free credit check online no credit card needed canada types of credit cards available for tourists bank of america prepaid credit card to build credit credit card cibc lost bad credit loan lenders uk 4 major credit cards companies best american airlines credit card 2013 best corporate credit cards singapore credit card rewards taxable 2012 guaranteed credit cards australia value city credit card new credit card apply online pnb hrs best buy credit card payment credit card payment calculator multiple interest rates best travel credit cards 2013 chase credit card services elgin il how to transfer money from hdfc master credit card to bank account bank of america student credit card limit best online credit card merchant services best quick cash loans payday loan lenders not brokers no credit check how to get a refund from a credit card transaction credit card uk virgin credit card log on real direct payday loan lender check the status of a chase credit card application best business credit cards for gas uk credit cards accepted in cuba quick bad credit payday loans chase visa card phone number credit card fraud punishment pennsylvania do you get credit checked for a company credit card canada trust credit card login how much does it cost to accept credit card payments online chase united credit card review hdfc credit card help desk chennai redeeming hdfc credit cards reward points best first credit card australia southwest credit card offer 2012 cash advance online columbus ohio how to calculate your credit card interest payment o interest credit cards for bad credit mastercard credit cards usa bank of america credit card phone numbers if i have no credit how do i get a credit card top 10 credit card issuers best travel rewards cards 2012 paypal vs credit card conversion rates sears canada credit card united mileage plus credit card comparison aqua credit card uk address ipad app for accepting credit cards credit cards numbers and security code free that work guaranteed approval credit cards for bad credit in australia small online loans uk my premier credit card pay online standard chartered credit card status helpline number best secured credit card to rebuild credit canada top rated travel rewards credit card commonwealth bank credit card cash advance fees best credit card transfer deals nz walmart credit card canada application credit card reward programs best credit card approval rates chase credit card transfer fee cash advance online reviews is there a best buy credit card app what is the best no fee credit card in canada ge card services care credit instant paypal virtual credit card capital one cash rewards credit cards review sbi credit card visa verification icici credit card emi interest calculator chase walt disney credit card 1st premier credit card reviews hdfc bank corporate credit card login travel rewards credit cards for students what credit cards does walmart canada accept redwood credit union secured credit cards credit card debt settlement first premier bank credit card pay online can i get a credit card without a bank account how to do cash advance on bpi credit card apply for a joint capital one credit card best visa credit card 2013 apply for credit cards to rebuild bad credit hdfc bank international credit card charges virgin credit card interest free balance transfer apply for a credit card 0 interest 2013 best credit card processing with merchant accounts bank of america credit card phone number lost apply online for credit card with bad credit loan against sbi credit card how credit card processing works ppt how much money to get a black credit card paypal credit card processing app pay wells fargo student loan with credit card american express secured credit card 2012 all credit cards in one buy prepaid uk credit card does bank of america offer prepaid credit cards standard chartered credit card offers in india hdfc bank credit card 5 cash back credit card charges abroad lloyds icici virtual credit card india capital one credit card review uk dubai first credit card customer care chase credit card prepaid how long does it take to get a lloyds credit card barclays credit card ppi number 0 interest credit cards 24 months ifsc code for hdfc credit card payment bangalore fake credit card number uk credit card banks in us credit card minimum payment percentage amount cibc credit card online shopping money saving expert credit card payment calculator virgin credit card uk contact number apply for a mastercard debit card westpac low interest rate credit card barclays credit card payment center create free virtual credit card united chase credit card payments best credit union credit cards 2013 apply for credit card hsbc bank best credit cards for building credit history credit card scanner for computer cash advance credit card atm uk credit card debt statistics best balance transfer credit cards instant decision metal security credit card holder credit card authorization form hyatt regency make ann taylor credit card payment request credit limit increase capital one apply for credit card with bad credit and no processing fee unsecured loans with bad credit auckland how does tesco credit card points work dillards credit card login compare credit cards travel insurance small personal loans with bad credit halifax credit card minimum monthly payment zero interest credit card calculator cash advance fee hsbc credit card bank of america cash rewards for business mastercard? credit card aib visa credit card services texaco chevron gas credit card starwood preferred guest(r) credit card from american express will opening new credit cards hurt my credit score maurices credit card mailing address hdfc bank credit card helpline no pune hess gas credit cards applications chase reward cards redeem free virtual credit card uk activate my virgin credit card best credit cards to apply for first time real visa credit card information what are some of the best credit cards to have how long halifax credit card application credit cards after being discharged from bankruptcy hdfc bank diners club international credit card online payday lenders bank of america secured credit card after bankruptcy ge money bank store credit card list tesco bank 0 credit card opening new credit cards hurt credit score top credit cards in canada 2013 chase slate credit card balance transfer limit call sears credit card services canada credit card rewards compare apply for credit card with no credit or bad credit can i get a credit card after bankruptcy victorias