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Steinbrenner not elected to baseball Hall of Fame



Longtime GM Pat Gillick was elected but former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was passed over for election to the baseball Hall of Fame on Monday by the expansion-era Veterans Committee.

Also passed over was former players union chief Marvin Miller, who fell one vote short of the 12 (of 16 total) needed for election.

Steinbrenner, the longtime Tampa resident, died in July at age 80. He had a tremendous impact on the game during his tenure, building the Yankees into arguably the most valuable franchise in all sports, but making numerous enemies along the way with his bombastic style and bullying tactics. 

Committee members chose not to disclose much about the conversations that took place Sunday before the vote by secret ballot, but one, former Phillies owner Bill Giles, said of Steinbrenner simply that it was "too soon" for him to be elected. Hall of Famer Johnny Bench that was a common point. "Some people thought it was too early," said Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, who served on the committee. "I believe he certainly will be (elected in the future)."

Under the latest version of the veterans committee election process, Steinbrenner won't be on the ballot again until 2013.

Miller issued quite a statement in response to the voting:

The Baseball Hall of Fame’s vote (or non-vote) of December 5, hardly qualifies as a news story. It is repetitively negative, easy to forecast, and therefore boring.

“Many years ago those who control the Hall decided to rewrite history instead of recording it. The aim was to eradicate the history of the tremendous impact of the players’ union on the progress and development of the game as a competitive sport, as entertainment, and as an industry. The union was the moving force in bringing Major League Baseball from the 19th century to the 21st century. It brought about expansion of the game to cities that had never had a Major League team. It brought about more than a 50% increase in the number of people employed as players, coaches, trainers, managers, club presidents, attorneys and other support personnel, employees of concessionaires, stadium maintenance personnel, parking lot attendants, and more.   It converted a salary structure from one with a $6,000 a year minimum salary to a $414,000 a year salary from the first day of a player’s Major League service. The union was also the moving force for changing the average Major League salary from $19,000 a year to more than $3 million a year, and the top salary from $100,000 to more than $25 million a year. The union was a major factor in increasing the annual revenue of all Major League clubs, combined – from $50 million a year before the union started in 1966 to this year’s almost $7 billion a year. That is a difficult record to eradicate – and the Hall has failed to do it.

“A long time ago, it became apparent that the Hall sought to bury me long before my time, as a metaphor for burying the union and eradicating its real influence. Its failure is exemplified by the fact that I and the union of players have received far more support, publicity, and appreciation from countless fans, former players, writers, scholars, experts in labor management relations, than if the Hall had not embarked on its futile and fraudulent attempt to rewrite history. It is an amusing anomaly that the Hall of Fame has made me famous by keeping me out.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 12:15am]


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