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Good morning, Camden Chatters.

This is where I normally would offer my thoughts about the latest Orioles news. Except there’s no Orioles news, given that teams are generally pretty quiet during the playoffs. So let’s talk about those playoffs.

They’ve been pretty exciting, haven’t they? Sometimes the playoffs are kind of a snoozefest with a lot of non-competitive games, but this time there have been some real barnburners, especially in the National League. The Cardinals and Braves are headed to a decisive Game 5 to settle a wild roller coaster of a series, in which three of the four games were decided in the ninth inning or later. I don’t particularly like either of those teams, but they’ve certainly played some thrilling baseball.

Meanwhile, the wild-card Nationals have held surprisingly tough against the heavily favored Dodgers, forcing a Game 5 of their own. Two winner-take-all contests on Wednesday? Yes, please, I’ll sign up for that. And in the AL, the Rays fended off a sweep from the Astros with a blowout win yesterday, adding at least a little bit of intrigue to that series, and assuring we’ll have more baseball to watch today.

Baseball can really be a beautiful game. Even if watching the Orioles the last few years has made us forget that sometimes.

Links
Orioles’ Dylan Bundy looks to Astros’ Zack Greinke as model for his ever-evolving pitch mix – Baltimore Sun
If you’re going to try to emulate a guy, Zack Greinke is a pretty good choice, his rough start in the ALDS yesterday notwithstanding. It may be the last time we see Dylan Bundy and Zack Greinke mentioned in the same sentence, though.

Inbox: Will Villar return to the O’s in 2020? – Orioles.com
Joe Trezza answers readers’ questions, and says Ryan Mountcastle won’t be on the 2020 Opening Day roster because the Orioles “want him to get more seasoning.” He misspelled “want to gain an extra year of team control.”

Digging into Orioles’ past – School of Roch
Roch Kubatko wonders why Andy Etchebarren isn’t in the Orioles Hall of Fame, and it’s a good question, considering his many years not just as a player but a coach in the organization. I can certainly think of less deserving candidates who have been inducted.

Wilkerson’s versatility is the key to a 2020 return with the Orioles; Remembering Andy Etchebarren – BaltimoreBaseball.com
Stevie Wilkerson may not actually be a good player, but danged if he isn’t a load of fun. Not mentioned: his delightful “Dr. Poo Poo” nickname.

Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You share your day with four Orioles, the most recent being former first round pick Keith Reed (41), who played just six major league games. On the other end of the spectrum are Enos Cabell (70) and Mike Morgan (60), who combined for 37 years in the majors, with Cabell playing for the O’s from 1972-74 and Morgan in 1988. Also born on this day was the late Bob Mabe (b. 1929, d. 2005).

Oct. 8 has been another successful day in Orioles postseason history, with the club going 4-1 on this date. Most notably, they iced the ALCS against the White Sox in 1983 with a 10-inning shutout in Game 4, scoring three runs in the top of the 10th while the Storm Davis/Tippy Martinez duo blanked the Sox.

Also on this date, the Orioles won Game 3 of the 1966 World Series, 1-0, behind Wally Bunker’s complete game shutout of the Dodgers. Paul Blair provided the game’s only run with a fifth-inning homer. In 1997, the O’s won Game 1 of the ALCS against the Indians with — what else? — a shutout, this one thrown by Scott Erickson and Randy Myers. Brady Anderson and Roberto Alomar homered. And in 2012, the Birds beat the Yankees in Game 2 of the ALDS, 3-2. The only O’s loss on this date came in 1974, when the Athletics’ Vida Blue outpitched Jim Palmer in a 1-0 shutout in ALCS Game 3.

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You’d be forgiven for thinking that Lewis Black has a heart as dark as his last name. Most of the prolific comedian and actor’s work, from his stand-up routines to his recurring “Back in Black” segment for “The Daily Show,” draws on his talent for angry and venomous rants. For the latter bit, which he’s performed for nearly two decades, Black sounds off on topics as varied as CBD, flat earth theories and deceptive medical insurance practices with such intensity that you might worry he’ll pop a blood vessel—that is, if his heart pumps blood. If that’s not enough, he literally portrayed Anger in the animated movie “Inside Out.”

But much of that anger comes from a place of compassion. He carries that empathy into two causes—finding a cure for cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic condition affecting the respiratory system, and autism services—for which he hosts fundraiser shows. A 60/40 split of all proceeds from his November 12 performance at The Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric opera house will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Hunt Valley-based Pathfinders for Autism, respectively.

A message from the legend himself: Buy your tickets now! @mediastarpromo presents: An Evening with @TheLewisBlack at the @ModellLyric, to benefit @Path_For_Autism and @CFF_MD. TICKETS: https://t.co/eUNIseOc0y pic.twitter.com/kT5uMwQAzA

— Path_For_Autism (@Path_For_Autism) September 20, 2019
Black, who was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in nearby Silver Spring, said that he first got involved with autism fundraisers through Robert Smigel, the comedian behind “TV Funhouse” on “Saturday Night Live” and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, whose son has autism. Black has performed at several iterations of “Night of Too Many Stars,” Smigel’s annual televised comedy show that benefits autism education and support services. He also recently did two benefit performances with his friend and fellow comedian Kathleen Madigan.

As for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Black said that he began hosting a recurring golf tournament and fundraiser for the organization nearly a quarter century ago. This year’s tournament took place in mid-October, only a few days before he spoke to The Baltimore Sun—”hence my voice being a little raggedy,” he explained. “I host and play golf, it’s more than one man should be doing.”

“We just celebrated our 25th year [of benefit golf tournaments],” he added. “In that time, apparently, we’ve added at least [an] average one year of life to the life expectancy of someone with CF, which is pretty extraordinary.”

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The 71-year-old comic’s life frequently intersected with Baltimore. He visits his mother, age 101, in Owings Mills often. He appeared in an episode of “Homicide: Life on the Street,” the 90s police procedural inspired by former Baltimore Sun journalist David Simon’s book. And while he had to pause the interview to look up some names, he fondly remembered Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, the late Mike Flangan and other players that made the Baltimore Orioles his favorite baseball team.

He remembered the Os’ last disastrous season much less positively.

“I don’t see what they’re doing,” he said, gearing up for a characteristic rant. “I’d like to have known what the concept was. I’d like to have known, what’s his name, the guy that went to Arizona…Adam Jones, why would you let him go? You got one guy who, in the history of baseball, plays out his contract for you, and is the kind of ball player you want to teach professionalism to other ball players, why would you get rid of him? What did you get for him? It was so staggering, as opposed to the ability for what he could pass on. He was class, greatness, everything that that Orioles organization has been about, and you let him go? You know, f**k you. That’s how I feel.”

