Miller not surprised he was left out, Kuhn voted in

Updated: December 3, 2007, 7:20 PM ET
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Marvin Miller heard the news that Bowie Kuhn had been elected to the Hall of Fame and started laughing.

"That figures. You really could have done this in advance," Miller said.

Kuhn, the former commissioner who was defeated by Miller on countless occasions, was given baseball's highest honor Monday while Miller was turned down again.

I think it was rigged, but not to keep me out. It was rigged to bring some of these in.

--Marvin Miller on the election results

Following charges of cronyism when Bill Mazeroski was elected in 2001, the Hall revamped the Veterans Committee and allowed all Hall of Famers to vote. Reporters and broadcasters in the Hall also were on the panel.

Miller, the revolutionary leader of the players' association from 1966-82, received 35 of 79 votes (44 percent) in 2003, putting him 25 votes short of the 75 percent needed. He jumped up to 51 of 81 (63 percent) earlier this year, falling 10 votes shy.

Kuhn's total declined from 20 in 2003 to 14 this year, leaving him far short of election.

But after no executives were selected in either ballot, and no players were picked in three tries, the Hall revamped the committee again. Now executives are judged by seven current or former management members, two ex-players and three reporters.

I was surprised that Marvin Miller did not receive the required support given his important impact on the game.

-- MLB commissioner Bud Selig.

Kuhn got 10 of 12 votes when balloting was announced Monday, a day after the committee met. Miller received just three.

Former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley was elected with nine votes after being selected on 38 percent of the ballots in 2003 and 44 percent earlier this year.

"This was done with precision. If you a set goal in mind, and I think they did, it's not very hard," Miller said by telephone from his New York apartment.

"I'm so able to count votes in advance. Nothing has dimmed with age. No matter how various people involved in the Hall try to put a different gloss on it, it was done primarily to have somebody elected and secondarily to have particular people elected. I don't think this election was about me," he said.

Miller is convinced the new format was designed to elect Kuhn and other management favorites.

"I think it was rigged, but not to keep me out. It was rigged to bring some these of [people] in. It's not a pretty picture," he said. "It's demeaning, the whole thing, and I don't mean just to me. It's demeaning to the Hall and demeaning to the people in it."

Hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark defended the process.

"There was no concerted effort other than to have very qualified committee members evaluate very qualified candidates," she said. "There was a very open and frank discussion about each of the candidates. Everyone on that committee knows Marvin and respects what he did for the game. And that showed in the discussions."

Ex-Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss also was elected by the management/pioneers panel, and Dick Williams and Billy Southworth by the managers/umpires committee.

Even current commissioner Bud Selig had backed Miller.

"I was surprised that Marvin Miller did not receive the required support given his important impact on the game," Selig said.

Current players' union head Donald Fehr called the vote "an unfortunate and regrettable decision and said "the Hall of Fame is poorer for it."

"Over the entire scope of the last half of the 20th century, no other individual had as much influence on the game of baseball as did Marvin Miller," Fehr said. "Because he was the players' voice, and represented them vigorously, Marvin Miller was the owners' adversary. This time around, a majority of those voting were owner representatives, and results of the vote demonstrate the effect that had."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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