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SBD/November 27, 2012/People and Pop CulturePrint All
MARVIN MILLER, the first MLBPA Exec Dir, died this morning in Manhattan at the age of 95 "after a year-long battle with cancer," according to Bill Madden of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Miller headed the union from '66-84 and won the players "previously-unimaginable gains in salary, working conditions and licensing and pension benefits through hard-nosed collective bargaining." Under Miller's leadership, the "average players' salary went from $10,000 in 1967 to $329,000 by 1984 while the minimum salary increased from $6,000 to $40,000." All of this was due to "two monumental gains for the players which Miller was able to attain through both collective bargaining and the courts -- free agency and salary arbitration." Miller oversaw the "first work stoppage in modern baseball history" in '72, as well as the "first mid-season strike in baseball history" in '81. He negotiated "numerous lucrative licensing and marketing deals that added millions of dollars to the Players Association coffers, in particular his 1981 success in opening up the baseball card industry to competing companies, following a quarter-century monopoly by the Topps Co. which was paying the players a paltry $125 apiece annually for the exclusive rights to their images" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 11/27). MLB.com's Marty Noble notes Miller "remained quite aware of union activities and often was consulted by his former colleagues and quoted by the media at times of collective bargaining distress" (MLB.com, 11/27). USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale writes Miller turned the union "into one of the most powerful in the country." He was "never inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame," but famed broadcaster RED BARBER called him "one of the two or three most important men in baseball history, along with BABE RUTH and JACKIE ROBINSON" (USATODAY.com, 11/27).DEDICATED TO THE CAUSE: MLB Network’s Peter Gammons noted Miller “was a hard man, a real traditional labor guy who always believed that management was out to get the worker." Gammons: "I think that drove him tremendously.” During all the labor disputes and negotiations, Miller “never wavered, this is our principle (and) we’re not going to change.” Gammons: “Every player today should say, ‘I’d like to thank you very much.’ ... We’re really seeing sort of the impact of Marvin Miller in hockey today because DON FEHR is not giving into a bunch of hockey owners and they’re shocked by it. ... The union hasn’t been broken as they thought.” Gammons: “I don’t think many people could have come in and done what Marvin did ... and he took the heat for the players” (“Hot Stove,” MLB Network, 11/27). BLOOMBERG NEWS' Laurence Arnold notes Miller's "tumultuous legacy made baseball the big-money industry it is today" and left him "both respected and resented" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 11/27). Syndicated radio host Dan Patrick said, "He did a positive thing for the players he’s representing. He outsmarted the owners. He’s a very, very brilliant man" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 11/27).
PAYING RESPECTS: Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan wrote on his Twitter account, "Marvin Miller's contributions to baseball cannot be overstated. He was a remarkable visionary, and MLB is where it is today because of him." SportsBusinessNews.com's Howard Bloom wrote, "If you are a professional athlete today, you owe a debt of gratitude today and everyday to Marvin Miller." ESPN's Buster Olney wrote, "Marvin Miller's impact on professional sports -- not just baseball -- cannot be overstated." SportsBusiness Journal's Eric Fisher wrote, "A true giant, his formation of MLBPA into a true players union helped transform sports economics." The N.Y. Post's Joel Sherman wrote, "Marvin Miller is 1 of 5 most important figures in baseball history. His absence from Hall enshrinement is a blight."
MISSED IN COOPERSTOWN: ESPN's Tim Kurkjian said he did not know why Miller is not in the Baseball HOF, but there are a "lot of people in management in baseball who never liked or appreciated or respected Marvin Miller because he was on the other side." He was "such a relentless negotiator and such a ferocious competitor that a lot of people in management think that baseball has been ruined to some degree because of the salaries when obviously that's not the case because the revenues in baseball are up so high now and the salaries just go up with it.” Kurkjian added, “You cannot write the history of baseball without Marvin Miller being right in the middle of it. To me, the Hall of Fame is a museum which chronicles the history of the game, and you can't chronicle the history of baseball without Marvin Miller” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 11/27). The Denver Post's Troy Renck wrote on Twitter, "Marvin Miller's impact and accomplishments should have put him in Hall of Fame." FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wrote, "One of the most important figures in baseball history. And yes, without question, he should be in the Hall of Fame." The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly wrote, "One of baseball's biggest injustices is that he didn't go into the HOF while alive. Incredibly influential." The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore wrote, "He should be in the Hall of Fame. A shame on baseball he didn't get in while still alive." Sporting News' Jesse Spector wrote, "Like Pat Burns in hockey, it's shameful Marvin Miller didn't get into baseball's Hall of Fame while he was alive."
Former WNBA President VAL ACKERMAN has been hired by NCAA VP/Women’s Basketball Championships ANUCHA BROWNE SANDERS to be a consultant and adviser on the women's basketball tournament. Ackerman, who currently represents the U.S. on FIBA's Central Board, will work with Browne Sanders and the NCAA to develop ways to grow women's basketball's flagship event. Browne Sanders, who was hired on Aug. 10, said she and NCAA Exec VP/Championships & Alliances MARK LEWIS both have known Ackerman for several years and they agreed that she could help them "attack some key issues." Browne Sanders said, "All the things we're looking into, she's already dealt with them several times over." Ackerman in '11 was named a SportsBusiness Journal Champion for her distinguished success in shaping the business of sports.