Black shared equally strong criticism for the networks and streaming services that made securing a new comedy special, whose material he’ll try out in Baltimore, difficult.

“This has been as hard [of an experience] getting a special as I’ve ever had, while people are telling me, ‘Oh boy, you’ve really done well at this!’” he said. “Netflix didn’t answer a call for a year and a half…so we checked with other things, went to Amazon, Amazon said ‘No,’ and then they went and turned to [fellow comic Jim] Gaffigan—which is fine, I get it, don’t get me wrong…But we’re getting closer.”

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Although he’s discussed President Donald Trump and country’s political chaos during his current tour (“It was the first time when people would come up and say, ‘You talk too much about him,’ or ‘You talk too little about him.’”), Black said that the Baltimore audience will see him delve into a more personal issue: aging.

“I’ve heard all my life, ‘We’ve got a really good economy now’—the only people who say that are rich people and politicians, which is kind of a tipoff that there never really has been a good economy,” he explained. “I know that we don’t have a great economy because we don’t prepare for anything. And I know this because none of us were prepared for our parents to live that long…But the government shows no interest in it. And we’re going to live longer, and nobody’s dealing with it. There’s no financial dealing with it whatsoever. We’re just ignoring it. We’re all going to be in bunks together or something, who the f**k knows?”

If you go
See if Black figures it out during “An Evening With Lewis Black,” which takes place November 12 at The Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric,140 W. Mt. Royal Ave. in Baltimore. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets, which benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Pathfinders for Autism, cost between $60 and $200. Purchase them at modell-lyric.com or call 410-900-1150 for more information.

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HOUSTON — On Dave Martinez’s baseballreference.com page, his birthplace is listed — correctly — as New York, New York and his high school as Lake Howell in Winter Park, Florida.

But that is not a complete picture of Martinez’s youth. The second-year Nationals manager is the first to say he’s very much a product of Long Island.

“For me, it’s memories, childhood memories,” Martinez said in an interview with Newsday before Game 4 of the World Series at Nationals Park. “A lot of my best friends, very close friends, guys I’ve stayed in touch with, I’ve known them since I was 7, 8 years old, are from there.”

The Brooklyn-born Martinez — whose Nationals trail the Astros three games to two entering Game 6 on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park — moved to Brentwood at the age of 4 and moved to Florida before what would have been his junior season at Brentwood High School.

In between, he developed the considerable skills that allowed him to play 16 years in the majors and establish relationships and memories that he still cherishes.

And those memories, which the 55-year-old Martinez recalled with a smile that never left his face, are many.

Trips to Jones Beach. Fishing expeditions that departed from Silly Lily in East Moriches that resulted in catching flounder. Roller skating or dodgeball on the weekends.

Many of those memories involve a group of teammates from that critical time in his life that remains central to his foundation. Some of those teammates he’s never lost contact with, some he has, but none has been forgotten.

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“When I think back, it’s just a combination of the upbringing, how we were all really close, every weekend we were together,” Martinez said. “Those are my friends. Those are guys that had my back. You got in a fight in school, it’s over. You’re fighting seven, eight guys.”

The ones Martinez played with — whether it was with the Brentwood Youth Association summer league travel team, on the West Junior High School team or the Brentwood Sonderling junior varsity squad — remember a long and lean teenager who was a standout outfielder and stud lefthanded pitcher with a late-moving fastball and devastating curveball. Even on teams that featured several future Division I college players, Martinez stood out.

“He was a skinny little kid, but his ball had a lot of movement on it. He had those long Pedro Martinez fingers,” said Eddie Lippert, a fellow pitcher.

As an outfielder?

“He had a cannon,” Lippert said of Martinez, known almost universally among his teammates as “Tippy,” nicknamed as such for longtime Yankees and Orioles lefthander Tippy Martinez.

Another teammate from that time, Doug Vigliotti, said that on a team of talented players, Martinez “definitely stood out,” though not because of self-promotion.

“He was quiet,” Vigliotti said. “Didn’t brag about it. Just went about his business. Played the game the right way. Ran out everything. He had an arm, hit for power, average, played defense. Just a great guy.”

Another former teammate, Steve Rocco — who remains close to Martinez and attended the Nationals’ wild-card victory over the Brewers and Games 4 and 5 of the World Series in Washington as a guest of Martinez — choked up over the phone while describing his friend’s success.

That success became crystallized on June 15, 1986, when Rocco received a call from another former teammate, Dan Brennan. A mutual friend that day happened to be making his major-league debut with the Cubs at Wrigley Field against the Cardinals.

“He said, ‘Turn on the TV. You’re not going to believe who’s at-bat,’ ” Rocco said of the call from Brennan. “I got chills on my body. For me, somebody [from our group] broke through to the majors, it was so gratifying. To see somebody make it touched me deeply. His graciousness to his friends has always been awesome.”

Martinez had a .276/.341/.389 slash line with 1,599 hits, including 91 home runs, and even made a couple of appearances on the mound in his MLB career.

Martinez, who played for nine different clubs in a career that spanned from 1986-2001, recalled his years in the American League when he played at the previous Yankee Stadium. Fans seated in rightfield in those years could be rough on opposing players, to put it nicely. But those fans, some of whom might well have been from Long Island, generally took it easy on him.

“What’s cool, as a player when I went to Yankee Stadium in those years, rightfield was brutal,” Martinez said with a smile. “I played rightfield a lot, and the fans were actually really good to me because they knew I was from. [They'd yell], ‘You’re one of us, Dave! You’re all right!’ ”

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Hello, friends.

The All-Star starting lineups have been announced. Shockingly, there are no Orioles. No one even made it into the second round of voting. This was an inevitable outcome almost before the season even began, and it’s just as inevitable that next year there will be only one Orioles All-Star. Probably when the full rosters are announced on Sunday, the choice will be Trey Mancini, who’s earned a spot on the team even if it’s not a starting spot.

There’s nothing new to say about the Orioles being a bad team. The people who are in charge, including manager Brandon Hyde and general manager Mike Elias, are fully aware of what they have. When Hyde vents his frustration about the state of the starting rotation you can almost get the sense he’s hoping he’s still around when better pitchers start arriving from the minors.

