Setting the record straight on Hall of Fame vote for Miller
Hearsay from Marvin Miller was wrong; I did vote for Miller for the Hall of Fame
The Hall of Fame took the unusual step of allowing me to reveal my vote
Miller missed induction by one vote and will be eligible again in 2013
(Editor's note: The following story by Sports Illustrated senior writer Tom Verducci is a response to the erroneous report about yesterday's Hall of Fame Expansion Era voting.)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Former players association executive director Marvin Miller issued an apology to me on Tuesday for telling a blogger that he "was told" that I was one of the five members of the Hall of Fame Expansion Era committee who did not vote for Miller in closed balloting on Monday. The published hearsay from Miller was wrong. I did vote for Miller.
"I wasn't saying I knew," said Miller, who fell one vote short of election from the 16-person committee. "I was passing along what was told to me and that's wrong. I'm going to try to correct that ... I'm sorry."
The blogger, Murray Chass, wrote, "Miller said some people told him they heard or believed" that I did not vote for Miller. The blogger followed the hearsay with three paragraphs of speculation about why I might have voted no on Miller, writing, "that's what the belief is, and Miller missed by that margin of one vote."
Because Miller gave erroneous hearsay to the blogger that was published, and especially with Miller falling one vote short of induction, the Hall of Fame took the unusual step of allowing me to reveal my vote. Committee members are asked not to reveal their votes.
Miller issued his apology to me after I telephoned him. I informed Miller that I supported him in the meeting room and with my vote. I also stressed to him that while I continue to admire his accomplishments, I was disappointed and saddened that a champion of fair treatment in his professional career would pass unfair, erroneous accusations to a blogger.
"I passed it along, and I'm guilty of that," said Miller, who admitted that he spoke with the blogger by telephone when he made his comments. "I didn't know he was going to publish it."
The blogger did not return phone and e-mail messages from SI.com. (He did respond to the The Wall Street Journal by email on Wednesday.)
"I didn't take the usual precautions," Miller continued. "In hindsight I should have said the obvious, [that] 'I don't want it repeated.'"
Miller claimed he had no interest in the breakdown of votes "nor do I care."
Yet this was the second time in 27 days that Miller accused a member of the committee of lining up against him -- though in each case the committee member apparently was on his side. On Nov. 10, Miller told the same blogger that Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer was "an anti-union sonuvabitch." On the same day, Palmer told The New York Times, "My vote has been and will always be for Marvin. He gave the modern day player a voice, completely changed the landscape."
Craig Calcaterra, an MSNBC blogger, wrote then under an item headlined Marvin Miller probably owes Jim Palmer an apology, that "rather than lash out about it, maybe Miller should just keep quiet." Miller's comments about me were made four weeks later.
I wrote in Sports Illustrated as far back as 1994 that "Miller, more than anyone else in the past 40 years, changed baseball's very structure, and he did so with the logic of someone not hidebound by the mythology and blind patriotism of the game."
Miller, 93, is next eligible for Hall of Fame consideration in December 2013. Eligible candidates must pass through a screening committee of Baseball Writers Association of America members to be placed on the ballot. Candidates on the ballot must receive 75 percent support -- at least 12 of the 16 votes from the committee -- to gain election to the Hall. The committee this year was comprised of eight Hall of Famers, four club executives and four writers.