Steinbrenner and Miller not in the Hall of Fame? LOL

December 11, 2013 | Drew Forrester

George Steinbrenner and Marvin Miller didn’t make it into the baseball Hall of Fame?

OK, that’s fine.  If you don’t want two of the most influential people in the history of the sport recognized for their contributions, so be it.

Steinbrenner, personal flaws notwithstanding (and, like a lot of extraordinarily wealthy people, he wasn’t the nicest guy in the room), gave every owner in baseball (and, frankly, in sports) the blueprint on how to do it.

Easy summary — Make the fans pay for it.  If you reward them with a product they can be proud of, they’ll pay for it and gladly do so.

George Steinbrenner was the guy who figured it all out.  It’s about television and revenue and re-investing in the franchise.  Sure, his market could support a larger investment in that payroll based on the income they generated, but what would have made Steinbrenner more of a heel — bringing in $400 million in revenue and only spending $80 million of it on his product or bringing in $400 million in revenue and putting half of that back into the playing roster to produce an organization his fan base would continue to support?

These days, the Steinbrenner plan has been adopted — successfully in most cases — by the Red Sox, Tigers, Rangers, Angels, Dodgers, Mariners, Nationals and Orioles.  Well, actually, we haven’t figured out the third part of the equation here in Baltimore.  We have the TV network and the revenue, but we don’t reinvest those funds in the product.  Someday, we’ll get it right.

George Steinbrenner belongs in the Hall of Fame just as much as Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa.

So does Marvin Miller, honestly.

In fact, Miller belongs in one minute ahead of Steinbrenner.

Whether or not you and I like the fact that barely mediocre players can scoop up $2 million a year for hitting .250, the fact remains that Miller’s intestinal fortitude on behalf of the players forever changed the landscape of the blueprint Steinbrenner developed.

Miller was the guy who said — “You’re not going to take advantage of the employees.”

Did he strong-arm the owners and the sport?  Sure.

Was he, in part, responsible for a segment of the fan base becoming forever turned-off by a sport that paid people entirely more money than the effort required to perform their duties should have allowed?  No doubt.

But, Marvin Miller wasn’t employed by the fans and his daily goal wasn’t to appease them.

Marvin Miller worked for the players and his job was to fight the owners on behalf of them.

He did that at such a remarkable rate of success he forever changed the landscape of compensation for anyone who plays baseball for a living.

Personally, there are a lot of things about the Marvin Miller era that I still believe are ruinous to the sport and the competitive nature of 30 different “units” trying to compete with one another and do it on a somewhat level playing field.

But, Marvin Miller didn’t work for me.

He worked for the players.

And, as we know with every sport, the game is always about the players.

The fans matter.  The owners matter.  The front office folks matter.

Without players, there’s no game.

Marvin Miller knew that better than anyone.

So did Steinbrenner.


7 Comments For This Post

  1. Dan Says:

    But, Marvin Miller didn’t work for me.

    He worked for the players. Right ,( HE didn’t work for baseball either )

    And, as we know with every sport, the game is always about the players.

    The fans matter. The owners matter. The front office folks matter.

    Without players, there’s no game. (There are ALWAYS more players)
    ()- Without The Owners there IS a game , but nobody’s watching
    and nobody’s getting paid ))-
    Miller belongs in the “players hall of Fame ”
    not Baseballs .
    As I recall Miller is responsible for protecting his players from Drug Testing (how did that work out) and the current pay structure .
    If anyone thinks that was and is good for Baseball
    then vote for Marvin. I wouldn’t

  2. lakerboy Says:

    Marvin Miller’s legacy is that it will be very challenging to put a consistent competitive product on the field for middle/low tier markets. And yes, the players should revere Marvin Miller. However, he ruined baseball for the majority of fans in the small markets. There really is very little competitive balance in baseball. There are aberrations like Tampa Bay, but by and large the large markets with the deep pockets obtain and retain talented players, to the detrement of everyone else.
    Look at the most popular sports league in world, the NFL. They have a salary cap, and mostly all the clubs can be competitive if they are well managed. It usually comes down to the last week as to which teams make the play-offs. The competitive balance maintains interest in the different cities, and makes for exciting regular season finishes.
    I would like to put Marvin Miller in the Hall of Shame. As a fan, that’s where I think he best belongs.
    (DF: It’s Marvin Miller’s fault the owners never had the balls to stand up to the Player’s Association and institute a salary cap? Hardly. It’s Marvin Miller’s fault that major league baseball put two franchises in Florida when it has been quite clear for the better part of 15 years now that Florida won’t support MLB? Marvin Miller ruined baseball for fans in small markets? Not at all. Players need representation. He gave it to them. I can make a lot of arguments about why baseball has fallen behind the NFL over the years, but I don’t think it has much to do with Marvin Miller. It has to do with the greed of the owners.)

  3. unitastoberry Says:

    I don’t agree on Marvin Miller at all. Free Agency has benefited the players but not the fans overall. I have more issues with the NFL HOF. Ray Guy,Jerry Kramer,Mike Curtis,Art Modell, just to name a few and Andre Tippet gets in? Just like all things human HOFs are flawed.

  4. Dan Says:

    U to Berry , are you saying you think Miller should get in
    the Baseball HOF ?

  5. unitastoberry Says:

    Dan I’m a no vote on Marvin Miller from a fans perspective. George Steinbrenner put some great teams together and stole Reggie Jackson from us because of Marvin Miller but I would vote yes on him going in.

  6. Chris Says:

    Totally agree with you on both points. The players make a ton of money but its because the owners also make more than a ton of money. Without him, who knows where they are today (and owners would still blackmail cities for free stadiums). They deserve a fair peice of the giant money pie that baseball has and he was the one that originally fought for it. To the people that think he ruined the small markets, that’s bullsh*t. You only need to look at the Rays, cardinals, the pirates last year, the Athletics, the Reds, and the braves. Free agency didn’t ruin small/mid market teams…stupid ownership/bad management did.

    I dislike the Yankees (I HATE the redsox) but Steinbrenner should be loved for choosing winning over everything. He only figured out how to make more profits to buy more players. Plus he was AWSOMELY entertaining during interviews.

  7. Ralph Says:

    Drew, Marvin Miller was not a communist and I’m glad you didnt say such because you are fond about throwing the term around. He is named after my favorite singer (Marvin Gaye) and actor (Lee Marvin) and neither of them were Communist. Steinbrenner did a great deal for the Yankees and I loved going to see them in Tampa in Spring. That Seinfeld stuff showed the “Big Guy” had a sense of humor since I read he wrote a lot of “his” dialouge.

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