He never swung a bat, thrown a pitch caught a 95 mile an hour heater from Tom Seaver or Bob Gibson, but he made the biggest impact in Baseball and in sports as a whole, by finally challanging and winning the players right to decide for themselves where they wanted to play. When their contracts were up in the past the owners simply renewed it continuously even if th player didn’t like the terms. That all changed with Marvin Miller. Jackie Robinson changed the color barrier in Baseball, Marvin Miller changed the financial barrier forever in Baseball. The effects of the players winning the right to free agency in 1975-76 are still being felt today as evidence of Evan Longoria signing a 136-140 million dollar deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.
In team sports no one had more of an impact on the way the business of baseball, basketball,football and even hockey is dealt with now. 100 million dollar deals weren’t even in our vocabulary back when Marvin Miller took over the Major League Baseball Players Association union back in 1966. Marvin Miller was the man all the owners hated in baseball but in reality he was the man who all owners in all team sports came to hate because he freed the players from the bonds to which the Owners held over the players, yes especially in Baseball, but also in all team sports at least the major ones, Baseball, Football, Hockey and Basketball. So when Evan Longoria signs a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays for 136-140 Million, proceeds of his contract should go to Marvin Miller. Some will point to the work stoppages under Miller as a negative, but in each case it turned out better for the players and the sport. Whether it was improvements in their pensions or the freedom to choose where they wish to be employeed, there is no denying that Miller’s effect on the game of Baseball has been felt from the very moment he took over the union until today and will continue to be felt going forward long into the future. In the not so distance future Major League Baseball needs to conduct a class with all rookies about Marvin Miller and his effect on the game so they can truly appreciate the money the make and at what cost it was done at. But let’s not stop at just baseball, because the other sports watched and saw how Baseball was being dealt and whether conscienously or not it did effect how they to dealt with their labor issues. It may have altered their thinking on how to divide revenues or signing big contracts but Miller did effect other team sports as well.Because of Marvin Miller Baseball’s union became the strongest union of the major sports around and still is today.This inspite attempts by the Owners to break the union during the 1981 strike, and the work stoppage of 1994.As Miller stated:”Unions are there for good,” no one understood that better.