Tuesday, December 4, 2007

If there's room in the hall for O'Malley, why not Miller?

I have this thing about baseball owners and the hall of fame. I don’t think either should mix.

Baseball owners, as a whole, are a lot not to be trusted, holding up cities to build stadiums for their teams, raising ticket prices so their bottom-line doesn’t suffer, feigning interest in fans as long as it pads the coffers.

Former Dodger owner Walter O’Malley was just elected to the hall of fame largely because he moved the Dodgers to Los Angeles and opened the sport to the entire country.

Never mind that he ripped the soul out of a Dodger-crazy community like Brooklyn.

O’Malley quickened the arrival of the expansion era, which made millions for millionaires.

What a pioneer.

Here’s another pioneer who should have a plaque in the same hall: Marvin Miller.
The executive director of the players’ union during the advent of free agency changed the game just as much as O’Malley.

OK, we could have done without the strikes, but the player movement Miller fought for helped spread the wealth of players around both leagues.

That Miller’s work came at the expense of the owners means he will never have his name enshrined in Cooperstown, and that’s a shame, because if there’s a spot for Charles Comiskey, whose penny-pinching ways ultimately led to the Black Sox scandal, then there has to be room for Miller, whose actions led to the players receiving a bigger piece of the pie and ensured they wouldn’t have to throw games to make a buck.

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