Rosters of the O’s affiliates have their share of pitchers who still offer some intrigue. The O’s are determined not to rush Keegan Akin, who’s doing well enough in Triple-A. Bowie’s rotation has Zac Lowther and Alex Wells, and if you really want to squint, trade pieces from last July, Bruce Zimmermann and Dean Kremer. Hunter Harvey has been on fire in three inning bullpen stints.

This is not the end of the list. Michael Baumann pitched so well for Frederick that he earned a recent Bowie promotion. And down in Delmarva there are 2018 picks Grayson Rodriguez and Drew Rom, and some revival of good fortunes for wayward once-prospects Ofelky Peralta and Gray Fenter.

Probably more than half of these names will ever be any good for the Orioles. That’s the way it is with prospects. For a team as woeful as the Orioles are now, though, any prospect with some shred of hope feels like somebody to get excited about. Maybe that list of names will only grow as Elias and his people get more time to reshape the organization.

There have been 160 days since Mike Mussina was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Orioles have not yet announced any plans to retire his jersey number or erect his statue at Camden Yards.

Around the blogO’sphere
Adley Rutschman makes perfect blindfolded throw (Cut4)
If there’s anything he can’t do, we haven’t discovered it yet.

The Orioles have good reason to be excited about Trey Mancini (Fangraphs)
Great breakdown of some of the specific ways that Mancini has improved from last year to this year. Hopefully that continues into subsequent years as well.

Prospects Keegan Akin, Ryan Mountcastle to represent Norfolk in Triple-A All-Star Game (Baltimore Sun)
It’s not all bad news in the Orioles organization. See also below:

Delmarva’s first half success gives Orioles reason for optimism (Baltimore Baseball)
It’s been quite a while since the Orioles had an affiliate dominate with actual prospects, rather than just a collection of guys too old for the level.

Orioles bullpen still unable to provide much relief (School of Roch)
The present day, however, still stinks.

Keep swingin’: Hanser Alberto now among the AL’s top 10 hitters (Steve Melewski)
As you are a Camden Chat reader, you probably know better than to equate “top 10 in batting average” with “top 10 hitters.” Alberto’s quirky keeping an average above .300 is still cool, though.

Rays offering $2 tickets to July 1-3 games vs. Orioles (Tampa Bay Times)
I thought this was an interesting contrast to the Baltimore Sun article that I mentioned yesterday, wherein the Orioles claimed to have done research that shows that lowering ticket prices would not increase their attendance.

Birthdays and anniversaries
Today in 1957, Maryland-born Orioles pitcher Ray Moore threw a complete game shutout in a 6-0 victory over the Indians. This was the fourth consecutive CGSO for the O’s, setting a new American League record.

One lone former Oriole was born on this day: 1970-75 outfielder Don Baylor, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 68.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: England’s Henry VIII (1491), early Methodist John Wesley (1703), Enlightenment philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712), movie maker Mel Brooks (1926), actress Gilda Radner (1946), actor John Cusack (1966), and YouTube personality Markiplier (1989).

On this day in history…
In 1846, Adolphe Sax received the patent for his newly-invented instrument, the saxophone.

In 1914, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia were assassinated in Sarajevo. Exactly five years later, the Treaty of Versailles was signed to end what we now call World War I, which was sparked by this killing. About 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians were killed in the war.

In 1942, Nazi Germany launched an assault it called “Case Blue” on the Soviet Union, aimed at capturing oil fields in the Caucasus region. Initially successful, this offensive ultimately led to the brutal Battle of Stalingrad and defeat for the Germans.

In 1950, despite South Korean forces blowing up a bridge in hopes of slowing their advance, North Koreans captured the city of Seoul.

In 1969, a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village led to the Stonewall riots, which are now recognized as the beginning of the gay rights movement.

**

And that’s the way it is on June 28 – or at least, until something happens later when the Orioles play the Indians. Have a safe Friday. Go O’s!

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The Baltimore Orioles have added four Rule 5 draft-eligible prospects to the 40-man roster.
Finally, some Baltimore Orioles roster news! On Wednesday afternoon, hours before the 8 pm EST deadline to finalize 40-man rosters, the Orioles announced the addition of four prospects to the roster, protecting them from the upcoming Rule 5 draft in December.

Infielder turned outfielder Ryan Mountcastle, pitchers Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer, and outfielder Ryan McKenna have all been added to the 40-man roster. The roster now stands at 39 players.

It’s been assumed for a long time now that Mountcastle, Akin, and Kremer were locks to be protected. All three figure to be fixtures at the major league level by the end of next summer.

McKenna was on the bubble, with his elite defense and speed yet subpar offensive performance with Double-A Bowie last season. While many, ourselves included, have pushed the narrative of a down year for McKenna, he still recorded a wRC+ of 104, maintained a walk rate above 10%, and swiped 25 bases.

The speed is real, as is the defense. The emergence of Austin Hays in center field and crowded outfield situation gives the Orioles the opportunity to keep McKenna in the minors and not rush his development. Protecting him on the 40-man keeps him safe in the organization until Baltimore is ready to make another decision about his roster status down the road.

Many fans began calling for the addition of RHP Gray Fenter, but even with active rosters expanding to 26 players next year, the odds of another team selecting Fenter in the Rule 5 draft and him sticking around for a full season are slim. He’s a good pitcher and someone worth following closely. Not adding him isn’t a knock on him.

The one surprise is certainly RHP Cody Sedlock. Sedlock was a first-round pick of the Orioles back in 2016 and is coming off a dominant season in the minors, splitting time between High-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie.

Between the two levels, Sedlock went 5-3 with a 2.84 ERA and 1.20 WHIP while striking out 100 hitters in 95 innings and limiting opponents to a .202 average. However, he’s spent the majority of his time in the Orioles organization dealing with injuries.

Like Fenter and his lack of experience above A-ball, Mike Elias seems to be gambling that other franchises will stay away from Sedlock, knowing his injury history and requirement to keep him on the active roster for a full season.

Brett Cumberland, the 29th ranked prospect in the Baltimore Orioles system, was also left unprotected. That move isn’t surprising. I don’t foresee any other team selecting Cumberland, giving the Orioles a bit more time to see if his well-regarded offensive tools come around.

With one roster spot open, will the Orioles look to make a waiver claim by the end of the week? Or will they bank it and use it down the road? Stay tuned to find out!

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Good morning, Camden Chatters.

For much of the Orioles’ 2019 campaign, I couldn’t stop thinking about how ready I was for the season to end. That tends to happen when you’re watching a 108-loss ballclub. A nice, long offseason seemed like a refreshing change of pace from watching the Orioles’ nightly calamities.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Once winter arrives, though, it doesn’t take long for me to start jonesing for baseball again. I’d forgotten just how sloooooow and booooooooring the MLB offseason really is, especially for a team like the Orioles that isn’t expected to make any major splashes.

