Kuhn among five veterans elected to Hall of Fame; Miller snubbed

Posted on Mon, Dec. 03, 200

By Sports Network of Miami Herald

The Sports Network

Former commissioner Bowie Kuhn Sunbury’s Billy Southworth was  among five men elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.

Marvin Miller, who led baseball's player union movement and was Kuhn's greatest adversary during his 15-year tenure as commissioner, did not receive enough consideration.

Bowie Kuhn (baseball’s fifth commissioner 1969-1984) will be joined in the 2008 Class by former executives Walter O'Malley and Barney Dreyfuss, as well as former managers Dick Williams and Billy Southworth.

The five will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, July 27, 2008 as part of Cooperstown's annual Hall of Fame weekend.

Kuhn served as baseball's fifth commissioner from 1969 through 1984 and guided the sport through some of its most tumultuous times. He helped land lucrative television contracts, while attendance at ballparks tripled.

"I am particularly pleased that former commissioner Bowie Kuhn is among those who have received this great honor," Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said. "Bowie was a close friend and a respected leader who served as Commissioner during an important period in history, amid a time of change."

However, with Miller guiding the strengthening union during the same time frame, rocketing salaries through free agency began and labor struggles included player strikes in 1972 and 1981.

"Because he was the players' voice, and represented them vigorously, Marvin Miller was the owners' adversary," MLB Players Association executive director Donald Fehr said. "This time around, a majority of those voting were owner representatives, and results of the vote demonstrate the effect that had. In the last vote, Marvin received 63 percent of the votes, this time he got 25 percent. By contrast, Bowie Kuhn received 17 percent of the votes last time, but got 83 percent this time.

"The failure to elect Marvin Miller is an unfortunate and regrettable decision. Without question, the Hall of Fame is poorer for it."

O'Malley took ownership of the owner of  Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950 and led baseball's westward expansion after the 1957 when he moved the franchise to Los Angeles.

"This is a historic day for the Dodger franchise," said Dodger owner and chairman Frank McCourt. "Walter O'Malley was a visionary who changed the face of baseball forever and we couldn't be more proud to see him earn his rightful spot in Cooperstown."

Dreyfuss was the first owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, bringing 14 players -- including Hall of Famers Honus Wagner, Fred Clarke and Rube Waddell -- with him from Louisville of the American Association. He was also a driving force behind the creation of the World Series in 1903.

Williams managed for 21 seasons with six different teams, capturing four pennants and two World Series titles. He guided the Boston Red Sox to the AL flag in the "Impossible Dream" year of 1967, then was the skipper of the Oakland Athletics teams for the first two of their three straight World Series crowns in the early 1970s. He also took the San Diego Padres to their first World Series in 1984.

Southworth posted a winning percentage of .597, fifth-best all-time, in 13 seasons as a major league skipper with the Cardinals and Braves. He led a pair of World Series champs with St. Louis in 1942 and '44. His 1943 Cardinals also won the NL pennant and he moved to Boston in 1946 and captured another NL flag in 1948 with the Braves.

Thanks to changes within the voting structure, the Veterans Committee elected new Hall members for the first time since 2001 when Bill Mazeroski and Hilton Smith were chosen for induction.

The Veterans Committee now includes four separate ballots. Managers and umpires are selected on one ballot every other year, while executives and pioneers are also chosen on a different ballot on the same rotation.

Players whose careers spanned a period beginning in 1943 will be considered on one ballot every other year, starting with the 2009 induction year, while those who played before 1943 will be considered every five years, beginning with the 2009 induction year.

In the new structure, 10 executives and pioneers were considered on a ballot by a 12-member panel of Hall of Famers, current and former executives and veteran media members. Nine votes, or 75 percent, were needed for induction.

Kuhn and Dreyfuss each received 10 votes, while O'Malley earned nine votes. Miller received just three votes, six shy of the required amount.

A 16-member electorate of Hall of Fame members, current and former executives and veteran media members voted on the seven managers and three umpires for the 2008 Class. Again, 75 percent was needed for induction.

Williams and Southworth each received 10 votes, while notables that came up short included long-time umpire Doug Harvey and former managers Whitey Herzog, Danny Murtaugh, Davey Johnson, Billy Martin and Gene Mauch.


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