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There's No Populism In Baseball

I'm not the world's biggest Sherrod Brown fan, but his op-ed in today's Washington Post (refreshingly, if somewhat gratuitously, suffused with anti-Yankees fervor) is dead on: It's a disgrace to baseball that mediocre ex-commissioner Bowie Kuhn was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame last month while trailblazing union leader Marvin Miller, whose vision ended up triumphing over Kuhn's, is denied entrance to Cooperstown. And the reason seems clear enough:

[T]here's no surprise about Kuhn's induction into the Hall of Fame. Baseball as a business is no different from oil companies or the pharmaceutical industry. Management--hold your breath here--is known for taking care of itself.

Unlike the standard route to Hall of Fame immortality, which requires the votes of more than 400 sportswriters, Kuhn needed only nine votes from a special committee of executives--made up of seven representatives of team management, three sportswriters and two retired players.

And Marvin Miller?

The management committee--er, Veterans Committee--has not seen fit to support his induction. Now 91, the former economist for the United Steelworkers of America, and executive director of the baseball players' association from 1966 through 1983, was close to getting the votes for induction when the rules were changed to stack the executive committee.

Frankly, it would be nice to see more of today's players, who reap the huge rewards of Miller's work, take a stand and lobby publicly for his induction. But one wonders how many of them could even identify him.

--Josh Patashnik