He didn’t swing a bat, throw a pitch or write out a lineup card, but Marvin Miller had a greater impact on major league baseball than just about any man who ever lived. In 1992, former Dodgers announcer Red Barber numbered him among the three most important figures in the game’s history, along with Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson.
As executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to ’82, Miller revolutionized the game, overseeing its biggest change since integration through the dismantling of the reserve clause and the dawn of free agency, thus shifting a century-old balance of power from the owners to the players. Miller helped the union secure a whole host of other important rights as well, from collective bargaining to salary arbitration to the use of agents in negotiations. During his tenure, the average salary of a major league player rose from $19,000 to over $240,000, and the MLBPA became the strongest labor union in the country. Yet both in his lifetime and since his death at the age of 95 in 2012, petty politics has prevented him from receiving proper recognition via enshrinement in the Hall of Fame — so much so that Miller, still feisty well into his 90s, took the unprecedented step of asking voters not to consider him.
This page was last updated November 22, 2019 at 1:45 am MST.