The late MARVIN MILLER last night in N.Y. received a memorial celebration from the baseball community that current MLBPA Exec Dir MICHAEL WEINER had sought since Miller's Nov. 27 death. About 450 people, consisting of roughly four dozen current and former MLBers and several MLB execs attended the event. Miller's ongoing, controversial exclusion from the Baseball HOF was a recurring theme. "Putting (former MLB Commissioner and Miller nemesis) BOWIE KUHN in the Hall of Fame and not Marvin is like putting in Wily E. Coyote and not the Road Runner," said former MLBer and "Ball Four" author JIM BOUTON, recalling a similar comment once made by former MLBPA COO GENE ORZA. Miller, who led the union from '66-83, will again be eligible to appear on a hall ballot in December. Miller's successor, and current NHLPA Exec Dir DONALD FEHR, spoke at length about the MLBPA's rise under Miller to become perhaps the strongest and most respected union of any type in America during a historically hostile period toward labor in general. "The reason I think he is remembered as he is, is that the baseball players' association became a symbol of what a union could be if it was run right," Fehr said. HOFer JOE MORGAN said, "Marvin wanted us to know our worth as players. That was the big thing, and coming up, we had been programmed differently." One of the biggest laughs came when Fehr described how the composed Miller signaled his internal moods during various negotiations by the drink he ordered at lunch: a Tom Collins when he was happy, a martini when he was perplexed and Old Grand-Dad bourbon when talks were going poorly (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
FIGHTING PLAQUE: Weiner said that Miller was “a ‘giant’ who had more influence over the game than anybody else in the past 50 years.” In N.Y., Michael O’Keeffe notes Miller was “undefeated in his many battles with the men who ran the game during that time -- and many supporters believe that is why he had been denied a plaque in the Hall of Fame” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/22).
HISTORY LESSON: The AP’s Ronald Blum noted Baseball HOFer REGGIE JACKSON, along with former MLBers KEITH HERNANDEZ, STEVE GARVEY, TED SIZEMORE and DAVID CONE were among the former players "in the audience." MLB was represented by league Exec VP/Economics & League Affairs ROB MANFRED, Senior VP/Scheduling & Club Relations KATY FEENEY and Senior VP/Club Relations PHYLLIS MERHIGE. Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service Dir GEORGE COHEN also attended. HOFer DAVE WINFIELD “addressed the five active players" in the audience: ANDREW BAILEY, BILL BRAY, CRAIG BRESLOW, ADAM OTTAVINO and MICAH OWINGS." Winfield said, “Know the history of the players' association. Know how you got to where you are today” (AP, 1/21).
Penn State Univ. named interim AD DAVID JOYNER AD. He will serve through the remainder of President RODNEY ERICKSON's term of office (PSU). Erickson’s term lasts until June ’14 (ESPN.com, 1/21).
RULES COMMITTEE: The NCAA Committee on Infractions added former Michigan football coach LLOYD CARR, Georgia President MICHAEL ADAMS, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Enforcement Dir NORMAN BAY, former Kent State President CAROL CARTWRIGHT, former Georgia Tech basketball coach BOBBY CREMINS, Iowa State Senior VP/Student Affairs THOMAS HILL, former Minnesota AD JOEL MATURI and Princeton Counsel SANKER SURYANARAYAN. Members “serve three-year terms” (DETROITNEWS.com, 1/21).
AUTO TUNED: Richard Childress Racing named Richard Petty Motorsports Communications Manager ANDREA CLEVELAND to the same position for the No. 27 Menards Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup team and driver PAUL MENARD. RCR named JEFF O’KEEFE to a similar position with the No. 2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet Nationwide Series team and driver BRIAN SCOTT (RCR)….F1 team Mercedes Grand Prix named Williams Grand Prix Exec Dir TOTO WOLFF VP. Wolff replaces former Mercedes Motorsport VP NORBERT HAUG, who “headed Mercedes motorsports for 22 years until his retirement in December.” The company said that Wolff would acquire a 30% stake in MGP "for an undisclosed sum.” He is “expected to retain" a 15% stake in Williams GP (FT.com, 1/21).
