescription cytoxan side effects prevacid lansoprazole 30mg capsules cholesterol medications with least side effects trimox 500mg capsule picture side effects of dyazide medication unisom side effects overdose tabletten pressendatadalafiilitadalafila inderal for migraines levlen birth control and acne hydroxyzine hcl 25 mg tablet side effects pentrexyl 500 mg capsules drug interactions online ed drugs order cialis from canada pharmacy lasaoren removal guide pharmacy in costa rica lidocaine hydrochloride jelly for hemorrhoids taking ceftin for uti using lamisil cream for nail fungus paxil withdrawal can cause ocd zyvox non prescription cumpara viagra online fara reteta zoloft for anxiety and panic attacks motrin 800 ibuprofen prescription ropinirole 0.25 mg drug side effects dermizol crema bordeaux nebivolol hcl tabletsneurocet precio del viagra en farmacias generic levitra paypal cozaar medication generic does insurance cover viagra quality rx prescriptions doxepin hcl and weight gain codeine money pak vitamin b12 deficiency treatment no script online pharmacy elavil for sleep reviews hydroxyzine hcl 25 mg tablet interactions intimax 100 tablets review obat metronidazole cyrux medicine shoppe zyrtec coupons printable coupons rizatriptan benzoate 10 mg side effects is there a generic for viagra how to make pheromones to attract women primox medicine levitra 10mg duphaston et depo provera lisinopril 20 mg 12.5 mg trazodone overdose treatment albuterol inhaler dosage for kids abilify generic available ic naproxen 500 mg side effects bystolic benefits of buy provera sertraline 50mg tablets atenolol medication information xylocaine injection for knee cheap pain pills no prescription hydrodiuril manufacturer coupon nak beli generic viagra buy gabatin flomax generic name is buy xanax online canadian pharmacies 24 h pharmacy diabete e cialis spain viagra over the counter ketorolac injection package insert drug extra erectile dysfunction levitra consegna rapida when to take letrozole for fertility how to get high on buspar order cialis phone trazodone withdrawal success stories retin a 0 1 super kamagra london risnia medicine dictionary depakote withdrawal symptoms children cialis viagra generika non prescription tetracycline nuvigil and provigil difference donde puedo comprar cytotec sin receta difference between albendazole and mebendazole clonidine 0.2mg where to buy kamagrafast crooksville hot wire liquid water content no prescription viagra online canada zyprexa side effects medication abilify generics rumafen diclofenac sodium 50mg treatment levoxyl recall 2015 chevy what is best ed pill pills that work like viagra erection pills over counter yasminelle tablettalbot compra segura viagra generica viasek 50mg prednisone medrol 4mg dosepak of 21 imigran tablets phil generic for bystolic 10 mg comprare alli levitra side effects for women generic name for dyazide medication trusted tablets pharmacy accutane se clavamox without an rx where to buy real generic viagra percocet 5 325 vs vicodin es 750 ip 103 do u get high off this pill flonase side effects medication cytotec without prescriptions cialis sears pharmacy buying alli from canada achat de viagra au alendronate 70 mg tablets levlen ed paroxetine hcl 20 mg aldactone 100 mg when to take viagra for best results confidex reviews of 50 cycline enterprise rental car potassium chloride 20 meq sunsuria development sdn bhd directors chair voltaren retard 100 aurochem laboratories tadalafil atosil nebenwirkungen chemotherapie dikloron jelena oxybutynin 10 mg er side effects human pheromones and attraction bupropion 300 mg no prescription absence of thyroxine would result in how does viagra work after ejaculation clomid pregnancy symptoms safeway to buy geniric cilias phenergan no prescription medicstar reviews on 50 eutirox 75 mcg of synthroid tantalum metal suppliers zanaflex dosage 4mg diclofenac sodium alcohol abilify coupons savings rogaine foam review thin hair antibiotics without prescription uk flomax drug medication promethazine codeine cough syrup cicloferon aciclovir cream 5 viagra details in hindi viagra reliable generic supply side effects prednisone 20 mg zenerx side effects cheap viagra tablets for sale