The Baseball Hall of Fame swings open its doors to new Hall of Famers this weekend but there are quite a few eligible people who still do not have a plaque signifying their contributions to the game. After all, the Hall of Fame is part of a museum and museums generally include both good and bad stuff. There are four men who need to be considered builders and, chances are, three of them will never receive a plaque. Under the right circumstances, one of the four might.
There is no doubt Marvin Miller who helped establish the Major League Baseball Players Association and changed the game should have been enshrined as a builder. However, when the Baseball Hall of Fame adds a builder, it’s for something “owner positive.” Miller negotiated players’ rights and got the players hefty salaries and a chance to shop around their services. Because of that, there has been a high resentment of Miller for decades . Even though Miller was more important than say Alexander Cartwright, who may or may not be responsible for the rules of baseball, Cartwright has a plaque. Miller did impact the game as did Boston Braves owner Lou Perini. In fact, Perini took his team from a privately owned stadium in Boston to a publicly owned facility in Milwaukee which opened the door for taxpayers’ stadium and spurred Walter O’Malley’s move of the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles in September 1957. In Houston, Roy Hofheinz changed the game getting a stadium with luxury boxes in 1965. Then, there was Charley Finley who purchased the Kansas City A’s in 1960 and moved the team to Oakland in 1967. Finley’s move changed baseball with antitrust implications. By 1969, four teams were added to ward off loss of the exemption. Perini, Hofheinz and Finley will never be honored which is a shame; they changed the game.
By Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner