Marvin Miller, Baseball Revolutionary (Sport and Society)

MARVIN MILLER                                           ROBERT F. BURK

Marvin Miller changed major league baseball and the business of sports. Drawing on research and interviews with Miller and others, Marvin Miller, Baseball Revolutionary offers the first biography covering the pivotal labor leader's entire life and career. Baseball historian Robert F. Burk follows Miller's formative encounters with Depression-era hard times, racial and religious bigotry, and bare-knuckle Washington politics to a successful career in labor that prepared Miller for his biggest professional challenge--running the moribund Major League Baseball Players Association. Educating and uniting the players as a workforce, Miller embarked on a long campaign to win the concessions that defined his legacy: decent workplace conditions, a pension system, outside mediation of player grievances and salary disputes, a system of profit sharing, and the long-sought dismantling of the reserve clause that opened the door to free agency. Through it all, allies and adversaries alike praised Miller's hardnosed attitude, work ethic, and honesty. Comprehensive and illuminating, Marvin Miller, Baseball Revolutionary tells the inside story of a time of change in sports and labor relations, and of the contentious process that gave athletes in baseball and across the sporting world a powerful voice in their own games.

PAT'S REVIEW

The author takes you through Marvin Miller’s life and while doing so you not only get a look at the history of baseball, but also of our country. From the time he goes to work for the government right before the beginning of WWII, to the end of the war. He takes you through the history of unions and how politicians would use the scare tactics of communism saying that if you belonged to a union you were against American. Not realizing that pay and conditions had gotten worse after the war and that your employer could fire you for any reason. Working for the steel union first gave him an inside look into how a union should be run right. And it was until the sixty’s when one of their president’s passed away and infighting began to change the union. By 1966 looking for change he was asked by a group of ballplayers if he would come and take charge of their union. Growing up loving baseball and looking for a new challenge he accepted. Mainly what the first players were upset about was that the owners were going to reduce their payment to the players insurance and retirement fund. In place and in charge of the players union was someone the owners put in place. By 1966 the players wanted to be represented by someone they wanted. The author takes you this time when the owners would threaten the players when the vote came to take place and by the time Marvin Miller was voted in some of the player reps were traded or out of baseball. By 1968 he negotiated their first contract and raised which raised minimum salary from 6,000 to 10,000. In 1970 arbitration was added to the contract. There was the Flood fight in court about free agency. In 1972 the strike was because the owners did not want to increase player pension funds. Then in 1974 when Charley Finley failed to make a $50,000 payment into an insurance annuity that was called for in Catfish Hunter’s contract MLBPA went to arbitration, and the arbitrator ruled he could be a free agent. Also in 1974 Andy Messerschmidt and Dave McNally had their contracts automatically renewed by their teams, the MLBPLA supported them by challenging the reserve clause which teams had been used to bind players to one team. In December of 1975 an arbitrator ruled in favor of the players and free agency was born. Then the author takes you through the rest of his time there to his retirement. Also his win against the owners over collusion and other cases against the owners. What I really thought was interesting was how he was able to renegotiate endorsement deals first with coke a cola and with Topps baseball cards for player likeness. The baseball cards with Topps turned out to be huge, for they were really paying nothing for the players photos who were ordered by the owners to show up for picture day. Overall this is a very good book and though I remembered certain things happening this gives you the behind the scenes look. I still cannot believe though that he is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame, which I think is totally wrong, but that is for another day. A very good book. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

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