buy cialis in canada acheter colchicine viagra online usa anxiety attacks vs panic attacks can i buy albuterol over the counter metoprolol succ er 25mg binotal 500 mg avelox for uti infection viagra price in mumbai where can i one buyeao polar meds pharmacy acheter finasteride propecia manfaat obat grathazon kaplet pay by check pharmacy ventolin dosage progynova pills without prescription ovral birth control side effects buying levitra on cod zetia coupons schering plough viagra sold in usa raymeds complaints against attorneys buy crestor online no prescription estrace cream side effects on men lumigan eye drops januvia and pancreatic cancer incidence prostata sintomas y prevencion de enfermedades femara side effects breast cancer australian pharmacies no prescription wellbutrin xl side effects forum clomid 100mg online canadian pharmacy radio ad viagara $5 paxil to buy uk nizoral 2 shampoo walgreens clomiphene citrate 50 mg tawat cytoxan side effects in dogs what is a thyroxine free blood test diflucan on amazon cipa pharmacy price viagra phenergan next day air delivery anxiety disorder symptoms in children forzest 20 reviews navidoxine meclizine hydrochloride antivert arthritis gloves condolences for loss of pet samonas prime moving doxycycline 100mg capsules dosage crestor price philippines 150 catafast dosage for amoxicillin cialis under the tongue oracef 250mg testosteroneorlistat zyban smoking weight loss adipex 37.5 mg coupons mebendazole antiox side effects propranolol in usa euthyrox 100 buy plavix manufacturers metformin pharmacy europe generic daily cialis anxiety medication listing buy verapamilo online comprar viagra barata healthyman viagra pillshealthymanshealthymen prednisone online order malegra 100 tablets propecia for women results mirapex lawsuit patients viagra special offers cheap xenical cymbalta and weight gain can you drink alcohol after zpack luvox cr withdrawal symptoms glucovance 5 500 dose no prescription cialis minocycline acne treatment duration eutirox 50 side effects increasing metabolism after 60 ocean fitness myambutol 400mg amoxicillin clindamycin phosphate gel usp 1 side effects vitamin world coupons 40 off viagra pills on sale aprovel 300mg side effect order zestril from canada rx one phamercy zofran dosage for children by weight para que sirve amantadina clorfenamina paracetamol nolvadex for men side effects risk rhinathiol infant syrup cleocin antibiotic treatment side effects daly cialis canada buy viagra online in praha canadian online pharmacy fast delivery unisom for morning sickness safe romanian pharmacy online olanzapine dosage range zantac coupons 2014 bystolic coupon card online parmacy tinidazole treatment for amoebiasis prozac reviews pharmacie amaİricaine online duetact contraindications for electrical stimulation canadian no prescription needed motrin ingredients dosage posso assumere viagra con priligy cialis online cheap vigrx plus reviews ingredients thyroxine side effects free propecia sample clopidogrel bisulfate tabs levamisole wormer for chickens elimite cream medicine over the counter phenergan dosage for adults buy albenza onadron simple minds order cialis online in canada reviews content validity example carprofen for dogs rimadyl vs aspirin starcef capsule ulaval duvadilan tablet 10mg differin side effects adapalene fasigyn tinidazole dosage levitra manufacturer coupon walgreens stores 5 minoxidil for women side effects can i use latisse for eyebrows tristan shone implicane sertralina para nexium 40mg online order china zestril lisinopril buy brandcialis usa online pharmacy buy prednisone dog buying viagra oline frome mexico lipothin review clomiphene 60 pills 25 mg no script usa how much are viagra polls at mejiers discount voucher wellbutrin weight loss forum buy augmentin on line misoprostol in south african pharmacies cabergoline for sale macrodantin side effects dose viagra express mail promethazine codeine dosage albendazole over the counter uk didi ki suhagraat diamox sequels 500mg capsules pliva 433 nebivolol hydrochloride nizoral shampoo alcohol and cialis topamax dosage for weight loss topiramate
Home Biz of Baseball - Interviews Interview - Marvin Miller - Former Director - MLBPA

