Tag Archives: Marvin Miller

Marvin Miller, a titanic figure in baseball history, FINALLY voted into Hall of Fame. A father takes over his teen daughter’s social media accounts for two weeks, and it’s glorious. And an extraordinary investigation into the power of jailhouse snitches

There are sports injustices everywhere, and have been throughout history.

Some are huge, international sports injustices, like the way the 1972 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team was robbed of a gold medal, after a controversial finish against the U.S.S.R.

Some are smaller injustices, like Dan Marino, one of the greatest QBs of all time, never winning a Super Bowl.

I’m not 100 percent sure where this one I’m about to talk about ranks in the pantheon, but it’s pretty damn high up there.

There have been no more than eight or nine people in the history of baseball more important than Marvin Miller. Off the top of my head, Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Branch Rickey, Hank Aaron, Curt Flood, but not too many others.

Marvin Miller was a little-known economist and labor leader in the 1960s who eventually turned baseball and its business model on its head. Throughout intensive persuasion, negotiation and legal challenges, he broke MLB’s draconian rules restricting player movement and ushered in the beginning of free agency, which led to an explosion of salaries.

Literally every baseball player in the past 40 years who made millions playing baseball owes a debt to Marvin Miller. Players were treated like disposable parts, with no rights, and were told over and over again they were lucky just to be playing, and to be grateful they got played at all.

Miller changed all that.

And yet he was never elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame while he was alive. Decade after decade went by, and the committees that choose such things never saw fit to put him in Cooperstown.

Miller always said that if he wasn’t elected while he was still alive, he never wanted to be inducted. But finally, way, way too late, Miller is going in.

Sunday night it was announced he’d be elected by a special committee, and next summer a seminal figure in the game’s history will finally be rightfully honored.

It is a disgrace that it took this long. But at least future generations will be aware of the Babe Ruth-sized mark Miller left on the game.

 

**Next up today, this is one of those times when I wish, as much as I love my two sons, I wish I had a daughter as well. Because I would soooo love to one day do what this father did.

Madelynn Sumpter is a teenage girl who apparently tried to sneak boys into a sleepover party she was having, and she got caught. Her parents gave her a choice of punishments:  She could either give up her phone for an entire month, or let her parents use it to post to all of her social media accounts for two weeks.

As I think most 15-year-olds would, Maddi chose the latter, and the results are spectacular.

Her Dad Larry took over Maddi’s Instagram and TikTok accounts, and it’s fabulous. He posted funny cooking videos, dressed up (above) in weird outfits, and basically humiliated his daughter in the best ways possible.

When her punishment ended, Maddi’s first post was awesome. It’s a pic of her as a toddler with the caption: “I’m back sweeter than ever and ready to make good choices.”

Well done all around, Sumpter family.

**Finally today, wanted to highlight an extraordinary piece of journalism just published by the New York Times Magazine and ProPublica, by the woman who I think is the best investigative reporter in America, Pamela Colloff.

I’ve highlighted her work here in the past, but Colloff truly is incredible. She spends months and months digging into a criminal-justice topic (usually that of a person serving decades in prison for a crime they didn’t commit) and excavates so much truth, and generates so much outrage, that as a journalist I sort of stand in awe.

This new piece looks at the amazing weight the legal system gives to jailhouse snitches, and how so often their false, coerced information leads to death sentences for innocent men.

Colloff uses the story of Paul Skalnik, one of the most prolific snitches of all time, and how many people he helped convict on non-existent evidence.

It’s a long, long read, but gripping and well worth it. This is why I donate to ProPublica as much as I can, because they do such important work.

 

The most important man in 20th century sports dies. A Krispy Kreme employee goes above and beyond.. A very cool hoops trick-shot video.

In 1999, ESPN did this very cool “SportsCentury” series, where they counted down the top 100 athletes of the last 100 years.
If they had extended that list to the most important people in sports from 1900-99, one man would definitely have been in the Top 5, if not No. 1.

He didn’t play one down in the NFL, hit one jump shot in the NBA, or drive in any runs on the baseball field.
But I would argue Marvin Miller, who died Tuesday at 95, was more important than any athlete. Miller was the skilled lawyer who, in the late 1960s and early 1970s became a powerful force in baseball, unifying the players and taking on the owners and changing sports forever.

Before Miller, there was no free agency. Players were bound to their teams until the teams traded them, or cut them. Salaries were a joke; ownership had complete control.

Miller changed all that, first with Curt Flood and the reserve clause, then with free agency’s fight.
He made the baseball union so powerful that it was a model for other unions in America, and strengthened core values for America’s working class.

It’s a disgrace that Marvin Miller isn’t in the Baseball Hall of Fame; he fell one vote short of induction in 2010. Obviously the powers that run baseball are still a little angry, or maybe forgetful, at how important Miller was in the sport’s history.

Marvin Miller changed the world, and every sports fan in America today ought to be thankful he did.

Two really well-written appreciations of Miller are here, if you’d like to learn more about him: Jon Wertheim’s piece on SI.com is here, and Joe Posnanski writes about Miller’s achievements, and his feistiness to the end, here.

**Kyle Singler is a former Dukie so of course I love him, and always will be a fan of his.
But even if you hate Duke and all that it stands for, you have to admit this is pretty cool. Singler, now with the Detroit Pistons, put together this terrific trick-shot video shot in and around Detroit.
I don’t know how many tries that last shot took, but it’s different than anything I’ve ever seen.

**Finally, this story just made me smile Tuesday. I love Krispy Kreme donuts, as all red-blooded Americans who have tried one also do. Haven’t had one in years, but this story made me want one. Or at least, made me want to meet one of their employees, Jackie.

The story is this: A Texas man named Jia Jiang has a serious fear of rejection. So he’s trying to overcome that by spending the next 100 days making “crazy requests” of random strangers, so that they’ll say no, and he’ll get used to being rejected.

OK, I agree it’s nuts, but hey, strange people make our world interesting. So anyway, on his third day Jiang walks into a Krispy Kreme store in Austin, Texas and asks for a five-donut combination display that are colored and shaped like Olympic rings.

Ninety-nine store managers out of 100 would tell him no and then call the police or something. But not Jackie; she actually came through and worked her tail off to make Jiang happy.

Check out the video below… Krispy Kreme needs to give this woman a raise.