NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- At last, Bowie Kuhn beat Marvin Miller
The late commissioner was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame
on Monday while Miller was rejected by a revamped Veterans
Committee stacked with those he regularly opposed -- and beat -- in
arbitration and bargaining sessions that altered the history of the
"Bowie was a close friend and a respected leader who served as
commissioner during an important period in history, amid a time of
change," commissioner Bud Selig said, adding: "I was surprised
that Marvin Miller did not receive the required support given his
important impact on the game."
Former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley, managers Dick Williams and
Billy Southworth and ex-Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss also were
Manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey each missed
induction by a single vote.
Dreyfuss helped bring peace between the American and National
Leagues by arranging the first World Series in 1903. O'Malley
united the East and West Coasts under baseball's flag when he moved
the Dodgers to Los Angeles after the 1957 season. Southworth and
Williams won World Series titles.
Kuhn presided over the introduction of night games to the World
Series and baseball's first, tentative steps into national
marketing. But the game also changed in ways he fiercely resisted:
Free agency, salary arbitration and dozens of other benefits that
Miller won for the players as the head of their union.
The veterans panel has been changed twice since 2001, when
charges of cronyism followed the election of glove man Bill
Mazeroski. The original 15-member panel was expanded to include
every living member of the Hall, but that group failed to elect
anyone in three tries.
It was replaced by three separate panels -- one for players, one
for managers and umpires and one for executives and pioneers,
leaving Miller's fortunes largely in the hands of the same group he
once fought in collective bargaining and the courts.
He did not come close, receiving only three of 12 possible
votes. Under the previous system, Miller received 63 percent of the
votes earlier this year while Kuhn got 17 percent .
Kuhn, who died in March at the age of 80, is the first
commissioner elected since Happy Chandler in 1982.
Attendance tripled during Kuhn's tenure, from 1969-84. But
during essentially the same era, Miller was leading the players to
more lucrative and revolutionary gains, taking the average salary
from $19,000 to $241,000 and pitching a virtual shutout against the
owners when he went head-to-head.
Selig, a former owner and longtime bargaining foe of the
players, has been one of the most vocal supporters of Miller's
candidacy. Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, who was on the panel
that considered Miller, said he was limited because he could only
vote for four of the 10 candidates.
"Everybody on that list deserved to be there," Killebrew said,
declining to reveal whether he voted for Miller. "He certainly had
a tremendous impact."
The five elected this time will be inducted into the Hall on
July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y.. They will be joined by any players
elected in traditional voting by the Baseball Writers' Association
of America to be announced Jan. 8.
Herzog and Harvey came close in voting by a 16-member panel. The
Veterans Committee did not consider players this time, but will
meet late next year to vote on candidates for enshrinement in 2009.
Dreyfuss, who received 10 of 12 votes, helped end the longtime
feud between the American and National Leagues when he and Boston
owner Henry Killilea agreed to meet on the diamond after the 1903
The World Series was born.
Southworth, who was chosen on 13 of 16 ballots from the panel
that considered umpires and managers, won four pennants and two
World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Braves.
"Billy Southworth oversaw one of the greatest eras in Cardinals
history and it is gratifying to see his career accomplishments
recognized by the Veterans Committee," Cardinals chairman Bill
DeWitt Jr. said in a statement.
Williams was a spare part on O'Malley's Dodgers in Brooklyn but
earned his way into the Hall as a manager, making his debut by
taking the "Impossible Dream" Red Sox to the 1967 AL pennant and
winning the '72 and '73 World Series with the Oakland Athletics.
Williams, the only one of the most recent inductees who is
alive, said he and his wife, Norma, broke down and cried when they
got the call on Monday morning.
"It just blew our mind," he said. "Under the [voting] regime
they had previously ... I didn't think anybody would get there."
O'Malley moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles after
the 1957 season -- a baseball version of the California Gold Rush
that helped open the West to the national pastime. He received the
minimum nine votes necessary for induction.
"Mr. O'Malley was a visionary by opening the gates to the West
Coast. He linked the entire nation to the game of baseball,"
Dodgers Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda said. "What a
contribution he's made."