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 1074 guests online

Atom RSS

Interview - Marvin Miller - Former Director - MLBPA PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 11
PoorBest 
Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 18 July 2004 12:00

Marvin MillerStarting in 1965 with his election to the MLB Players Association, Marvin Miller changed the face of MLB forever by turning a loosely knit players association into one of, if not the, strongest Unions in the Nation.

In this interview, Miller talks of issues such as privacy rights and the BALCO case, the player pension plan, the 2002 CBA, and much more.


When the book on SABR is written, it will never be said that its member base doesn’t have its priorities straight. I say this since the topic: “Who would be on baseball’s Mt. Rushmore?” made the rounds via email this year within my regional chapter. George Washington? Thomas Jefferson? Nah, let’s get serious and talk baseball.

It made for light and interesting discussions. Rickey was mentioned by most. Hulbert by some. Landis, by others. But, Marvin Miller was on every list. There was no question about his place in history.

A few days later, I was looking into the Introduction of Miller’s book, “A Whole Different Ballgame” which Bill James had penned. It seems that we were not alone in this assessment:

“If ever baseball buys itself a mountain and starts carving faces in it, one of the first men to go up is sure to be Marvin Miller.”

So there it is.

Marvin Miller may be the biggest lightning rod the game has ever seen. The creation of the Players Union initiated something of a war with MLB that borders on Jihad. MLB management loathes him. To the rank-and-file players at the time, he must have been seen as something just short of God.

At the time of his arrival, and the eventual breaking of the Reserve Clause, he was viewed by many as a harbinger of the “end of baseball as we knew it.” Surely, the maverick Players Union would destroy Major League Baseball. He elevated the pay of players, created the free agency system in place today, and helped provide benefits, such as a solid pension plan, that allows players to do more than simply survive after retirement. The changes, however, altered the public perception. Players no longer were part of a city – part of the family or “one of the guys.” Now, the players were “out of touch with the common man” and “looking out to make a buck.”

Instead of baseball’s demise, baseball grew exponentially, and both sides amassed untold wealth. Distrust flourished. The Players Union, in concert with management, set into motion repeated strikes and lockouts. Fans venomously cursed both sides. “The million dollar players should be happy to be involved in a game children play. And, the multi-million dollar owners should quit crying poverty and be happy they’re as rich as they are,” were constant themes.

For better or worse, baseball has been forever changed since the MLBPA was recognized in 1966. There is no turning back, although I think the owners would like nothing better.

In framing this interview, I knew that a man with the impact of Miller had already been questioned in great detail. So, this interview focuses more on the present than the past. He is still a man of great conviction. The printed word here will fail to convey the nuances and inflections when the topics of Constitutional rights and the BALCO Trail were raised. Or, how he slowly and purposefully reminded me that the Press never has fully understood what the Union can, and cannot, do for the former players not covered by the pension plan.

What’s ironic is that the chance for Miller to be immortalized in stone is probably better than his induction into the Hall of Fame. But all that aside, never let it be said that he isn’t one of, if not the, greatest men that has impacted professional baseball. - Maury Brown


BizBall: When you were elected head of the MLBPA in 1966, the players were portrayed by some as being nothing more than indentured servants of management. You organized and galvanized the loose knit players’ association into the force that it is today. It seems since that time that the pendulum has been moving in the Union’s favor since. Is that still the case, or was the outcome of the 2002 CBA a step back for the MLBPA?

Miller: It is difficult to have a valid opinion when you are not part of the negotiations. You are forced to make a judgment from the outside just looking at the contract itself and the various positions. What you don’t know is--what I don’t know at least is what were the factors that deem themselves important to consider in taking was now perceived to be taking backward steps.

