How Union Leader Marvin Miller Saved Baseball (with Dave Zirin)


scott’s sis on the phone is always a pleasure
welcome to this program designed he is the sports and politics writer for the
nation you could also uh… check em out at edge of a sports dot com more foam on
twitter at edge of sports welcome back to it a great idea spam uh… i primarily want to talk to you about
uh… marvin miller word just passed away also want to touch
on the hockey because i’m not here in the office big hockey fan and he’s
afraid now to see any hockey dollars here and i think you might be right
fears are well founded indeed all right let’s start with marvin
miller uh… who as marvin miller or marvin miller passed away at ninety
five years odd just up the other day and he’s arguably uh… the most influential labor leaders since world war two in the united states he was the head of
the major league baseball players association from nineteen sixty six in nineteen eighty
two and he he really brought account and of unionism solidarity and likely manhood uh… to the players of major league
baseball i mean this was are union before he went
there from working with the steelworkers that was an absolute tatters other
typical player uh… made between summer between six
and seven thousand dollars a year they had no freedom of movement they had no freedom to play where they
wanted to play they had no freedom in terms of determining derek
our trainers their doctors safety and they really were treated alike
chattel continuing public peacefully paid players like mickey mantle was
making a hundred thousand dollars a year but expect to be patridge play written
by average i mean the overwhelming majority of players uh… took jobs in the off season
oftentimes work and qua reader or a typical manual labor charge to make ends
meet marvin miller get in there p fights for workers’ rights he treated like a real unionist keith
fights for free agency and because of all of this during his tenure as head of the major league baseball
players association calories went up astronomically immediate what hearing
his ten year alone it went from the average salary dvd uh… under ten thousand dollars a year
to being about two hundred and forty thousand dollars a year and kate over three million dollars a
year but in addition to that missus far more
important he changed with the sport for everyone he made orders interestingly rich even though they
despise in so much that kept them out of the hall of fame past is past he still is not malval
thing which is absolutely ludicrous uh… but he did more than that and any
chance that we had about sports it’s a big business exporters something that expanded untuk
most major cities in the country export so global entity and any chance of competitive balance in
sports is the result of marvin miller unshackled n_b_a_ calls on the modern
player bringing free agency breeding freedom of
movement and actually opening up the ice to people how entertaining sports can be suicide wanted and we should say i mean uh… you say that he helped the owners
make the astronomical sums that they now make where were they in terms of when now when when he became a head of the union word the owners at that point i mean the gulf between and try to get a sense
of the gulf love between what the priors were making
and what the owners were making at that time and then tell us how he uh… the owners sill reg okay marvin miller group tired and when marvin miller took over you’re
talking about split of owners revenue the players revenue those
overwhelmingly in favor of odors when we were talking but you can talk sports and by the way that it’s worth noting
that marvin miller example influenced every single major sport which is why they were uh… tenements
sent out yesterday from all of the major sports archives passing but we’re talking about ninety ten
revenue share its we’re talking eighty five fifteen we’re talking about a situation where
players are getting up to get into or what the all product and owning a sports team tended to be a
family business split something that you get back for a
couple hundred thousand dollars down and if you look back at what george
steinbrenner for example put down in his own money to buy the eighties in early nineteen seventies i mean it’s
comically ridiculous how little money it took actually buying into a major league
franchise and yet when marvin miller took it over when marvin miller took
over the union i’ll what he did was he worked on making sure that players would
be able to go to different teams which infuriated owners who saw players had a little more than chattel but by
allowing players freedom of movement it opened up the possibility of competitive
balance in sports and what your competitive balance european interest and went to a fan
interest i’ve been in the world is your waster at all this sudden these owners who have
these teens a perk i don’t like hill-clarence swamp land that you had
for decades with the hope the hope that they will grow i mean the
eighty four losing money in the late sixties that for the whole truth and oh my gosh
i hold on to the flop away and someday it’ll be decent you go from that pleading for the most valuable
properties in the world with unseen returns after their investors yeah so let’s also talk about what he
meets us on this but it seems to me that as baseball uh… we then sab all and then ultimately uh… basketball uh… perhaps a certain extent a hockey is well is this whole notion that the players were no longer sort of like
uh… you know i’m illegally baseball cards
are decades in some respects you know um… that the uh… they were actually there was actually a worker capital dynamic that was going on here
despite the fact i’ll tell you know uh… players may make a a lot of money but you know those only
ones that make it to to the major leagues how did it also impose implicate
the the other at the other sports usually hugely and like i said billy wanted that net
n_b_a_ players as he should as well as the morris smith of the n_f_l_ players location both put
