|Bob D'Angelo's Books & Blogs||
Here's a story I wrote for Sports Collectors Daily about another lawsuit Panini America has filed, claiming trademark infringement:
Here's a story I wrote for Sports Collectors Daily about the annual Cranston Card show in Rhode Island, which will be held during Super Bowl weekend:
Here is a story I wrote for Sports Collectors Daily about a lawsuit filed by Panini America against Jamie Nucero of Pennsylvania, alleging trade mark infringement. It's the third such lawsuit Panini has filed in the last six months.
Here's a story I wrote about Matteo Melodia, who was more than 6,000 World Cup soccer tickets in his collection and has published a book about them:
Here's a story I wrote for Sports Collectors Daily about a California man is has been charged with selling more than $1 million in forged autographs:
Here is a story I wrote for Sports Collectors Daily about the 1909-1912 Sweet Caporal Domino Discs set.
Here's a story I wrote for Sports Collectors Daily about an auction involving the jersey George Brett wore during the infamous "Pine Tar Game" in 1983:
Here's a story I wrote for Sports Collectors Daily about an offering for a T206 Honus Wagner by Rally Rd. $52 per share for a piece of one of the most valuable baseball cards in history? Wow.
Marvin Miller would probably be appalled to learn he was finally elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. But after missing out the first seven times he was on the veterans committee ballots, the former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association finally received what he deserved — enshrinement in Cooperstown.
It’s about time.
Miller, along with Ted Simmons, will be part of the 2020 induction class in Cooperstown, New York, on July 26. They were among 10 candidates considered on the Modern Era Ballot (1970 to 1987), and they received the required 75% from the 16-man committee.
Miller never threw a pitch or swung a bat in professional baseball. But he did more to revolutionize the game than any baseball executive since Branch Rickey. Through collective bargaining, arbitration and free agency, Miller’s negotiating skills and grit put lots of money in the players’ pockets.
Hall of Fame players George Brett, Rod Carew, Dennis Eckersley, Eddie Murray, Ozzie Smith and Robin Yount all became wealthy thanks to Miller’s hard work, and it appears they recognized his contributions.
Miller was feisty to the end. Four years his death in November 2012 at the age of 95, Miller wrote a letter to the Baseball Writers Association of America requesting he never be considered for Cooperstown.
“At the age of 91 I can do without a farce.” Miller wrote in his letter to the BBWAA.
In 2012, Miller’s family said they would boycott any future induction ceremony.
Let’s hope they change their minds.
Miller was the MLBPA executive director from 1966 to 1982 and butted heads with the owners and then-Commissioner Bowie Kuhn — who gallingly, was elected to the Hall of Fame 11 years ago while Miller could only muster three votes from the veterans committee.
During Miller’s tenure, players won the right to free agency after six years in the majors. Players also secured salary arbitration and grievance arbitration. Miller led the players through five strikes and advised them on three other work stoppages after his retirement.
Peter Seitz, whose arbitration decision in 1975 struck down the reserve clause and created free agency, called Miller “the Moses who had led baseball’s children of Israel out of the land of bondage.”
Perhaps less religious and more pragmatic, former pitcher Bob Locker called Miller relentless.
“If he has a point he jumps on them with both feet and never gets off,” Locker observed.
Miller was responsible for getting Topps executives to double the fee to players from $125 to $250 in 1968. That seems like small potatoes now, but 50 years ago any extra money was welcomed by the players. Miller convinced the players not to sign contract renewals or pose for new photographs with the trading card giant in an attempt to gain leverage.
Topps knew when it had been beaten.
“I see your muscle,” Joel Shorin, the president of Topps, told Miller in 1968. “Let’s sit down and talk.”
Miller also secured a two-year, $120,000 group licensing deal with Coca-Cola for the players in 1966 (remember those Coke cap liners that featured players?).
“Marvin Miller showed the players how to become free agents,” former pitcher Jim Bouton wrote in Ball Four.
Miller accompanied Bouton to a meeting with Kuhn in 1970 after the commissioner wanted the pitcher to recant his controversial baseball diary. Miller believed in solidarity and instituted a dues framework for the players.
Salaries averaged $19,000 for players in 1966, but by 1982 had jumped to $241,497.
When it came to labor negotiations, Miller turned baseball’s union into sports’ strongest. John Helyar, in his 1994 book, Lords of the Realm, said Miller used a “building-block approach” in negotiations: Pursue “limited objectives and winnable fights” at first.
Helyar said Miller’s approach was similar to a hitter’s strategy.
“Swing for the singles. The home runs will come,” Helyar wrote.
They would come in bunches over the next 16 years.
Miller was feisty, but not bombastic.
At the Dodgertown spring training site in March 1981, I attended an impromptu news conference Miller held after a 90-minute meeting with members of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He reacted sharply but firmly to an inference by Kuhn that players were willing to accept the owners’ compensation proposal.
“That’s bull. And what’s more, (Kuhn) knows it,” Miller said. “This is a take-back attempt of the rights of the players. That’s not what makes it crazy.
“When you break it down, here’s what it really is: it’s an admission by the owners that they can’t regulate themselves.”
Miller was born to negotiate. His mother, Gertrude, was a members of the New York City teachers union. His father, Alexander, was a clothing salesman active in the International Garment Workers Union.
Miller earned a degree in economics from New York University in 1938 and eventually became the chief negotiator for the United Steelworkers Union in 1950.
After butting heads with U.S. Steel, taking on major league owners and Kuhn must have seemed like child’s play.
Some baseball executives sputtered. Atlanta Braves executive Paul Richards once referred to Miller as a “mustachioed four-flusher.”
Others had respect.
“Marvin Miller’s genius … was that he portrayed the owners as an evil force and made the battle a moral fight instead of just an economic one,” former Commissioner Fay Vincent wrote in his 2002 book, The Last Commissioner. “Any time you mix morality into an economic issue you make it very hard to resolve.”
Miller upset the comfortable fiefdom major league owners had.
“He had come crashing through the doors of their exclusive men’s club, agitating the help and trying to rewrite the bylaws,” Helyar wrote.
Marvin Miller won many negotiations during his lifetime, but he is going to lose this one.
Welcome to Cooperstown, Marvin Miller, whether you (or your family) like it or not. You deserve to be there.
Here's a story I wrote for Sports Collectors Daily about a memorabilia that Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski will be selling on New Year's Day:
Here's a story I wrote for Sports Collectors Daily previewing the 2002 Topps Definitive Collection baseball set, which will be released in late April:
I love to blog about sports books and give my opinion. Baseball books are my favorites, but I read and review all kinds of books.