I am not ducking the question, but I really don’t know the answer to it. Let me explain by first saying, looking at the contract itself I would have to conclude along with others that those were backward steps. But then I force myself to look at a little below the picture, and one that is kind of startling when you think about it, that is that I think the present leadership of the players’ Union has had to contend with something that I never did, and that is they have had to contend with a membership consisting of not one single player who ever had any baseball life prior to the Union. Not one player is able to fully evaluate what the Union has meant to players as a group, and that is a very tough problem to contend with. I think it has to temper any judgment about steps backward.


BizBall: Do you feel that the public’s appetite for MLB would have been severely diminished if a lockout or strike would have occurred in 2002?

Miller: I think temporarily, but I am not one of those who ever believed the propaganda of labor disputes would be the cause of a permanent loss of fans. It never has been and I doubt it ever will.

BizBall: Is the public’s concern something that comes to the negotiating table, or is the overriding concern of a representative of his or her labor Union to get as much for their respective constituency as possible?

Miller: I think you have to bring it down to the cases. For example, in all of those years when I was with the Steel Workers Union, there probably was not a single dispute that wasn’t settled in the White House, and the reason, of course, was that a nationwide steel dispute heavily impinged on the nation’s economy.

When steel went down in those days, pretty soon so did automobiles and so did residence and building construction and onward, and you were dealing with widespread increasing unemployment. So, it was both a public issue and a government issue. In that kind of situation, public opinion is
MLBPAextremely important because sooner or later, after it ends up or gets to the White House, pretty soon the Congress is there, and that becomes a serious matter.

I have never had that kind of a feeling in baseball even though, if you were to judge by the amount of ink that the media spent on it, you would assume it was a matter of great public concern. But, when you examined it, it really wasn’t. My concern in those days was not the public relations aspect in the same sense that a steel public relations reaction in steel was. My concern in those days was that if this gets loud enough, the players will be affected and that’s all. Because I never considered it rising to the level of a national emergency dispute like the mega-steel dispute and nor would I consider that the so called public relations damage would be more than fleeting and small.

BizBall: In 2002 there was considerable talk of a Worldwide Amateur draft taking place. Since that time the issue seems to have been swept under the carpet. What is your take on the concept of the worldwide draft?

Miller: You mean to remove the exemptions if there have been?

BizBall: Yes.

Miller: I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it a lot except for the extent that I have never approved of the idea of a private industry having the right to draft anybody. At no time, for no reason. To me a draft has to do with a governmental function in the time of emergency.

BizBall: Also in 2002 the main topic of conversation was the elimination of teams via contraction by the League. There is verbiage within the last CBA that opens the topic back up, at least in principle, for 2006. Was contraction a straw man in the last CBA and do you feel it will be an issue in the next CBA with the current Union?

Miller: I think first that it was a straw man. I think it was a kind of double-barreled power ploy. It was a ploy in a sense that they were trying to scare the Union that it was going to have a loss of  membership and I think it was a ploy and the usual communities who might balk at public financing of baseball stadiums.

In that sense, it was a clever ploy but not really an effective one.


BizBall: The Expos were a part of the contraction scenario in the last CBA. Since then they have become vagabonds of the League with "home" games being played in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Stuck in the middle have been the players. Did you feel the Players Union represented the Expos players properly on this matter?

Miller: No. I am not sure they were treated right at all.

BizBall: Did the League create this monster of a situation by expanding too fast in the early ‘90s?

Miller: I don’t know about that connection, but I do not think that you can view the expansion as being too much or too little, except in relation to the demand for them. In other words, if you look at the economics of it, with each expansion they raised the entry level price and yet had eager buyers literally standing in line, holding their hats in hand, hoping their bids for a new franchise would be rewarded.

Given that kind of economics and given the fact that the demand was always there and at an increasing price, it’s hard to say if expansion was too rapid – too rapid for what? How do you measure these things except the fact that when they offer the opportunity for expansion, eager applicants came forward, even with tremendously rising price of buying a new franchise?


