On Dec. 8, the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s 16-member Modern Era committee will vote on whether Marvin Miller belongs in the Cooperstown shrine. Miller, who served from 1966 to 1982 as the first executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, will be the only nonplayer among the 10 names on the ballot.
There are some great former players up for consideration, but none had a bigger impact on the game than Miller. Indeed, the Hall of Fame broadcaster Red Barber once said that he would rank Miller with Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth for his importance in baseball history. Yet if the past is any guide, the committee will keep Miller out of the hall: He has been on the ballot seven times without success.
Many baseball observers, including Miller himself, believed that the Hall of Fame board stacked the committees with people who opposed his inclusion in the hall: team owners and front-office types especially, who wrangled with Miller and didn’t enjoy the experience. When the Modern Era committee last voted, in 2017, the group, in addition to sportswriters and former players, included six owners and executives — in other words, more than enough to keep Miller from gaining the 12 of 16 votes needed for induction. The hall doesn’t reveal how individual committee members vote, but it’s not hard to guess why Miller never gets in.
It is time to right this wrong. As the repository of the game’s history and those who have contributed to its greatness, the Hall of Fame is diminished by Miller’s absence.