I went back to St. Louis to think over the conversations with Miller and Quinn. The more deeply I explored myself, the more determined I became to take baseball to court. I had little money, but I was fortified by what I am not ashamed to call spiritual resources. I would try to improve my own corner of society before moving on. Win or lose, the baseball industry would never be the same. I would leave my mark.
"Marvin, I'm going ahead with it," I told Miller on the telephone. "Can you help?"
"It's possible. Come to our executive board meeting in San Juan on December 13 and talk to the player reps."
I went. I spoke for at least half an hour. I told the players that I was going to proceed with the suit whether I got Association help or not, but that I needed all the backing I could get. The men questioned me closely, making sure that I was not engaged in a classic play—threatening suit in hope that the Phillies would raise the ante—or that I would settle for a few hundred thousand dollars out of court. Tom Haller, sensibly, asked about a possible link between my suit and black militancy. The discussion was thoughtful, serious and heartening.
The board excused me from the meeting and then voted 25-0 to support my case. It authorized the Association office to retain the best possible counsel for me.
Time was precious. Marvin Miller wasted none. He called former Justice Arthur J. Goldberg, his old colleague in the steelworkers union, and asked him to consider taking my case. Mr. Goldberg invited me to his office. He is a well-turned-out man with unmussed white hair and an unmussed mind. I was nervous about meeting him, partly because I was a stranger to conferences in the private offices of former Supreme Court justices, and partly because I sensed that my future might depend on the impression I made. He put me at ease by getting right to the facts and reviewing the pitfalls to make sure that I had overlooked none.
"I just won't be treated as if I were an IBM card," I said.
"All right," he answered. "Let's go."
On December 24 I fired the opening shot, a letter to Bowie Kuhn, the commissioner of baseball:
Dear Mr. Kuhn,