BizBall: Do you think that it’s possible that expansion was done simply to offset the damages incurred when it was ruled that there was collusion within the League to keep player salaries down? Over the past few seasons, there has been a dramatic decline in the rate in which player salaries have risen. Collusion is being discussed by the MLBPA, and to that end, the Union has requested that Agents keep notes on contract negotiations. Management points to the overall national economy, which has been in decline, as the driving factor. What are your views on the matter?

Miller: I think management’s argument that the general economy ought to be looked at as a factor is probably very weak when you consider past recessions and the rise of baseball salaries. The salaries continue to rise--no matter what the factor of the national economy was--for the simple reason that they had been underpriced for so long that a lot of steam had built up and salaries have kept going no mater what the general economy was. And I would expect that, over time, there might be some leveling off, but without being able to demonstrate it if you want my feeling, my feeling is that collusion was playing a part in the last year or two.

BizBall: On the issue of steroids, and more specifically the BALCO case. Recently there was news that the names of some of the players associated with testing samples were seized by the IRS as part of the Grand Jury investigation. Do you feel that steroid testing, as a whole, is an encroachment of privacy rights for the players?

Miller: Well, I do, but I think the more serious issue really is the attempt by the government through the Justice Department through pressure from the President through continuing pressure by Senator McCain; I think this gets beyond the privacy question. This gets to be one which, when you put it together with the fact that the records that they were trying to seize were testing  records made by the parties who had agreed that it would be a confidential, anonymous test as a first step in developing a testing program. I think the government’s attempt to infringe on that is outrageous. I think what you are dealing with, once the government steps in with that, what you’re dealing with is a violation of the constitutional rights of people. By that I mean it’s one thing if an employer makes it a labor-management issue. It’s quite another when the government says, "I now will subpoena records of confidential tests and I will use the material," which, after all is tantamount to saying, "I will require self-incrimination and I may send some of you to jail." I think the sports media, like so much of the other media, is just asleep on this issue.

BizBall: Do you have any regrets over the years that the vested parties of the MLBPA pension plan did not include more of the population of former ballplayers; i.e. Pete Coscarart et al?

Miller: Well, again the media is terribly at fault in this. The fact is that the player’s Union all through the years, starting with when it became a legitimate Union in 1966, in every single pension negotiation has dealt with former players already retired in a far more generous manner than any other employees in the United States. That is, in negotiation after negotiation, the player’s Union treated former players, who as long as they had even one day of service ten years before those negotiations--then later one day of service in any of the 15 years prior to those negotiations--it treated such employees as if they were still active. No other pension plan in the United States has ever done that, ever!

Now when you get to
, that’s different. That’s the group of players who never were part of the benefit plan. They were not members. And, they were not members, many of them,Pete Coscarart because the players of that period when the pension plan first went into existence in 1947, perhaps because they were dealing with an inadequate amount of money to make a decent pension plan, agreed to the owners’ proposal that anybody who was not on a major league roster on the last day of the 1946 season or the first day of the 1947 season, no matter how many years of major league service he had, would not be a member of the plan.

Now think about it. That meant that somebody with say ten or twenty years of service who had been released before the last day of the 1946 season was treated as if he had never been in the major leagues. This was done by the players before there was any organization. This was done by their fellow players. Now, I’m not saying that because that happened nothing should be done--far from it. I am saying that the people who have written about this are mighty careless in blaming the Union, which didn’t even exist then. But more than that, they don’t seem to understand two things. Number one is that players well, what the most important point is that the Union under law, is not the representative of a former employee. I don’t know if you know that. Two Supreme Court decisions state that an employer is not even required to negotiate with the Union with regard to a former employee. That’s true whether it is baseball or steel or anything. A former employee is not a member of the bargaining unit so an employer is free to say, "Not only won’t I do anything I won’t even talk to you about it." And if the Union were to strike on that issue the Union would be liable for all damages occurring to the employee’s business. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is, the writers who write about this, who are careless about this in my opinion, is that it’s not even clear that a Union would have the legal right to now negotiate inclusion into a pension plan of people who it didn’t represent, and who had never been covered; because the assets in that plan belong to the members of the plan under law. They do not belong to people who were never members of the plan and you have a very serious question of law involved. I don’t know the answer to it, but it is no simple matter.

