By Jeffrey S. Kravitz, Esq.
Marvin Miller died and there will be obituaries in most media outlets for this pioneer. His contribution to the profession was summed up by former All-Star third baseman Ron Cey, who I heard speak the other night. Cey is now an executive with the Dodgers and the discussion was about the how the game had changed over the course of the years. His immediate response was "Thank God for Curt Flood," the courageous player who challenged the baseball reserve clause. Before the legal challenge, players basically had to either accept management’s contract or withhold their labor.
Well, without Marvin Miller, there would have been no Curt Flood. As head of the players’ union, he directed and supported that fight, resulting in what are now record breaking salaries. What also needs to be pointed out is that baseball itself has prospered, growing from a $10 billion business in 1995 to a gross receipts business of over $30 billion last year. Miller had what has been described as the demeanor of an accountant and that in part allowed the American public to view him as a sane representative of (high priced) labor, rather than as a bomb thrower. The greatest player….obviously Jackie Robinson, but how many kids have baseball cards with union leaders on them?