After the brief excitement of the O’s adding four prospects to the 40-man roster on Wednesday, we’re now in a lull on the offseason schedule. The next important date, the non-tender deadline, doesn’t arrive until Dec. 2. That’s when we’ll find out if the Orioles offer a 2020 contract to Jonathan Villar and other arbitration-eligible players. Until then, though, don’t expect a lot of action.

Perhaps the O’s will swing a trade involving Villar, or someone else, before that date. I wouldn’t bank on it, though. The hot stove may be awfully quiet for a while.

Links
O’s progressing toward deal with Sanders as first base coach – School of Roch
The O’s are close to hiring a new first base coach. And here I thought there was nothing exciting going on!

Looking deeper at which prospects the Orioles added to their 40-man roster — and four that they didn’t protect – The Athletic
Dan Connolly profiles the four O’s who were added to the 40-man, and looks at four who were left out. Somehow I’ll manage to soldier on if the O’s lose Zack Muckenhirn.

Four to the 40-man: Hearing from the O’s added to the roster – Steve Melewski
The aforementioned four new roster additions talk about what it means to them to join the 40-man. Keegan Akin didn’t know the deadline was coming until his uncle texted him, so I guess he wasn’t stressing over it too much.

After Career Year, Is Trey Mancini A Building Block Or Trade Chip For Orioles? – PressBoxOnline.com
Matt Kremnitzer estimates that a Mancini extension could be something like $10 million a year for five or six years. That doesn’t sound unreasonable to me for a productive player and the Birds’ most recognizable face, although I get why not everyone would be on board.

Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your two O’s birthday buddies are 2007-08 outfielder Jay Payton (47), whom I only remember for getting chirpy with Melvin Mora one time during the dark ages, and 2016-17 lefty Jayson Aquino (27), whom I don’t remember but whose name I want to sing in the same rhythm as “Jason Derulo.”

On this day in 1965, O’s outfielder Curt Blefary was named AL Rookie of the Year, the second of six players in Orioles history to win the award. The 21-year-old hit .260 with an .851 OPS, 22 homers, and 70 RBIs. Blefary started his career with three decent years for the Birds, but his production fell off a cliff after the O’s traded him to Houston for Orioles Hall of Famer Mike Cuellar. Blefary’s MLB career was finished by age 28.

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Esta es la lista de los más valiosos en Series Mundiales, que comenzaron a premiarse en 1955, cuando Dodgers y Yankees.

Ha habido Series de dos y de tres ganadores y también de ninguno por la huelga. Esta distinción se considera una de las más importantes. Los ganadores son muy solicitados para modelar anuncios:

1955, Johnny Podres, Dodgers.
1956, Don Larsen, Yankees
1957, Lew Burdette, Bravos.
1958, Bob Turley, Yankees.
1959, Larry Sherry, Dodgers.
1960, Bobbt Ríchardson, Yankees.
1961, Whitey Ford, Yankees.
1962, Ralph Terry, Yankees.
1963, Sandy Koufav, Dodgers.
1964, Bod Gibson, Cardenales.
1965, Sandy Koufax, Dodgers.
1966, Frank Róbinson, Orioles.
1967, Bob Gibson, Cardenales.
1968, Mickey Lolich, Tigres.
1969, Donn Clendenon, Mets.
1970, Brooks Robinson, Orioles.
1971, Roberto Clemente, Piratas.
1972, Gene Ténace, Atléticos.
1973, Reggie Jackson, Atléticos.
1974, Rollie Fingers, Atléticos.
1975, Pete Rose, Rojos.
1976, Johnny Bench, Rojos.
1977, Reggie Jackson, Yankees.
1978, Bucky Dent, Yankees.
1979, Willie Stargel, Piratas.
1980, Mike Schmidt, Phillies.
1981 Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero y Steve Yeager, Dodgers (una de dos veces con más de uno).
1982, Darrell Porter, Cardenales.
1983, Rick Dempsey, Orioles.
1984, Allan Trammell, Tigres.
1985, Bret Saberhagen, Royals.
1986, Ray Knight, Mets.
1987, Frank Viola, Twins.
1988, Orel Hershiser, Dodgers.
1989, Dave Stewart, Atléticos.
1990, José Rijo, Rojos.
1991, Jack Morris, Twins.
1992, Pat Borders, Blue Jays.
1993, Paúl Mólitor, Blue Jays.
1994, Hubo huelga.
1995, Tom Glavine, Bravos.
1996, John Wetteland, Yaunankees.
1997, Liván Hernández, Marlins.
1998, Scott Brosius, Yankees.
1999, Mariano Rivera, Yankees.
2000, Derek Jeter, Yankees.
2001, Randy Johnson y Curt Schilling, Diamondbacks (segunda Serie con más de un ganador).
2002, Troy Glaus, Angelinos.
2003, Josh Beckett, Marlins.
2004, Manny Ramírez, Medias Rojas.
2005, Jeemaine Dye, Medias Blancas.
2006, David Eckstein, Cardenales.
2007, Mike Lowell, Medias Rojas.
2008, Cole Hamels, Phillies.
2009, Hidecki Matsui, Yankees.
2010, Edgar Rentería, Gigantes.
2011, David Freese, Cardenales.
2012, Pablo Sandoval, Gigantes.
2013, David Ortiz, Medias Rojas.
2014, Madison Bumgarner,
Gigantes.
2015, Salvador Pérez, Royals.
2016, Ben Zobrist, Cachorros.
2017, George Springer, Astros.
2018, Steve Pearce, Medias Rojas.
2019, Stephen Strasburg, Nationals.

Stephen Strasburg aumentó número de lanzadores galardonados

Los Más Valiosos en Series Mundiales han sido 67 con Stephen Strasburg esta vez, y de esos, 29 son lanzadores. Esta distinción no comenzó con las Series, sino en 1955, y el primero fue el pitcher, Johnny Podres, de los Dodgers de Brooklyn.

Los habido de todas las posiciones, hasta un designado, Paúl Molitor, de los Blue Jays en 1993. También han pemiado un solo segunda base, Bobby Richardson, de los Yankees en 1960, quien igualmente es el único MVP de un equipo derrotado en la Serie, que ganaron los Piratas.

En año hubo dos Más Valiosos y en otro, tres. Ver la lista.