secret credit card number location guaranteed approval credit cards no security deposit credit score range how to commit credit card fraud online chevron gas credit card application vanilla mastercard amounts santander credit card deals for existing customers cibc credit card lost upgrade from secured credit card capital one discover student card insufficient credit history united credit card bonus should you pay off credit card debt with 401k loan mortgage loans with bad credit cash back credit cards reviews best credit card to rebuild credit quickly secured credit cards to rebuild credit no credit check free iphone applications without credit card pnb credit card application form download bank of america visa cash card who inherits credit card debt after death real valid visa credit card number credit card terminal rental need us credit card for itunes low interest no credit credit cards southwest credit card free flight after first purchase neiman marcus credit card services phone number canada post reloadable prepaid credit card usable credit card numbers 2013 credit cards for poor credit scores uk pay value city credit card what is the best credit card to get instant cash loans online unemployed new payday lenders no credit check axis bank credit card online application status instant online cash loans the best credit card to have now best credit cards in canada 2012 get credit card online bad credit pnc secured credit card login credit cards application how to accept credit cards online small business gap visa credit card customer service phone number compare no fee credit cards australia visa credit card merchant fees instant payday lenders only what does interest charge on cash advances mean ipad credit card app best hsbc 0 credit card offers payday loan no credit check no fee thermal paper rolls for credit card machine credit card travel rewards comparison american express student credit cards apply car loan with bad credit and repossession wells fargo visa platinum credit card rewards check your capital one credit card application status chase canada credit card processing speedy cash loans complaints pay tesco credit card bank transfer phone number for capital one credit card application how do credit cards work amazon credit card travel rewards instant payday lenders no credit check unsecured credit cards for bad credit not prepaid chase bank secured credit card list of payday lenders only no credit credit card capital one secured credit card with rewards easy online payday loans consolidate credit cards with low interest loan check chevron credit card application status 6019 - brandsmart usa credit card top ten best credit cards to have credit cards with low apr for bad credit accepting credit card settlement offer apply for wells fargo secured credit card first horizon credit card free credit card machines for small business uk do prepaid credit cards help rebuild credit ge money credit card online services myer visa card review chase credit card 0 percent interest credit card limit reduced below balance hsbc uk lost credit cards cash reward credit cards taxable signed credit card verification form average credit card limit by age mbna cash back credit card canada magnum cash advance payday loan how do i get approved for a credit card with no credit credit card deal bank credit card offers pay as you go credit cards canada how to pay standard chartered credit card bill through neft online apply for credit card hsbc bank delta american express gold credit card best student credit cards with no credit history security credit card holder ipad credit card reader natwest business credit cards online login td green visa card grace period mbna canada credit card payments cpp credit card protection insurance visa desjardins credit card application status standard chartered credit card apply now virtual visa gift card canada toyota rewards visa credit card website money supermarket credit cards abroad compare credit cards rewards canada credit cards with high gas rewards barclays credit card ppi insurance how to redeem bonus points of hdfc credit card apply for sears credit card hsbc tfl annual pass gold card department store credit cards canada credit card processing app for blackberry vanquis credit card login login online bad credit loans instant decision does credit card debt consolidation hurt your credit icici online credit card application easy credit cards to get approved for with bad credit canada pay off credit card debt with personal loan store credit cards and bad credit best merchant cash advances hdfc flight offer credit card sanrio hello kitty credit card can you buy stuff online with a prepaid visa card maybank online credit card application philippines jail time for credit card fraud uk student visa credit card bank of america barclays bank credit card sign in best cash advance online reviews best credit card for rebuilding credit after bankruptcy chase freedom credit card customer service rbc royal bank credit card low rate balance transfer target visa card application pay walmart credit card bill online bank of america credit cards customer service top credit card payment processors arco gas business credit card 24 month 0 interest credit card lloyds tsb student credit card apply online what is 6-digit approval code on credit card hdfc credit card statement period black and gold card provident instant cash advance online no credit check whats a good credit card to build credit anz platinum card indonesia apply for first premier secured credit card axis bank credit cards login online payday lenders shut down aaa international travel credit card icici platinum chip credit card barclays credit card payment number no credit history check credit cards australia difference between gold and platinum hdfc credit cards emi on credit card calculator can i buy visa gift cards with a walmart credit card sbi corporate credit card application goodyear credit card sign in american airlines credit card offer 2011 icici credit card settlement procedure credit cards with rewards for fair credit when do chase credit card payments post good credit card apps for iphone jcpenney credit card payment make payment apply for small business credit card online visa prepaid cash card india applying for chase credit cards credit card minimum payment interest rate citi corporate credit card online access dbs black card credit limit how long after bankruptcy discharge can i get a credit card unsecured personal loans instant decision online gift credit