Speak Softly... But Carry a Big Bat...
Baseball is beloved by its fans, historians and contrarians, for its statistics.
The cold hard facts that cannot be disputed.
Argued to be sure, but facts don't lie, do they?
Marvin Miller certainly carries lifetime statistics beyond comparison. His contests with baseball ownership left him with career stats that are staggering.
Batting average, slugging percentage, RBI's, on base percentage, defense are the common measurement of success in baseball. And Marvin excelled in all of these during his 16 year career (1966-1982) representing baseball players in their battle to gain a foothold, and finally parity, with ownership.
Up to his arrival, ownership had "spoon fed" the Players Association Director to them and they were afraid to object. Under Marvin's insistence the players finally had a union.
Soft spoken to be sure, but no one underestimated the power of his words.
Not the players. You could hear a pin drop, in his now famous team meetings on the outfield grass in spring training.
Not the owners representatives, who quickly learned that talking and not listening (to the response) ... was fatal.
Eventually the owners themselves, learned to "lean in" and pay attention, after losing almost every contest.
Marvin hit clean-up, with only his trusted legal counsel, to bat behind him.
Oh, he had some pitching support, like Robin Roberts and Jim Bunning, but the actual game was played behind closed doors with only Marvin and Dick Moss... against a full 24 man ownership roster.
Slightly built but surprisingly athletic, Marvin didn't swing from his heels like many of his players.
But, he knew the dimensions of every owners park and the tendencies and weaknesses of all of their representatives.
He seldom pulled the ball, but went with the pitch.
If they dared to come inside, only then would he pull it down the right field line and over the usually short fence. Not 450 feet, but a "home run" nonetheless.
Mighty Casey may have whiffed... but not Marvin.
By the mid-seventies, the tide had turned and players were gaining parity. Salaries were rising toward player's true value. Fans still sometimes blamed the players for ticket prices, but the owners determined the salaries and how much they were willing to pay. The value of all sports franchises have risen steadily under Marvin's stewardship and the stability he established, and have continued to the present.
There is not a player or owner who should not be grateful for what Marvin did. Those who played under Marvin's guidance are profoundly thankful for insurance, pension and benefits that often exceed their monthly salary they received in the 70's. It allowed them to live in retirement with dignity and grace.
So, if Marvin Miller has career statistics far beyond anyone in the baseball Hall of Fame... and the players and all sports have prospered...because of this man...
Why is he not there?
-- Bob Locker, July 4th, 2017