Diez de estos MVP han sido terceras bases, diez outfielders, siete catchers, cinco shortstops y tres primeras bases. Los primeros seis ganadores del título, solo recibieron un trofeo, pero desde 1961 se les entrega también un automóvil último modelo.

Estos Más Valiosos son escogidos por un grupo de periodistas de la Major League Baseball Writers Association, que se nombran para cada Serie.

El Más Valioso de la Serie Mundial de este año, Stephen Strasburg, llevaba 10 temporadas en lucha para que su equipo llegara a la Serie Mundial. En esta década ha ganado 112 juegos, frente a solo 58 derrotas y efectividad de 3.17.

A los 31 años, a este nativo de San Diego, ya se le consideraba uno de los mejores lanzadores de ambas Ligas, pero frenar la áspera artillería de los Astros en dos juegos de Serie Mundial, ha sido su consagración.

Y no solo tuvo 2-0 en la Serie, sino también 3-0 en los playoffs, lo que nadie había logrado sumar, 5-0. En la postemporada, su efectividad quedó en 1.46, con 36.1 innings lanzados.

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Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It happened at last. The big night finally arrived. Let it be forever etched in the record books: on Aug. 22, 2019, the Baltimore Orioles became the most homered-upon team in the history of baseball.

We all knew it was coming, of course. The O’s have been on this collision course with destiny for months now, when it became apparent that their pitchers had a unprecedented talent for coughing up dingers. It was only a matter of when, not if, the 2016 Reds’ previous record of 258 was going to fall.

The O’s cleared that bar with plenty to spare, giving up fateful homer No. 259 in their 128th game, with five weeks remaining on the schedule. Mark Brown broke down all the stats behind the season-long home run barrage.

The historic feat was not without some drama. Asher Wojciechowski and the Orioles gave up the record-breaking dinger in the second inning (and another blast in the fifth), but the game was interrupted by rain in the bottom of the fifth inning, before it became official. Had the clubs been unable to resume play, the game and its stats would’ve been wiped out, and the Orioles would’ve had to wait at least one more night to officially (re)set the record.

Ultimately, though, the teams waited out a two-hour, 16-minute delay to assure they could at least finish the fifth inning and make things official. And with that, the record belonged to the Orioles, once and for all.

Hooray?

Links
Hyde says that Chris Davis’ playing time could be limited for rest of season – BaltimoreBaseball.com
It’s a move that has needed to happen for some time, but it’s sad to see a once-great Oriole reduced to a benchwarmer and lineup-card-bringer-outer.

10 stats about the Orioles giving up home runs that highlight the absurdity of Baltimore’s record-setting season – CBS Sports
R.J. Anderson checks in with a few more factoids about the Orioles’ gopher ball record. The gist: O’s pitchers are unspeakably bad.

Mantle? Pujols? Alberto hangs with elite vs. LHP – Orioles.com
Hanser Alberto is being mentioned in the same breath as baseball legends. Just as we all predicted in March.

Another look at the Orioles’ improved Dominican program – Steve Melewski
When’s the last time the Orioles had any players in the Dominican Summer League worth talking about? Now they do, and Dominican academy director Felipe Alou Jr. is more than happy to talk about them.

Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have a smorgasbord of O’s birthday buddies, the most prominent being Orioles Hall of Famer Mike Boddicker (62), who spent the first nine of his 14 major league seasons in Baltimore. He was an All-Star and 20-game winner in 1984, and in 1988 the O’s traded him for Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling. Not a bad return. It’s also the birthday of the late Baseball Hall of Famer George Kell (b. 1922, d. 2009), who ended his career with a couple years on the Orioles.

Six other ex-Orioles have birthdays today, most of them of the blink-and-you-missed-them type. The list includes pitchers John Morris (78) and the late Ed Barnowski (b. 1943, d. 2017), who combined for 25 appearances with the O’s in the 1960s; and position players Raul Casanova (47), Casey Blake (46), and Alejandro Freire (45), who combined for 33 games in the early 2000s. Finally, it’s the 55th birthday of 1995 infielder Jeff Manto, who’s currently the Orioles’ minor league hitting coordinator.

On this day in 2002, the Orioles stormed back from a 6-0 deficit to beat the Blue Jays, 11-7, at Camden Yards, bringing their record to an even 63-63. That’s good! Then they proceeded to go 4-32 to finish the season. That’s not so good!

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NEW YORK — Mike Shildt began his life in baseball at his mom’s side, tagging along for her shifts at a Class AA ballpark and picking up odd jobs around the clubhouse.

When Shildt was recognized Tuesday night for the career that has followed, the late Lib Shildt was the first thing on his mind.

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Less than a week after his mother’s passing, Shildt was honored for piloting the St. Louis Cardinals back into the playoffs, narrowly beating Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers to win National League manager of the year.

Shildt earned the award in his first full season on the job, even though Counsell received more first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Minnesota Twins Manager Rocco Baldelli won the American League prize in a tight ballot over Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees. Both received 13 first-place votes, but Baldelli got more second-place nods. The 38-year-old is the youngest to win the award.

Shildt teared up upon learning he’d been chosen. The 51-year-old is the first manager of the year who never played pro ball at any level. Of course, he’s been around the pro game since he was a child, when his mom took him to her job with the Charlotte O’s in the Baltimore Orioles’ system.

“Appreciative of the time and love she and my dad invested in me,” Shildt said.

Shildt replaced Mike Matheny as Cardinals manager during the 2018 season, and under his steady guidance, St. Louis has been among baseball’s best teams since. The club won 91 games and the NL Central crown this year, ending the franchise’s three-year postseason drought. The Cardinals gave Shildt a contract extension through the 2022 season.

“I set my sights on being the best coach I could be, just like being the best player I could be, and the journey has led me here,” Shildt said.

Atlanta’s Brian Snitker was third after winning the award last year. The Dodgers’ Dave Roberts finished fourth, and Nationals Manager Dave Martinez was fifth. Washington turned a 19-31 start into a World Series championship, but voting for the award concluded before the postseason began. The Nationals entered the playoffs as a wild card, not far off from preseason expectations.

Baldelli and Shildt are the eighth and ninth managers to win this award in their first full seasons on the job.

Baldelli took over a team that won 78 games in 2018 and pushed them to 101 victories and an AL Central title. He worked tightly with Minnesota’s analytics-focused front office — a shift from predecessor Paul Molitor, who won this award in 2017 — and oversaw a turnaround propelled by the team’s major-league record 307 home runs.

