Former MLB Players Union Head Marvin Miller Dead at 95
New York, NY
Marvin Miller, a former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association credited for pioneering arbitration and free agency while improving financial well-being of players during a 17-year tenure, died of cancer. He was 95.
Miller guided the MLBPA from 1966 to 1982 and remained closely associated with the union until his death.
"Marvin Miller was a highly accomplished executive and a very influential figure in baseball history," MLB commissioner Bud Selig said. "He made a distinct impact on this sport, which is reflected in the state of the game today, and surely the Major League players of the last half-century have greatly benefited from his contributions."
"All players -- past, present and future -- owe a debt of gratitude to Marvin, and his influence transcends baseball," MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner said. "Marvin, without question, is largely responsible for ushering in the modern era of sports, which has resulted in tremendous benefits to players, owners and fans of all sports."
Miller was credited for starting arbitration to settle contract disputes and free agency. He also negotiated the MLBPA's first collective bargaining agreement with the team owners in 1968, resulting to an increase in minimum salary from $6,000 to $10,000.
In 1970, Miller was able to get arbitration included in the collective bargaining agreement to settle disputes, making it the greatest achievement of the early years of the baseball union.
In 1975, an arbitrator struck down the reserve clause that contractually bound a player to a team for life, leading to the creation of modern-day free agency.
Miller was at the forefront of brief stoppages in 1972 and 1980 and the strike that interrupted the 1981 season for seven weeks.
During his era as leader, the average players' salary rose from $19,000 to $326,000 a year.
"Marvin was the most extraordinary man I ever met," said broadcaster Tim McCarver, a Major Leaguer from 1959-80. "You know, the players knew nothing before Marvin took over. The minimum salary had been the same for 22 years. "
"I am saddened to hear of Marvin Miller's passing," Texas Rangers CEO and president Nolan Ryan, a Hall of Fame pitcher, said. "Marvin had a tremendous impact on the game and always had its best interests at heart. He helped create a true partnership between ownership and the players."
Despite his achievements and contributions, Miller was not enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
"Marvin Miller belongs in the Hall of Fame, if the criteria is what impact you had on the sport, whatever way one wants to value that impact. Yes, Marvin Miller should be in the Hall," Selig said.
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