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Herzog, Harvey In, Miller Out of Hall of Fame

Posted on December 07, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Whitey Herzog led the St. Louis Cardinals to the 1982 World Series title and won three pennants with the Cardinals.

Whitey Herzog led the St. Louis Cardinals to the 1982 World Series title and won three pennants with the Cardinals.

Regardless of what happens with the general election in January, there is guaranteed to be a 2010 Class for the Baseball Hall of Fame. The selection today of former manager Whitey Herzog and longtime umpire Doug Harvey adds two more colorful characters to the Hall of Fame. However, another colorful character, former Union leader Marvin Miller, failed to earn selection.

The continued snub of the man who brought baseball salaries out of the Stone Age is disappointing, but not surprising. At age 92, Miller has been tantalizingly close to Hall of Fame induction for many years, but while he receives strong support from players, others seem intent on keeping him out of Cooperstown.

Sadly, I expect Miller is destined for a fate similar to that of former manager Leo “The Lip” Durocher, who was purposely held out of the Hall of Fame by grudge holding sportswriters until following his death.

Given Miller’s feisty personality – he wrote a letter in 2007 discouraging his selection into the Hall of Fame because he felt it was too little too late – if his selection comes following his death I can see him having a letter read at the ceremony declining the honor.

When Marvin Miller created the Baseball Player's Association the minimum salary was $6,000.

When Marvin Miller created the Baseball Player's Association the minimum salary was $6,000.

There is little doubt that Miller has had as much impact on modern baseball than many players, owners and executives already enshrined in the Hall. Among the now common practices that Miller helped create include collective bargaining, player arbitration, free agency and the use of player’s strikes to force bargaining by league owners.

Of course, I guess you could argue that not all of those are good things, but still, when Miller created the Baseball Player’s Association in the mid-1960s, the minimum salary was $6,000 and had not been increased in two decades.

Suffice to say, players today tip more than that on an average road trip.

Of the two that did earn selection into the Hall of Fame, Whitey Herzog is the one that has some people scratching their heads.

Herzog was a good and colorful manager during his 18-year career, but it is tough to argue that the bar for Hall of Fame induction was raised by the selection of Herzog.

I’m sure when Herzog went 47-91 and didn’t make it through the full season during his initial managerial stop with the Texas Rangers in 1973, he wasn’t expecting his career to end up with a plaque in Cooperstown.

However, after winning three division titles in five seasons with the Kansas City Royals and then leading the St. Louis Cardinals to three World Series appearances, Herzog proved that he was a quality manager.

In 18 years as a manager, he won six division titles, three pennants and one World Series title.

However, his 1,281 victories ranks only 32nd in MLB history and his .532 winning percentage hardly seems like Hall of Fame material.

Doug Harvey umpired in the World Series five times in his 31-year career.

Doug Harvey umpired in the World Series five times in his 31-year career.

To most baseball people, the only thing controversial about the selection of former umpire Doug Harvey is that it took so long.

A veteran of 31 seasons in the National League, Harvey retired in 1992 after umpiring more than 4,600 games. He umpired in five World Series and six All-Star games.

We now will wait until early January to see which former players will join Herzog and Harvey at the 2010 induction ceremonies. Unlike recent years, there is no clear-cut selection, but Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez and Barry Larkin highlight the first time eligible players.


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