The self-dubbed Bomba Squad thrived under Baldelli, whose big-league playing career was spoiled by a rare disorder that led to frequent fatigue and soft tissue injuries.

One of Baldelli’s priorities was keeping players rested, a strategy that worked especially well with his catchers. Nobody started more than 73 games behind the plate for Minnesota, yet the trio of Mitch Garver, Jason Castro and Willians Astudillo combined for 48 home runs, most in the majors by any team’s catchers.

Jorge Polanco emerged as a star at shortstop, Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton began to meet the expectations that followed exceptional minor-league careers, Nelson Cruz kept putting up big numbers and the bullpen emerged as one of the most reliable in baseball.

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Tampa Bay Rays Manager Kevin Cash also earned three first-place votes and finished third. Oakland’s Bob Melvin was fourth, followed by Houston’s AJ Hinch and Cleveland’s Terry Francona.

Past managers of the year

AMERICAN LEAGUE

2019 Rocco Baldelli, Minnesota

2018 Bob Melvin, Oakland

2017 Paul Molitor, Minnesota

2016 Terry Francona, Cleveland

2015 Jeff Banister, Texas

2014 Buck Showalter, Baltimore

2013 Terry Francona, Cleveland

2012 Bob Melvin, Oakland

2011 Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay

2010 Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota

2009 Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles

2008 Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay

2007 Eric Wedge, Cleveland

2006 Jim Leyland, Detroit

2005 Ozzie Guillen, Chicago

2004 Buck Showalter, Texas

2003 Tony Pena, Kansas City

2002 Mike Scioscia, Anaheim

2001 Lou Piniella, Seattle

2000 Jerry Manuel, Chicago

1999 Jimy Williams, Boston

1998 Joe Torre, New York

1997 Davey Johnson, Baltimore

1996 Johnny Oates, Texas, and Joe Torre, New York

1995 Lou Piniella, Seattle

1994 Buck Showalter, New York

1993 Gene Lamont, Chicago

1992 Tony La Russa, Oakland

1991 Tom Kelly, Minnesota

1990 Jeff Torborg, Chicago

1989 Frank Robinson, Baltimore

1988 Tony La Russa, Oakland

1987 Sparky Anderson, Detroit

1986 John McNamara, Boston

1985 Bobby Cox, Toronto

1984 Sparky Anderson, Detroit

1983 Tony La Russa, Chicago

NATIONAL LEAGUE

2019 Mike Shildt, St. Louis

2018 Brian Snitker, Atlanta

2017 Torey Lovullo, Arizona

2016 Dave Roberts, Los Angeles

2015 Joe Maddon, Chicago

2014 Matt Williams, Washington

2013 Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh

2012 Davey Johnson, Washington

2011 Kirk Gibson, Arizona

2010 Bud Black, San Diego

2009 Jim Tracy, Colorado

2008 Lou Piniella, Chicago

2007 Bob Melvin, Arizona

2006 Joe Girardi, Florida

2005 Bobby Cox, Atlanta

2004 Bobby Cox, Atlanta

2003 Jack McKeon, Florida

2002 Tony La Russa, St. Louis

2001 Larry Bowa, Philadelphia

2000 Dusty Baker, San Francisco

1999 Jack McKeon, Cincinnati

1998 Larry Dierker, Houston

1997 Dusty Baker, San Francisco

1996 Bruce Bochy, San Diego

1995 Don Baylor, Colorado

1994 Felipe Alou, Montreal

1993 Dusty Baker, San Francisco

1992 Jim Leyland, Pittsburgh

1991 Bobby Cox, Atlanta

1990 Jim Leyland, Pittsburgh

1989 Don Zimmer, Chicago

1988 Tommy Lasorda, Los Angeles

1987 Buck Rodgers, Montreal

1986 Hal Lanier, Houston

1985 Whitey Herzog, St. Louis

1984 Jim Frey, Chicago

1983 Tommy Lasorda, Los Angeles

Sports on 11/13/2019

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This post is part of a series concerning the 2020 Modern Baseball Era Committee ballot, covering executives and long-retired players whose candidacies will be voted upon at the Winter Meetings in San Diego on December 8. For an introduction to JAWS, see here. Several profiles in this series are adapted from work previously published at SI.com, Baseball Prospectus, and Futility Infielder. All WAR figures refer to the Baseball-Reference version unless otherwise indicated.

He didn’t swing a bat, throw a pitch or write out a lineup card, but Marvin Miller had a greater impact on major league baseball than just about any man who ever lived. In 1992, former Dodgers announcer Red Barber numbered him among the three most important figures in the game’s history, along with Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson. As executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to ’82, Miller revolutionized the game, overseeing its biggest change since integration through the dismantling of the reserve clause and the dawn of free agency, thus shifting a century-old balance of power from the owners to the players. Miller helped the union secure a whole host of other important rights as well, from collective bargaining to salary arbitration to the use of agents in negotiations. During his tenure, the average salary of a major league player rose from $19,000 to over $240,000, and the MLBPA became the strongest labor union in the country. Yet both in his lifetime and since his death at the age of 95 in 2012, petty politics has prevented him from receiving proper recognition via enshrinement in the Hall of Fame — so much so that Miller, still feisty well into his 90s, took the unprecedented step of asking voters not to consider him.

Miller’s omission is particularly glaring in light of the extent to which the 21st century small-committee processes have honored nonplayers — executives, managers, and umpires — to a much greater degree than players. To some degree that’s understandable, given that the former group has have no other route into Cooperstown, unlike the post-1936 players under the purview of the BBWAA. Nonetheless, the contrast stands out; setting aside the 2006 Special Committee on the Negro Leagues, the count since 2001 is 15 execs, managers, and umps to seven players (four in the past two years). None of those people, from commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Bud Selig and owner Walter O’Malley on down, put their stamp on baseball to a greater degree than Miller. Somewhere within this mess is the galling reality that even the Hall of Fame players who benefited from the changes he wrought, who make up the largest portion of the committee process — and particularly who formed the vast majority of the electorate via the enlarged Veterans Committees from 2003-09 — have utterly failed in their capacity to honor him. Reggie Jackson, one of the earliest beneficiaries of free agency, never struck out in more embarrassing fashion than when he told reporters in 2003, “I looked at those ballots, and there was no one to put in.”

For as much sense as Miller’s inclusion in the Hall makes, the waters have muddied since his death. The reality is that a vote for him in this format will go against the wishes of his family, which has said repeatedly that they would boycott his induction. What’s more, as the only non-player on a ballot with limited space, a vote for him could prevent a deserving player from getting his due. His candidacy’s supporters must grapple with such considerations.

