Even if you have never heard of Marvin Miller, you probably know all about the things he fought for over most of his career. He was a union leader for baseball players during a time when salaries were on the low end of the scale; in 1966, the average pay was around $19,000 a year. At the end of his time as head of the Players Association in 1983, it had risen to $240,000.
Miller fought for players’ rights to change teams once their contracts were up and contributed to the sport becoming a multi-million dollar industry, something which was highly controversial in those days. But in the end, his dedication to the players and the game earned him respect from just about everyone he came into contact with.
“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 wrote in his 1991 memoir that fighting for the players of the great American pastime was something he was cut out to do.
“I loved baseball, and I loved a good fight, and, in my mind, ballplayers were among the most exploited workers in America,” he wrote.
Miller passed away of liver cancer early this morning, his daughter announced. He died at his home in New York.
Image: New York Times