out well wishes because etc about after
miller’s pet ferret incredibly heartfelt people’s go online and read them i’ve
because uh… they all get what miller did i mean miller and we did was he ripped
from the eye to the player came from paint as well a campaign often
critically at someone stole the innocent from fans wildblue eddie stole the innocent from players guru because what do you get which he opened
their eyes to the fact that you get a labor capital titanic in sports but this wasn’t the case uh… kate you’re an adult play cricket game you should feel which would actually be
approached even if george meany dead at the a_f_l_c_i_o_ which he didn’t take you pat peace ball
players ready athletes seriously the actual workers as marvin miller who’s had one oh your
workers because you create wealth your workers because your actions on
that field ideation level all the money that goes into the
sport and without u player there’s no more
money symbol of that no one’s gonna buy a ticket to watch
somebody skate in an owner’s box until under marvin miller stating here
you have numerous work stoppages from nineteen sixty six in nineteen
eighty two it earned him caramel i’m mechanically amongst the ownership ranks and it’s why in this is just the
ultimate slap in the pacer bizarre world of where people call it the weekend in the major league baseball
commissioner cooperative marvin miller colleen’s repeatedly
negotiations it in the baseball hall of fame to
marvin miller is not so i’ve talked to me a little bit about
the reserve that isn’t what wide what the implications were which is flooded who had the uh… third brought the case it uh… tell us
about yet you can’t cover marvin miller story
without telling the story of kurt wide and marvin miller who i’d later keep
several times elapsed time ali mentally eighties value-added his latest speak about kurt
flood who passed away in nineteen ninety nine i met with the fifty six at the time the
backs of arafat and curt flood flight but without curt flood you don’t get any other when you got a look at it like it marvin
miller was the engine curt flood was fifteen running through the engine the
reserve clause of apart of baseball contract going back uh… to the end of the nineteen century
end what it did blooded down players to the team that originally signed up and the only way you couldn’t be on that
pain anymore if if you are traded worth eighteen thirty-one scrappy principle we
don’t know demand to know what your services anymore there is no offense that like you could
signed a contract the contract and and then you could place somewhere else where the victim and a trade i mean that was just like i’ve heard
about the idea of demanding a trade and what curt flood it was he’s said to the week even in the latter
that i will no longer be a well-paid flavor and those words were i mean baby opening
shot for free agency and curt flood we put all the way it’s been court with marvin miller ratified and request
we lost and when kurt flood came back in the
major league baseball to somebody with a lifetime to ninety day period one
accountable clubs he came back and quit for the washington
senators and he was a pariah even in its own rocco i
mean that’s out out there he was seem like even the other players didn’t
want anything to do with them and he left the sport but what it did though was it was one of
those things where it is opened up a discussion unheated and losing kirkland changed all of the dynamics that we’re
going on in baseball in terms of l players saw themselves
relative to owners and then only a couple years later uh… yet dave mcnally and indeed that
use nets and they became uh… the first players actually went
free agency and want that happened i mean huge explosion in calories and with the explosion calories you also
see this explosion the fan interest and with the explosion in fan interest
he speaks entrants then you see all these things which i think were right to
be very critical of with sports which is like the sides of the athletic
industrial complex influence uh… eternal i waived that the ugly
davies of marvin miller like the fact like billions of dollars in public money
going to stadiums jet is really key who i’ve really put
the genie out of the bottle and said like lookout keeps his skin can be uh… how much did well the reaction to flood i mean it’s an
interesting you know i don’t know enough about that the history of of baseball dot time
adjust the reaction to flood sort of seem surprising to me and i wonder if in
if you if it wasn’t also in what was happening uh… uh… socially at that time amin with
the evite filed suit in the late ah… sixties
early seventies now that’s right it it was baseball
nick’s got understand it baseball as the most conservative rights evolve a sport that were going on right now players
tend to to come from the american fast boat white player
them black lips tend to come from the american staff and they tended to come from very small
town now kurt water from oakland california now oakland in the late sixties was of
course a hotbed lenin he wasn’t very much influenced by
the nineteen sixties by the black freedom struggle by the
civil rights movement at marvin miller was as well answerable curt flood and marvin miller
saw themselves as civil rights people they call them come to the baseball
version of what was happening in other sports like bill russell in basketball
mohammed ali in boxing jim brown and football but what a lot of sports have in common they’re not baseball right then you
would look are you would look far and wide the fine baseball players in the sixties were part of this error
of athletic revolt i meet just didn’t happen did one player
who was killed out in the iconoclastic pitcher who will ball four all my property of doubt about this
about efforts for example bradley until i can lift teammates and social issues and you can see him that he could get
nowhere and it was very difficult time in one of
those reasons that they are they’re just fewer in numbers of african-american
