Marvin Miller, Players Union Pioneer, Dead at Age 95

 The Major Leagues Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) sadly announced today the passing of former union leader Marvin Miller at age 95.  Miller died at his New York City home at approximately 5:30 am, after being diagnosed with liver cancer in August.



Miller, a labor economist, had worked for the Machinists Union and United Auto Workers before he became lead negotiator for the United Steelworkers Union.  He spent spring of 1966 campaigning at training sites to be voted head of the Players Union, which he led from 1966 through 1983.  In 1968 he negotiated the first collective bargaining agreement for the players.  In 1970, Miller helped negotiate the players' rights to arbitration in order to resolve grievances, and in 1972 he spearheaded the first players walk-out ever, a 13-day pre-season strike causing a delay in the start of the season.  Further strikes under his leadership took place during spring training 1976 and mid-season 1981.  Each walkout left the players a bit more powerful, and eventually a lot wealthier.

Miller is considered by many to be one of the most influential non-players in the history of Major League Baseball.  It was under his guidance that the reserve clause, a modern form of slavery in Miller's estimation, was challenged and finally removed from the game, in turn spawning the era of free agency.  It was through his perseverance that even the most marginal players are now paid  MINIMUM yearly salaries in multiples of the average American worker ( $480,000 in 2012, versus the $6,000 minimum in place in 1968), while the elite player enjoys riches  beyond even their own wildest dreams.

 The MLBPA created the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 1997, to honor "the player in either league whose on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire others to higher levels of achievement."  Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves was the most recent recipient.  There had been a groundswell of support for Miller's election to the Hall of Fame for his contributions to the welfare of the players, but Miller himself never expected it to happen, as he admitted on a CBS 60 Minutes interview late in his life.

Miler is survived by his son Peter and daughter Susan

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