But, I come back to my original point. This notion that people who were never members of the plan that the Union becomes the one obliged to do something, or the players -- the current players -- that just doesn’t hold water. The employer, if anybody, is responsible for the pensionless status of its former employees not the current employees. The employer is responsible.

I once asked a writer of the New York Times who was writing a lot of blather about this, whether he thought that he and his fellow Times’ reporters were liable for the pensionless status of former writers of the Times at a time when there was no pension plan.

BizBall: What was his reaction?

Miller: He said, "Well, no." (laughs) So why are the present players obligated?

BizBall: As a former Union head, what was your take on the MLUA and Ritchie Phillips’ ill-fated strategy of having the Umpires resign en masse?

Miller: (Laughing) I think the foolishness of it has been demonstrated.

BizBall: Are you surprised it took as long as it did for teams to resort to the strategy of non-tendering large numbers of players who wouldn't otherwise be eligible for free agency?

Miller: I’m more surprised that the Union has not stepped in to prevent it.

BizBall: From an MLBPA perspective, would it be good to have big-market teams fund incentives for small-market teams to field more competitive teams, as opposed to current revenue sharing which arguably doesn’t encourage small-market teams?

Miller: It’s hard to say. Revenue sharing may well have a part to play in terms of competitive balance. I’m not convinced that it does; other people disagree. I think, for example, even prior to  this agreement, involving both revenue sharing and so called luxury tax, I think the competitive balance among all the teams in baseball is probably better than it was when I was a young fan. When I was a young fan, I think it’s eminently provable that there’s far more balance now than when the Yankees would win fourteen pennants in sixteen years and when taken together, the Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Giants would win everything almost every year. So, I’m not sure revenue sharing is a constructive thing at all.

BizBall: There has been considerable concern in Wisconsin about how Miller Park was funded, with a considerable portion of that coming from the public. Milwaukee has since then set team payrolls so low it has created poor-quality product on the field. A salary floor might possibly prevent some of these problems. Is a topic of a salary floor a step toward creation of a salary cap?

Miller: Not necessarily. I mean, there’s always been a salary floor ever since the Union negotiated minimum salaries. I don’t think that having a floor necessarily means you have to have a cap. We have a minimum wage in this country, but we don’t have a maximum wage.

BizBall: How do you view your role in the history of the game? Given the history between management and the MLBPA do you think you’ll get the votes to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame?

Miller: (chuckles) No. I think the votes were never there. I found it interesting. But [it was] kind of uninformed when so many people said just because they changed the method of voting for non-players from the old veterans committee to all of the living members of the Hall of Fame that that necessarily meant I would be eligible. (chuckles) I never agreed with that. I think it left out an awful lot of factors.

One of the reasons I didn’t agree with all of this, is that I think anybody who has ever been a Union leader has to have gained some skill at being able to predict votes in advance. I think that what’s disastrous for a labor leader is to not have that skill.

For example, to call for a strike vote and have the membership turn it down. That’s the end of credibility. Or for a Union leader to go into difficult negotiations, reach a settlement, and then submit it to the membership for ratification and have it rejected. That’s almost the end of the Union.

So, you really have to learn how to forecast votes in advance, and one of the things you do is look at the facts.

Fact number one is that an awful lot of players in the Hall of Fame are pre-Union. They never had anything to do with the Union back in that terrible period.

Number two, is that many of those players and many of the players who were playing in the period in which in which I was involved, after they were through playing, became employed by management. A whole different mindset is set up.

