Marvin Miller built the Major League Baseball Players Association on solidarity.
Former Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent showed some last week after Miller was passed over for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“Excluding Marvin is a travesty,” Vincent said. “I have no intention of being there (for the induction ceremony) next summer.”
Players should follow that lead and use the power of collective bargaining that Miller helped them gain.
A players’ boycott of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony would do more than just achieve a measure of justice for Miller. It would also serve to educate current players about the ongoing struggles of organized labor.
Baseball players need to understand that the MLBPA has improved their lives and that labor unions have improved the lives of every worker in this country. They also need to understand that the MLBPA – like all unions – needs to move forward and grow.
The Union needs to make a strong push to raise minimum salaries and trim the number of years that teams can control players before arbitration and free agency under the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. And they need to expand into the minor leagues to raise salaries and offer pensions and benefits to every player that signs a professional contract.
The Professional Baseball Players Association – representing players at every level – would be a fine monument to Miller’s work.
I’m sure he would gladly pass up the Hall of Fame to address the first rank-and-file meeting of the expanded Union.
“The key to our success,” he would say, “is solidarity.”