SBD/Issue 60/Sports Industrialists

HOF Veterans Committee Elects Gillick, Not Miller, Steinbrenner

Gillick Was GM For World
Series Titles With Jays, Phils

The Baseball HOF Veterans Committee yesterday announced that longtime baseball exec Pat Gillick was the "only person elected" to the Hall this year, as former MLBPA Exec Dir Marvin Miller and late Yankees Chair George Steinbrenner did not receive enough votes, according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. Miller fell "one vote short" of the necessary 12 -- the "closest of five losing votes that began in 2003 -- and he still believes he will never be enshrined." Miller said, "There’s been a concerted attempt to downplay the union. It’s been about trying to rewrite history rather than record it. They decided a long time ago that they would downgrade any impact the union has had. And part of that plan was to keep me out of it." He added that he is "more disappointed by the lack of the Hall’s recognition" for the MLBPA than "by his nonelection." Two of Miller's successors at the union, DONALD FEHR and MICHAEL WEINER, yesterday "issued statements harshly critical of the vote" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/7). Steinbrenner received "fewer than eight votes" from the Veterans Committee (N.Y. POST, 12/7).

SWING & A MISS: In Philadelphia, Phil Sheridan writes Gillick "got a boost" for the HOF because "he was not Marvin Miller and he was not George Steinbrenner, two very deserving candidates whose names also should have been called Monday." It in "no way diminishes Gillick's career to say" that both Miller and Steinbrenner "had more significant impacts on the game." Gillick is an "astute baseball man who won everywhere he went," but the other two "changed the course of the game." Their exclusion seems to have been "motivated by pettiness and politics." Sheridan: "It is absurd to deny Miller's role as an 'architect' of the game. Ditto Steinbrenner. If Gillick is being honored for winning three World Series in his career, how do you ignore a man who won seven while restoring the luster of the Yankees and building a media empire to help pay for the whole thing?" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/7). In N.Y., Bill Madden writes the HOF is "diminished from what it is supposed to be as long" as Miller is excluded from it. Madden: "It is a sad commentary that (presumably) the owners on the voting committee could not put aside their lasting antagonism toward Miller and assume the role of historians -- which is essentially what they're asked to be in evaluating executives -- and finally recognize the fact that no one has had more impact on the game than him" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/7). Also in N.Y., Michael O'Keeffe writes Miller's "impact on professional sports cannot be overstated." He built the MLBPA "into the most successful union in the country and led the players through work stoppages and baseball's explosive expansion in the 1960s and '70s" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/7).

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