cards online cash reward credit card comparison sears credit cards citibank credit card application format victoria secret credit card payment best rebuild credit cards can you get a credit card the same day you apply upgrade bank of america student credit card list of credit card companies uk hsbc credit card online payment neft lord and taylor credit card make a payment credit cards bad credit instant approval australia unsecured credit cards for bad credit canada credit card information security policy credit card 0 balance transfer offers credit card balance transfer calculator excel credit cards rewards points does applying for credit card affect credit rating best cashback credit cards no foreign transaction fees best travel rewards credit card lifehacker bmo mastercard belk credit card application status 4 major credit cards best credit cards for travel rewards canada fake credit card numbers with security code mastercard prepaid credit cards spain get online loan no bank account credit card banks in pune major credit card companies list amazon credit card balance transfer fee credit card no annual fee india credit card apr explained who has the best rewards credit card best store credit cards to build credit open sky secured visa card phone number online hdfc credit card offers chase 2 cash back credit card minimum credit score for chevron gas card long term bad credit personal loans difference between titanium and platinum credit card hdfc bad credit cards instant approval pay sbi credit card payment through billdesk walmart visa card application sbi personal loan apply online household bank credit card payments online lifetime free credit card in uae corporate credit cards for employees with bad credit how to choose a credit card for college students online payday loans no phone calls improve chances of credit card approval sbi credit card application form download us airways credit card comparison comparing credit cards in india low interest credit card balance transfer life anz reloadable prepaid credit cards td canada trust visa infinite points standard chartered credit card online payment student credit cards instant approval australia does dmv accept credit cards ny calculate credit card interest rate chase credit card minimum payment 2011 unsecured credit card debt canada hsbc costco credit card complaints southwest credit card with no annual fee recurring credit card authorization form pdf is magnum cash advance legal in ohio low limit credit cards for bad credit australia personal student loans with bad credit paypal credit card fees ebay guaranteed payday loan no credit check uk choice freedom credit card contact number citi vs discover student credit card comparing credit cards college students and credit cards video best buy credit card make a payment list of 12 month payday loans standard chartered credit card uae online loan application south africa hdfc platinum plus credit card reward points redemption catalogue 0 balance transfer apr credit cards hsbc best buy mastercard credit card can i get a credit card online tesco credit card points payday lenders direct websites canadian credit card reviews 2013 are business cash advances bad small business credit cards chase business credit card air miles american express black card uk hsbc neiman marcus credit card login krungsri ge credit card online most premium credit cards icici bank platinum chip credit cards best buy credit card login hrs credit report credit card with rewards australia chase amazon visa rewards card hyatt summerfield suites credit card authorization form should i opt out of credit card offers best united credit card short term installment loan bad credit citibank credit card offers on makemytrip sbi credit card payment by cheque icici credit card application status through reference number credit card logos paypal 10 best low interest credit cards earth black credit card travel insurance how long to wait between applying for credit cards credit one visa platinum card kotak mahindra bank credit card apply eligibility how to accept credit card payments via paypal cash back visa credit cards canada i need a credit card with bad credit canada 0 percent credit card balance transfer hsbc mastercard credit card application cancel mbna credit card canada hdfc bank credit card login hdfc bank credit cards status check icici credit card bill payment through other bank debit card australian credit card rewards comparison axis bank credit card reward points offers bad credit credit card bank of america business credit card payment address axis bank credit cards customer care number tri city national bank credit card paypal take credit card payments over the phone personal online loans sa personal bad credit loans canada how to pay sbi credit card bill online from hdfc what is cash advance credit limit disney chase credit card rewards credit card limit calculator south africa average first credit card limit loan with bad credit and no job international credit card fees mastercard which credit card charges abroad what type of credit card is best for me granite credit card uk starting a new credit card company which credit card is the best in malaysia 2011 icici credit card reward points mint first time credit card applications online credit card travel offers india can i do a balance transfer from someone else;s credit card to mine online application for bpi credit card macy;s credit card approval process best credit card for balance transfers and purchases td bank credit card consolidation loan venture capital credit card login valid credit card details for free 2013 transfer credit card balance 0 interest australia tesco clubcard credit card lost stolen ebay credit card review how credit card processing works wiki 0 transfer credit cards credit card information that works a_gde=3669">free visa credit card numbers with cvv 2013 does bank of america have virtual credit cards credit card apr comparison calculator list of department store credit cards for bad credit credit cards with rewards for average credit best flight points credit card canada credit card 0 interest installment malaysia credit card low interest rates
Home Contact Info

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 943 guests online

Atom RSS

Interview - Marvin Miller - Former Director - MLBPA PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 12
The Biz of Baseball - Interviews
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.



Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?