EXECS: The PGA of America named Nike Golf Marketing Manager MICHAEL O’DONNELL Senior Dir of Golf 2.0 & Player Development and U.S. Open Merchandising & Licensing Dir MIKE QUIRK Merchandising Senior Dir (PGA of America)….L.A.-based KLAA-AM named former S.F.-based KNBR-AM programming exec BOG AGNEW Program Dir. KLAA is the flagship station for the Angels (TALKERS.com, 1/18)….Arkansas State Univ. promoted DOUG DOGGETT to Associate AD/Corporate Sales (ASU).
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Milwaukee-based WISN-AM afternoon drive host MARK BELLING on Friday "blasted" Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee outgoing AD ANDY GEIGER, "calling his hiring 'a disastrous mistake.'" Belling was upset with Geiger's "decision to move the men's basketball games out of the U.S. Cellular Arena and back to the Klotsche Center on UWM's campus." Belling said, "Geiger has misjudged this and is treating UW-Milwaukee like it is Ohio State. ... He decided to move the games back to the glorified high school gym on campus called the Klotsche Center." Belling continued, "It is amazing how far this program has fallen during the time that Geiger is here. It is also amazing how little the guy has accomplished since he has been here" (JSONLINE.com, 1/19).
AWARDS & HONORS: Ad Age announced its "40 Under 40" honorees, including ESPN VP/Programming & Acquisitions LEAH BUHL LAPLACA, WWE Exec VP/Creative STEPHANIE MCMAHON and PepsiCo Senior VP & GM of Gatorade BRETT O'BRIEN (ADAGE.com, 1/21)....Pro Football HOFer JIM BROWN and Basketball HOFers ELGIN BAYLOR and PATRICK EWING yesterday received National Civil Rights Legacy Awards as part of the Grizzlies' 11th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 1/22)....MLS Sounders FC GM ADRIAN HANAUER was named Seattle Sports Star Exec of the Year (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/22).
CHARITY STRIPE: The 76ers raised $189,012 to benefit the American Red Cross through their "Operation Rebound" relief effort. Of that amount, some $167,500 was donated by the Sixers owners. The balance came from an online auction of unique Sixers experiences and items (76ers)....Knicks F AMAR'E STOUDEMIRE through his foundation provided lunch for approximately 600 MSG workers in celebration of MLK Day yesterday (ESPNNY.com, 1/21)....Seven Pacers players and several coaches "took time out of their free Sunday evening to visit with ailing children" at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (INDYSTAR.com, 1/21).
NAMES: New allegations of "sexual, physical and emotional abuse against" former VANOC CEO JOHN FURLONG have surfaced in court documents filed by journalist LAURA ROBINSON in response to a defamation lawsuit against her. Furlong has "yet to respond to these new claims and has emphatically denied wrongdoing" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 1/22)....Ohio State men’s basketball coach THAD MATTA will “see an increase” in salary from $2.9M to $3.2M per year (CLEVELAND.com, 1/21)….Gold Medal-winning U.S. gymnast ALY RAISMAN dropped the ceremonial first puck before yesterday's Jets-Bruins game (BOSTONGLOBE.com, 1/21)….Former tennis players CHRIS EVERT, LINDSAY DAVENPORT and JUSTIN GIMELSTOB will appear as themselves in tomorrow’s episode of CBS' "CSI" (AP, 1/21)….Lions DT NDAMUKONG SUH and Basketball HOFer KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR will appear on an upcoming episode of ABC’s “Celebrity Diving” (FREEP.com, 1/21)….NASCAR driver DENNY HAMLIN and longtime girlfriend JORDAN FISH “welcomed their first child on Sunday” with daughter TAYLOR JAMES HAMLIN. Fish works for NASCAR Media Group “in their library area, archiving race and qualifying footage” (TIMESDISPATCH.com, 1/22)….Texans LB BRIAN CUSHING’s 7,000-square-foot waterfront estate in Missouri City, Texas, is "on the market” for $1.3M (CHRON.com, 1/21).