Marvin Miller has passed away. I’m not one to normally link to a Wikipedia page, but in this instance, it seems rather unflawed.
I, like many Texans, have an uneasy relationship with the idea of unions. One of my favorite uncles is a longtime (37 years) member of a General Motors employee union and now through my marriage, I have a close family member with a 33 year membership in an American Airlines employee union. Both of my family members, now in their early 60s are looking at less-than-they-were-promised retirements due to a wide range of factors that includes the general immovability of their respective unions. But I’m not against the intrinsic idea of unions. Quite in favor of the premise, actually. Sometimes the scales are tipped so far in one direction, a few rich bullies are reaping all the benefits despite little of their own efforts. When the realities are wildly disproportionate, something should be done. That was the case when Marvin Miller helped the initial push of the Major League Baseball Players Association. It really wasn’t fair, and hadn’t been for a long time. Marvin helped end that.
I was first introduced to Marvin’s impact while watching Nolan Ryan’s Hall of Fame induction speech. I’ve clipped his Miller related quotes below, as well as that of another Ranger favorite of mine, Toby Harrah.
Marvin Miller had a tremendous impact on the game and he should be in the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, now it would be a posthumous honor. The silver lining of a death of import is the renewed attention it places on the work of a lifetime. I can only hope that someone is explaining Mr. Miller’s impact to Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli and Scott Feldman and R.A. Dickey (actually, I’m confident he already knows of Mr. Miller). If it’s all a pendulum of power swinging back and forth, it was Mr. Miller who started it in motion in the first place.
The game I love is very strong right now, in part because of the efforts of Marvin Miller, and that, deserves some recognition.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy baseball. Love Ya!
“Also, I would like to thank somebody that definitely has had an impact on myself and my family and many ballplayers sitting in this audience today and that was Marvin Miller. I came into the game when I broke into the major leagues, and the minimum salary was $7,000, and I had to go home in the winter time and get a job. And the first year that I was in the big leagues, the job I had was at a service station pumping gas from 3:00 to 9:00pm and closing the service station so Ruth and I could live through the winter until baseball season started. She worked in a bookstore at the college. And because of Marvin’s efforts and the people in baseball, we brought that level up to where the players weren’t put in that situation. Marvin, I appreciate the job that you have done and the impact that it’s had on my family. Thank you. “
— Nolan Ryan, Hall of Fame induction speech, 1999
“I played ball for the Senators, Rangers, Indians, and Yankees in the ’70′s and ’80′s. Marvin Miller was a hero in our household during that time. The players today may not even know who he is but they have much to be grateful for to this fine man. It took me ten years to make what many players make in a couple days now. He will definitely have my vote and my wife’s as well.”
— Toby Harrah
’69-’86: Senators, Rangers, Indians, Yankees