FanPost

Where you stand depends on where you sit


http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7853268/ex-mlbpa-diector-marvin-miller-players-salaries-more-justifiable-ceo-pay

Per the above link, 95 year-old Marvin Miller, former head of the MLBPA, says corporate CEOs' salaries are outrageous; MLB players' current salaries are OK; the 1980s owners' collusion cases were worse than The Black Sox scandal, and Kenesaw Mountain Landis was a Klu Kluxer.

Regardless of whether one feels Miller's influence on baseball was beneficial or detrimental, he is certainly a baseball historical figure. There is no questioning his influence on the game. I thought his remarks were worthy of comment.

The story points out that players' salaries increased from an average $19,000 to an average $185,000 or approximately 10 times during Miller's stewardship of the MLBPA from 1966 to 1981, and have since increased roughly another 18 times (if my math is correct) since then. I don't know, offhand, how much Corporate CEOs' pay has increased in that same time, but I clearly remember the panic in the PR department of the late, lamented (or maybe not) Gulf Oil Corporation when it was learned that its President would earn as much as $1 million in salary, bonuses and stock options in the early 1970s. IMO, in both cases, the laborer is worthy of his hire. Whether one feels that a baseball player or Corporate CEO paid $$20, $25 or $30 million is worth it, the answer, in both cases is: some are and some aren't. We can't all be Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, or A-rod or Albert for that matter.

As for the 142-fold increase in baseball revenues Miller cites, from $50 million to $7.1 billion between 1967 and last year, post hoc ain't necessarily propter hoc. A few quibbles and qualifiers are in order, IMO. For example, there are now a third more teams in the majors than there were in 1967; and television and other ancillary revenues are far more significant than they were back then. Finally on this point, $7.1 billion just ain't that big a deal. Hell, the Nuttings alone are worth around $1 billion according to reports. (I just threw that in for Smizikstan). If all of baseball were listed on The Fortune 500 list, it would rank somewhere around 250-ish. The modern baseball owner does not get into this business to get rich, IMO. He gets in because he's already rich. It would be interesting to compare the payrolls of the companies that ranked just above and below MLB on this hypothetical new Fortune 500 list. Would they be found to be paying their top 25 performers $50 million? $100 million? $200 million? Would their CEO be pulling down $20-$30 million a year? Would his name be Bud Selig? Miller's implication that free-agency and fan interest have contributed to the revenue increase can be argued, IMO. Free agency has certainly changed the game, and not all for the better, again IMO. It has increased the focus on individual star players and their performances to the detriment of a focus on the teams (especially small market/low revenue teams) and even of lower-paid, less talented, but still hometown favorite players.

As for whether the Owners' collusion of the 1980s was worse than The Black Sox scandal. If both owners and players did what they are alleged to have done (I'll let the lawyers and historians argue that one) they both cheated baseball and are to be condemned equally.

Wikipedia makes no mention of allegations that Kenesaw Mountain Landis was a Klu Kluxer. Interestingly, his Wiki bio states that as a Federal Judge, Landis fined Standard Oil of Indiana $29 million (in 1905!) for violating federal laws prohibiting rebates on railroad freight contracts. (His decision was reversed). Sounds like old Kenesaw and Marvin might have found more to agree than to disagree on. At this point, Marvin's friends and associates should have been tugging on his coat.

I've had my fun, let the good times roll.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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