NCAA Finance & Operations Managing Dir KEITH MARTIN is moving over to run marketing and sponsorships. Beginning Monday, his new title is Managing Dir of Marketing & Broadcast Services. He essentially is filling the role formerly held by DAVID KNOPP, who left the NCAA earlier this year, but remains a consultant with the NCAA working on the 75th anniversary of March Madness. Martin reports to NCAA Exec VP/Championships & Alliances MARK LEWIS. Martin and Lewis will jointly work with the NCAA's rights holders -- Turner and CBS -- to manage the corporate partner program. The NCAA also has hired MATT WOLFERT as Dir of Corporate Partnerships. Wolfert, who spent the last eight years as Ball State Univ. Associate AD/Marketing, will report to Martin. He replaces PETER DAVIS, who left the NCAA last summer to go to BDA Sports.
Golf Channel named former NBC Sports Olympics features producer ISRAEL DEHERRERA Supervising Producer of Teases & Features and former ESPN producer JEFF NEUBARTH “Morning Drive” Coordinating Producer (Golf Channel)….Meadowlands Racetrack named DARIN ZOCCALI Racing Operations Dir. Zoccali was named the track’s morning line odds maker and handicapper last year and will continue those duties while in his new position, which begins on Friday (NJ.com, 11/26)….The Association of Minor League Umpires announced that President SHAUN FRANCIS will begin a third consecutive term on Jan. 1 (AMLU).
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BLOOMBERG NEWS’ Korosec & Harris report former MLB Rangers Owner TOM HICKS “settled litigation” with the team’s “post-bankruptcy plan administrator who last year accused him of misdirecting money.” Administrator ALAN JACOBS accused Hicks of “diverting ‘tens of millions’ of dollars from the team toward the purchase and development of parking lots” near Rangers Ballpark. The settlement is “subject to formal approval by lenders in the bankruptcy.” The case had been scheduled for trial on Dec. 3 (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 11/27).
AWARDS & HONORS: The team behind the London Games Opening Ceremony, led by Creative Dir DANNY BOYLE, won the second Beyond Theatre award at the Evening Standard theatre awards on Sunday (GUARDIAN, 11/27)....The National Football Foundation yesterday announced that ESPN Senior VP/College Programming BURKE MAGNUS and CBS College Football Coordinating Producer CRAIG SILVER will be recognized with NFF Legacy Awards during the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 4 at the Waldorf-Astoria in N.Y. (NFF)....Charlotte Motor Speedway Senior Dir of Business Development TRACY RICH has been named the facility’s Salesperson of the Year (CMS).
HOUSE & HOME: Patriots TE ROB GRONKOWSKI purchased a new $1.6M, “fully furnished four-bedroom, six-bath waterfront crib” at the Westshore Yacht Club in Tampa (BOSTON HERALD, 11/27)....Oracle Founder & CEO and Indian Wells Tennis Garden Owner LARRY ELLISON is making his "10th residential purchase" along Carbon Beach in Malibu, Calif. He is buying film and TV producer JERRY BRUCKHEIMER's property, which is valued at "more than" $3.65M. Ellison already owns the homes on either side of the Bruckheimer property (LATIMES.com, 11/26).
NAMES: WNBA Fever C TAMMY SUTTON-BROWN is author of the children’s book series “The Adventures Of Cree And Scooter: A Global Series.” The main characters in the series are Cree, an “adventurous mini version of Sutton-Brown,” and Scooter, a “magical lizard who comes alive at night in Cree’s dreams” (ESPNW.com, 11/23)….Little, Brown & Co. yesterday announced that MLB Rangers President and Baseball HOFer NOLAN RYAN's “The Nolan Ryan Beef Cookbook” is scheduled for release in May ’14. Ryan “compiled dozens of his favorite recipes” for the book (AP, 11/26)….NHL Rangers G HENRIK LUNDQVIST sold a goalie mask for $66,000 through an auction with Steiner Sports. The proceeds benefit Hurricane Sandy relief efforts (N.Y. POST, 11/27)….Former NFLers ELLIS HOBBS and MICHAEL DEAN yesterday announced the launch of their new company and brand Privé Society and the website PriveSociety.com. The company is a luxury membership group and personal concierge service (Privé Society).
IN MEMORY: Former ESPN Mobile Senior VP & GM JOHN ZEHR died today following a lengthy illness. Zehr was hospitalized following a car accident in Connecticut in September '10. He started with ESPN in '95. ESPN Exec VP, Digital & Print Media JOHN KOSNER released a statement saying, "John made significant, long-lasting contributions to the company in every aspect of digital media. His fingerprints are all over many of the leading products and services our company has launched and his presence continues to be felt in the work our digital team does each and every day. He will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time" (John Ourand, THE DAILY).