Former Commissioner Fay Vincent Slams The Hall Of Fame

In a New York Times article titled "Union-Busting at the Hall of Fame", Vincent lets the Hall and the Veterans Committee have it for inducting Bowie Kuhn and snubbing Marvin Miller. Among other things, there are these paragraphs which ring so very true:

The decision by the Hall to overlook Miller is grounded in a bad reading of history. Miller had a bigger impact on baseball than any commissioner, owner or player in the past 40 years. Part of his legacy is a powerful, well-run union. The more important part is the present legal and financial structure of the sport, including free agency, arbitration and the enormous pension and benefit programs for the players, all due largely to his efforts.

Miller was much smarter and more talented than Kuhn. Though not a lawyer, he was a public relations genius. He had been an economist with the United Steelworkers when he became the executive director of the players' union. Miller presented the economic issues in baseball largely in moral terms. Kuhn was the lawyer who argued against change. Miller argued against evil. Guess which was more appealing?

Egg-sactly. There can be valid arguments over whether or not the changes that Miller's leadership of the union instituted are good or bad for the game. But there is no doubt that Miller's influence changed baseball forever. In many ways, he might be THE most influential figure involved in baseball in the last fifty years.

Vincent concludes with this direct slam of the Veterans Committee:

These are old men trying to turn back time, to reverse what has happened. Theirs is an act of ignorance and bias. I am ashamed for them. I am ashamed that they represent our game.

Slam dunk, to use another sport's phrase. The VC should be disbanded; the Hall should find another way to honor those who should be honored. But then, the leaders of the Hall are old and hidebound too. I wouldn't expect them to see past the trees which surround the idyllic village of Cooperstown.

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