Bronx-born in 1917, Miller was raised in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn (inevitably, he became a Dodgers fan). He first walked picket lines with his parents; his father Alexander was a clothing salesman, active in the International Garment Workers Union, while his mother, Gertrude, was a member of the New York City teachers union. He graduated New York University in 1938 with a degree in economics, resolved labor-management disputes for the National Labor Board during World War II, and worked for the International Association of Machinists and the United Auto Workers before joining the staff of the United Steelworkers Union in 1950 and becoming its chief economist and negotiator.

Before Miller’s involvement with baseball, the players were barely organized. While attempts to unionize in opposition to a salary cap and the restrictions of the reserve clause, which bound players to teams indefinitely, dated as far back as 1885, early efforts came and went. The owners established a pension plan for players in 1947, and players established an informal union in ’54, but it had no full-time employees, did not engage in collective bargaining, and had just $5,400 in the bank as of ’66, that at a time when the minimum major league salary was just $6,000, $1,000 more than it had been in ’47. When the players sought an increase in pension benefits — anticipating a rise in television revenue, they were concerned about getting their fair share — a four-man committee led by future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts went looking for a professional negotiator to bargain with the united, well-organized, and all-powerful owners.

Miller was recommended to the panel, which had its reservations about union leaders given the stereotypes of the day and initially favored other candidates, including Judge Robert B. Cannon, who was already serving as the union’s legal counsel. Cozy with the owners, Cannon had already mounted an unsuccessful bid to become commissioner of baseball in 1965, though the job went to Spike Eckert, who lasted just three years. Cannon campaigned for the executive director job, and while he conceded in his application that he was not an expert when it came to pensions, he balked when he discovered how much less his pension would be if he switched jobs. Ultimately, the union withdrew its offer.

The panel turned to Miller, but the rank and file players, relatively uneducated, inexperienced with unions, and easily cowed by the owners telling them they should be grateful to be playing a boys’ game for money, had reservations about him. In the spring of 1966, Miller toured training camps in California, Arizona, and Florida, speaking with players before they voted on whether to hire him. With owners and their representatives — and even an embittered Cannon — speaking out against him, and managers able to further intimidate the players by conducting the votes, Miller lost up-or-down votes in front of the first four teams, but with Roberts, Jim Bunning, and the team player representatives pushing the remaining 16 teams harder, he won over the remaining camps. As Jim Bouton — who would later benefit from Miller’s defense when commissioner Bowie Kuhn called upon the pitcher to recant the more shocking details of his 1970 book Ball Four — recalled in John Helyar’s book, Lords of the Realm, “We were all expecting to see someone with a cigar out of the corner of his mouth, a real knuckle-dragging ‘deze and doze’ guy.” Miller, a “quiet, mild, exceedingly understated man,” impressed the players, gained their confidence and was ratified as the executive director.

Miller educated the players about their rights and the importance of solidarity, and gradually began chalking up substantial victories. He implemented a dues structure and further beefed up the union’s finances by securing group licensing deals with Coca-Cola (1966) and Topps (’68), with the players flexing their collective muscle by refusing to sign renewal deals or pose for new photographs until they received higher fees and royalties. In the spring of 1967, Miller conducted an anonymous salary survey so that players could be armed with that information (at the time, the average was $22,000, the median was $17,000, and 6% made the minimum $7,000). In 1968, he and the union negotiated the first collective bargaining agreement in all of sports, which secured a raise in the minimum salary to $10,000, standardized contracts, increased meal money, and put in place a formalized structure for grievances and new scheduling rules. In the 1970 CBA, the players gained the right to have grievances heard by an independent, impartial arbitrator, which paved the way for the landmark Messersmith-McNally decision that created free agency in 1975.

In the spring of 1972, with the first CBA expiring, Miller led the game’s first work stoppage, a 14-day strike that centered around the owners’ increase in pension contributions. The owners didn’t believe the players would stay united, but they did; 86 games were cancelled before the owners finally acquiesced. In the next CBA, which went into effect in 1973, the players gained a limited right to salary arbitration, and “10-and-5” rights allowing them to veto trades if they had at least 10 years in the majors and five with their current club, and a reduction in the amount of service time necessary to reject an assignment to the minors from eight years to five.

Just before the strike, the US Supreme Court took up former outfielder Curt Flood’s suit against Kuhn and the owners, a challenge to the Reserve Clause stemming from his 1969 refusal to accept a trade from the Cardinals to the Phillies. Flood argued that the reserve clause, which appeared to give teams the right to unilaterally renew player contracts on an annual basis, constituted indentured servitude, violating both the 13th Amendment and antitrust laws. In a 5-3 decision against Flood, the Court ruled that only an act of Congress could remove baseball’s antitrust exemption, and that while Flood should have the right to free agency, it needed to be obtained through collective bargaining.

In the wake of the Flood decision, Miller engineered another challenge to the reserve clause when Dodgers pitcher Andy Messersmith and Expos pitcher Dave McNally played the entire 1975 season without signing contracts (several players, including Modern Baseball candidate Ted Simmons, had gone deep into seasons before signing). After the season, they filed grievances, claiming the right to free agency, because there was no contract for the team to renew. In December, arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled for the players, and after the owners’ appeals to overturn the ruling ran out, Miller negotiated a new CBA creating a framework for free agency once players reached six years of service time. In the winter of 1976-77, the first wave of free agents began striking it rich, with Jackson becoming the game’s highest-paid player via a five-year, $3 million deal with the Yankees. By November 1979, Nolan Ryan had become the game’s first player with an average salary above $1 million. From 1976 to ’80, the average salary nearly tripled, from $51,501 to $143,756.

After averting a strike in the spring of 1980 — centered around teams wanting compensation for having lost players to free agency — Miller led a seven-week strike in ’81, resulting in the cancellation of 713 games (38% of the schedule) and requiring the creation of a one-time split-season format with first- and second-half division leaders meeting in an extra tier of playoffs. The resulting CBA created a tiered free agent system whereby teams losing premium free agents would receive compensation.

The 65-year-old Miller retired as the executive director at the end of 1982, by which point the minimum salary had grown to $33,500 and the average was $241,497. He remained active as a consultant, member of the union’s negotiating team, and, briefly, interim director when his initial successor, Ken Moffett, was forced out due to the belief among players that he was too conciliatory towards the owners.

