By Ken Reed
He gave players freedom and made the game of baseball better for all stakeholders.
Marvin Miller, the former players union head who negotiated the right to free agency for players, as well as salary and grievance arbitration opportunities, was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame on Sunday by the veterans committee.
“These changes resulted in a vastly more competitive game, fan interest, and increased wealth for all, including the owners of baseball clubs,” said Miller’s son Peter in 2013 .
“Although he enjoyed the recognition, my father did what he did not for fame and glory, but for justice and for equitable labor-management relations. To treat that as something of lesser value than personal fame is really to dishonor him and the players.”
Miller, who died in 2012 at age 95, had previously fallen short of the needed votes to enter the Hall on numerous occasions because baseball owners and executives on the voting committees remained bitter about his negotiation success on behalf of Major League players.
It’s shameful that Miller will enter the Hall 12 years after former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, whom Miller routinely bested during labor negotiations and work stoppages.
The indisputable fact is Marvin Miller is the person most responsible for helping baseball players earn their fair share of baseball revenues, while also giving them the opportunity to ply their craft where they want to via the free agency system.
“You know, Rusty Staub once said before he died that every player should be forced, before they sign a contract, to sign a thank-you note to Marvin Miller,” said Gene Orza, Miller’s longtime friend and colleague at the players’ union. “All players (owe a debt of gratitude for) all the money spent on players. That’s part of the legacy that all the players owe to Marvin.”
And though Miller asked before he died to no longer be considered for the Hall, calling the process “a farce,” it’s great to know that he will soon be in the Hall of Fame. Miller will be enshrined on July 26, 2020.
Baseball will become a better institution on that day.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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