players in baseball and that meant less influence of the civil rights movement in baseball but it was really also that it was a very conservative support or players had very little social power so why would you rock the boat in that context and curt flood found himself a pariah in the early nineteen seventies now today a lot of players praise his name
because they they know what he did what he faq replaced but at the time it was very very
difficult going for yeah i mean it seems i mean it’s hard for me not to imagine that there wasn’t a
certain amount and are not necessarily racism but at
least stu some degree i mean you have all these sort of social emancipation
movements that are happening across uh… to the country and uh… it is hard to imagine any other speedo
any sport more likely to perceive the dirty hippies is
dirty hippie he’s uh… that you guys you know baseball
guys and jack it gets really right i mean the e-ticket
so funny can lead me we’ll lead look back in nineteen seventy-two that error
that was the era of kurt flood but nineteen seventy two and out of court off of the area in
nixon’s silent majority waiting forty nine states painted and may not remember that a
yearly offense so much of the u_s_ labor movement the official move in pulling away from the government right lagging only won one st so then we ask yourself a question it’s
like okay i’d give this country in seventy
two difficult seems rare radical software richard nixon went forty nine
states where whereas marvin miller politically
wear skirt what politically well there with the one st those were their politics accountability you can imagine and when
you transplant that on that conservative uh… element like a major league baseball
locker room uh… how difficult it was burkhard
playing with a lot better off in a different sport that’s for sure what do
you think the uh… the chances now uh… miller ended up in the uh… oli yet and it made me a little
activity would get any authorities for groucho marx wine
like never one of a lot i want any club that i have from like me remember so i think the kids are very good as dub it the veterans committee which
would vote um… for marvin miller lite as they become comprised overwhelmingly
of players who benefited from free agency i think you getting very easily but
honestly like our people were to what reggie jackson said yesterday like if
you’d like work are they could actually kill morgan said that he fed look i i
don’t care if you get to know i wouldn’t care if he got in a year ago he should
have got in thirty years ago we would’ve had thirty years to enjoy it with the
family exactly well uh… appreciate your talking to us
about that they give me a brief update for the sake of uh… man i have been
hockey fan uh… and probably for years myself what is he have any hockey what’s going
on with the with hockey advocate revenge against marvin miller that’s what’s happening and i keep you
have a unified lockout strategy by ownership something that would have been
unheard of and marvin miller time where they went
on strike for they were locked out in the problem though is that the owners
art actually doing very well in hockey get a minority of them are doing very
badly value-added actually a battle between the owners that are making money
in order to their losing money and their children to caballero economic crisis on
the back of players by extracting salary back from them which players had just
given back a few years ago and when they adopted a hard cap in the entire season
was canceled sake to do to capture they try to head a land speed record now pat
fagan rappel their fan base and and that’s what happened bill went and
exports is way too beautiful i’d taken put owners in charge of so that’s part
of the problem is that when you put all the things i did something like that to
placate my tits in reverse anything that touches turns to crap and
they’re turning out to get crap right now it’s feels like uh… the the strength
of labor earn in the context of sports is sort of
uh… obviously power all of this i guess is
no reason why shouldn’t but uh… that uh… what we’re seeing in the in terms of the
broader society not necessarily it seems like on a ana dollars level but in terms of the
way that they perceive themselves in relationship to uh… to the owners and how how much unity there is maybe now absolutely i mean since two thousand
ten the number of walked out to the united states i have doubled uh… it’s a pit the
product of uh… economic crisis an austerity
enemies to be the third rail of labor management relations get here you just
locked the doors and keep your workers out in so many people who are now supports
owners uh… they’re not like the old paid for
with the family business handed down i’m makes people who’ve made billions of
dollars in other industries usually finance committed by me you buy a major key
mid-day they’re only look at the bottom line to become from industries that are
employing walkouts indicated an effective tool because they
win at the end when they get more money unfortunately from that leads out it’s
not just players but people like mad expands its people
who work at the stadium it it it it’s a real tragedy especially
because at least chemotherapy public funding of stadiums why do we really
need owners again andy green bay packers has shown the door actually need owner
step pro sports and i think they should be very very
careful with how much they’re they’re they’re basing off their
fan base is and all of the sports let’s get rid of the owners that’s what i’m saying design green bay could win a super bowl
that way while i’d look at the green day good for
america uh… i mean it story of uh… maybe too much dairy products ah… i general i would say naps filter uh…
let’s do it uh… designer gemma at edge of sports dot com and of course uh… at the nation
magazine always a pleasure really appreciate you taking the time met with our slogan should be not just
lactose intolerant followed a renewed i_r_a_ uh… of it

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