Miller firmly established that the talents of major league players did not exempt them from basic workplace protections, and ensured that they get their fair compensation as attendance and revenues ballooned, far outpacing the growth of the rest of the economy. But despite — or because — of his revolutionary work, he was shamefully bypassed even from consideration by the Veterans Committee until 2003, by which point the vote had been extended to every living Hall of Famer as well as the surviving Ford C. Frick Award and J.G Taylor Spink Award winners (the broadcasters and writers). Once he finally got a spot on a composite ballot alongside other executives, umpires, and managers, he received just 44% of the vote (35 out of 79). Jackson, whom Miller’s work turned into a millionaire several times over, shamed himself by sending in a blank ballot and making his “no one to put in” comment. Mike Schmidt, who became the game’s highest-paid player in the mid-1980s thanks to the leverage of free agency, similarly voted for nobody.

Jackson eventually realized the error of his ways, and his comments stirred awareness among the electorate. In Miller’s next appearance, on the 2007 ballot, his share of the vote rose to 63% (51 out of 84 votes). By that point, he was already braced for disappointment, saying, “When you’re my age, 89 going on 90, questions of mortality have a greater priority than a promised immortality.” Later that year, Bouton succinctly summarized Miller’s chances on the 2008 ballot, by which point the process had reverted to a 12-member panel. “Marvin Miller kicked their butts and took power away from the baseball establishment — do you really think those people are going to vote him in? It’s a joke.”

Indeed, that Miller received just three votes on a panel that elected Kuhn (who had received just 17.3% from the larger group the year before) was a sick and twisted joke given that the labor leader beat the commissioner like a rented mule at every turn, most notably when it came to the Seitz ruling. Said Bouton, “It’s like having a cartoon Hall of Fame which admitted Wile E. Coyote and kept out the Roadrunner.”

One look at the composition of the panel explained the result. Beyond the three writers on the committee, none of the three ex-players (Monte Irvin, Bobby Brown, and Harmon Killebrew) played a single major league game in the post-Reserve Clause era. What’s more, Irvin spent 17 years working for the commissioner’s office under Kuhn, while Brown was an executive with the Rangers and then AL president after Kuhn stepped down. Of the six other owners and executives on the committee, Bill DeWitt Jr. (Cardinals), Bill Giles (Phillies) ,and Andy MacPhail (Orioles) were legacies whose fathers (and the latter’s grandfather) were on the management side during the Reserve Clause era, while Giles, MacPhail and John Harrington (Red Sox) were part of management during baseball’s late-1980s collusion scandal,, the trial of which featured Miller as the lead witness.

So frustrated was the 91-year-old Miller that six months later, with his candidacy not set to be reviewed for another 18 months, he took the unprecedented step of asking the Hall not to include him on another ballot, saying in a letter to the BBWAA (whose Historical Overview Committee constructs the ballots):

“Paradoxically, I’m writing to thank you and your associates for your part in nominating me for Hall of Fame consideration, and, at the same time, to ask that you not do this again. The anti-union bias of the powers who control the Hall has consistently prevented recognition of the historic significance of the changes to baseball brought about by collective bargaining.

“As former executive director of the players’ union that negotiated these changes, I find myself unwilling to contemplate one more rigged Veterans Committee whose members are handpicked to reach a particular outcome while offering a pretense of a democratic vote. It is an insult to baseball fans, historians, sports writers and especially to those baseball players who sacrificed and brought the game into the 21st century. At the age of 91 I can do without a farce.”

Like any good labor leader, Miller knew how to count votes before an election was held, and he knew when he didn’t have them. When I interviewed him for Baseball Prospectus shortly after that release, I found him still sharp as a tack at his age. He reiterated his stance with regards to the Hall, vowing not to show up for induction if the the VC elected him, referencing both Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, who refused to run for president (“If elected I will not serve…”), and comedian Groucho Marx (“I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member”).

Against his wishes, Miller was included again on the 2010 VC ballot (58%) and the ’11 Expansion Era ballot. While he received 11 out of 16 votes in the latter, one short of election, the presence of MacPhail, Giles, Royals owner David Glass (an anti-union hardliner in the 1994 strike), and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf (a collusion kingpin and strike hardliner) meant that Miller had to run the table among the other 12 voters to gain entry. That he came so close no doubt owed to the fact that of the six Hall of Fame players on the panel, five (Rod Carew, Andre Dawson, Carlton Fisk, Paul Molitor, and Phil Niekro) benefitted from free agency.

Before Miller passed away in 2012, his son Peter ruled out the family’s participation in any posthumous honor by the Hall: “No one in our family will attend or speak at any HOF ceremony regardless of the outcome of the HOF vote. It’s important for union members and the media to understand why, so that the story does not get misrepresented as ‘sour grapes,’ personal pique, or anything of the sort.”

When Miller was included on the 2014 Expansion Era ballot, his children repeated their stance, with daughter Susan calling the committee “cowards [for] doing it after he died.” In the ensuing vote, managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, and Joe Torre were elected unanimously, while Miller and the other eight candidates were consigned to “six votes or fewer” territory. In 2018, he received seven of 16 votes while Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were elected, and Simmons fell one vote short.

As he’s on yet another ballot, voters (and Miller’s supporters) again face a paradox: is it more important to honor the man’s wishes or to rightfully recognize his place in baseball history, even in belated fashion? I’ve wrestled with this question for years, and I’m hardly alone. While I don’t begrudge the family its permanent boycott of the institution, I come down on the side of preferring that he’s elected. One can’t credibly tell the story of Major League Baseball without Marvin Miller, who revolutionized the game and its business practices. When he’s honored, both his accomplishments and the stain of the institution’s failure to honor him during his lifetime will be part of that story. His plaque will be the same size as all the others, but its presence will stand as a towering middle finger aimed at the small men who conspired against him during his lifetime and after, and who colluded against the players in efforts to break the union. The induction speech that Miller never got to give would have been epic, but even without it, his legacy will long outlive those of his foes.

With that, I’ve completed my review of the 10 candidates on the Modern Baseball ballot. I don’t have a vote, but if I did, three of my four spots would go Miller, Simmons, and Lou Whitaker, the two players whose cases are best supported by WAR, JAWS, and other considerations. That leaves me to choose between Thurman Munson and Dwight Evans for the fourth spot. I won’t rehash their cases here, but in the end, Munson’s above-standard peak, role in multiple championships, and numerous accolades give him the nod over Evans, who was so underappreciated in his day and who deserves better. I hope I get a chance to consider the latter again, but for now, I think this is an exceptional quartet, any of whom would improve the Hall’s rolls with his addition. We’ll find out who, if anyone, is elected on December 8.