LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Marvin Miller didn’t even come close to the Hall of Fame this time.
After falling one vote short in the 2010 election by the Hall’s expansion era committee, the pioneering players’ union head was at least six votes shy this year in the first balloting following his death.
“Over the past 50 years, no individual has come close to matching Marvin’s impact on the sport,” new union head Tony Clark said after Monday’s vote. “Marvin’s legacy remains intact, and will only grow stronger, while the credibility of the Hall of Fame continues to suffer.”
Miller received 44 percent in 2003 and 63 percent in 2007 when all Hall of Famers could vote on the veterans panel. After the Hall downsized the committee, he got 3 of 12 votes in 2007, 7 of 12 in 2009 and 11 of 16 in 2010 — one fewer than the necessary 75 percent.
“In the first half of the 20th century, no single person was more important to baseball than was Jackie Robinson. In the second half of the 20th century, that recognition unquestionably belongs to Marvin Miller,” said former baseball union head Donald Fehr said, now head of the NHL players’ association. “Marvin should have been elected to the Hall many years ago. It is a sad and sorry state of affairs that he has not been, and continues to reflect poorly on the very organization that has as its purpose recognizing and celebrating baseball’s best.”
Miller asked after the 2007 vote that he not be included on future ballots. He died in November 2012 at age 95.
“I must respectfully decline to participate in activities of the Baseball Hall of Fame, regardless of the outcome of its vote,” his son Peter said in a statement ahead of this year’s balloting, “and reiterate my father’s wishes not to be considered or inducted. No one in the family will participate.”
The voting committee included Toronto Blue Jays President Paul Beeston, retired club executive Andy MacPhail, Philadelphia Phillies President Dave Montgomery, Chicago White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Hall of Fame player Frank Robinson, now an executive vice president for Major League Baseball.
Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Herzog, Tommy Lasorda, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan and Phil Niekro also were on the panel along with Steve Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau, Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, Baseball Writers’ Association of American Secretary-Treasurer Jack O’Connell and retired Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter Jim Reeves.
The Hall didn’t specify Miller’s vote total, only that he was among those receiving six votes or fewer. Retired managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox were unanimous selections.
“To any marginally sentient person, Marvin Miller not being in the so-called National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is simply absurd,” former union chief operating officer Gene Orza said in an email to The Associated Press. “Miller’s absence is not the fault of the voters. They are entitled to their opinions, however uninformed or prejudiced they might be. It’s the Hall’s fault. They’ve entrusted their status as a museum to people who are not qualified to be curators of a museum — which is why the Hall’s claim to be one is a joke.”