Just for example Monte Irvin in the Hall of Fame is a very nice guy, but the last fifteen years in this working life he worked for Bowie Kuhn. You wouldn’t vote for me would you? And it’s not just Monte Irvin. There are people on the Cubs and people on the Red Sox and Hall of Fame who have worked for management and are working for management. There’s this fine great ball player in the Hall of Fame, who’s vice president of a major league team and so on.

And then there are members of the press who vote who are the newspaper reporters wing of the Hall of Fame. While some of those might vote for me many would not. There were a lot of them who were, if not in the owners’ pockets, at least on their laps. There are the radio and TV announcers who interestingly enough in almost every case cannot be announcers in radio and TV unless the clubs that they are telecasting or broadcasting agree. They hold the veto power over them.

And then finally, if all else fails, to make anybody understand how the votes go, if you have to get 75% of the vote and you do what the Hall of Fame people did two years ago or a year ago, put fifteen people on the ballot. You are making it almost statistically improbable that anyone is going to get 75% of the vote and in fact, no one did.

In the history of the United States, this is just to give you a contrast, while occasionally there are three candidates or four candidates, in most cases there are two. And with only two candidates on the ballot, except for George Washington in his first term, who ran unopposed, with only two people on the ballot--in all the rest of the elections no presidential candidate ever got anywhere near 75% of the vote.

BizBall: Do you feel that there will ever be a truly independent commissioner like we saw in Kenesaw Landis?

Miller: I don’t think there’s ever been an independent commissioner, including Landis. If you think about it at all, it was never meant to be that way. Landis had some assets that enabled him to  appear to be independent. That is, there was a fear asset. Baseball was truly shaken by the Black Sox scandal. And they felt grateful to be able to get a federal judge to come off the bench and become commissioner. And what they never wanted to have happen was to have a former federal judge like Landis resign and blast them for something and so that gave him a certain power. But he was never truly independent. Nor can any commissioner be independent when he doesn’t have a dime in the game. Things don’t work that way. If the owners of the game who own franchises disapprove of a commissioner it’s the simplest thing in the world to get rid of him, contract or no contract, it’s simply about paying off the contract, and every commissioner knows that. The result is that every commissioner except Landis, who died in office and Bart Giamatti who died in office after a short term, every commissioner sooner or later is fired. It’s not always reported that way. Sometimes it’s reported as a failure to renew his contract. Sometimes it’s reported as a suggestion that he take a pension and retire. Sometimes it’s more frank than that; he’s fired. But looked at realistically, except for the two who have died in office, everyone has been fired except the present one and eventually he will be too.

BizBall: What do you feel Bud Selig’s legacy will be?

Miller: (chuckles) Well, you know it’s hard to know what Selig’s legacy will be. You know I am absolutely amused at the way media treats people when they’re gone. You know. I think the Reagan fiasco is a case in point. How they will treat Selig after he’s gone, I don’t know. I am concerned that he has just been oblivious to the danger and the damage done by ignoring the conflict of interest that’s involved. I think that is a permanent damage. How historians will treat that, I do not know.

BizBall: What about your legacy? Have you had time to reflect on that? Is that something you care to look upon or comment about?

Miller: (chuckles) Well, you know every once in awhile you are forced to when you get to be my age. I’m referring to the fact that former commissioner Fay Vincent is involved in a project now, in connection with the Hall of Fame, in which he is interviewing various living people, obviously, who have had a part in baseball history. They are doing this project on film for the benefit of future generations of fans and scholars. As Fay said, when you do a project of this type, you interview the older members first, (laughs) to make sure they are still around. Certainly, you are forced to think about this, but in terms of things I would hope for, is that I would be remembered in terms of having playing a major part in building the first legitimate and still remaining the only legitimate trade Union in the team sports movement. A Union that has demonstrated to be one of great solidarity and integrity and unity and accomplishment. And that’s good enough.

The following interview was originally published on the SABR Business of Baseball website, and can be read here: SABR Business of Baseball Interviews Page

Interview conducted by Maury Brown on 7/13/04. Edited by Jeff Sackmann.

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?