Archive for the ‘ News ’ Category

Thank You, Charlie Manuel

New York Met fans may not agree with me but today was a sad day with the news that Charlie Manuel was dismissed as the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.   The Phils are heading for a second straight sub par season and rather than dumping several underachieving, expensive contracts, it was much easier to fire one skipper.  While I understand why the move was made (the team promoted Ryne Sandberg  to take Manuel’s place), the game will be a little less fun without good ol’ Charlie in the Philadelphia dugout.

Charlie Manuel was the best manager in Phillies' history.  Image:  phillysportscentral.com

Charlie Manuel was the best manager in Phillies’ history. Image: phillysportscentral.com

Let there be no mistake about it.  Charlie Manuel was the most successful manager in the history of the Phillies.  In almost nine seasons, his record in Philly was a glistening 780-636.  That’s only a quarter of the story.  He led Philadelphia to five straight division titles, a streak that is only rivaled by some great New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves teams.  The only time the Phillies made back-to-back World Series was when Manuel was at the helm.  The 2008 Championship team was only the second World title in the franchise’s 131 year history.

You can say that the organization, originally led by Hall of Fame GM Pat Gillick when Manuel first got there, was largely responsible for the success of the Phillies.  That is a good point but that is diminishing Charlie’s impact.  Let’s compare the two best runs in Phillies baseball.  The Phils from 1976 through 1983 won 5 1/2 (the half is the 1981 strike season) division titles, two pennants and the 1980 World Series.  However, three different managers (Danny Ozark, Dallas Green and Paul Owens led those teams.  Plus, they had legends Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and later, Pete Rose on those squads.   Philly during Manuel’s tenure has some really good players but it is debatable at best if guys like Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay belong in the Hall.

At age 69, this was probably Charlie Manuel’s last managerial gig.  Even with his excellent 2 1/2 years with the Cleveland Indians, Manuel did not manage long enough to be considered for the Hall of Fame.  I hope he continues to stay in the game in some capacity as he truly is one of the game’s best and most entertaining people.

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com

The Legacy of Edgar Renteria

Edgar Renteria made it official on Thursday, announcing his retirement after 16 seasons in Major League Baseball.   The five-time All-Star shortstop was hoping to latch with another team after no one called on his services in 2012.  This concludes a career that has had its share of notable highlights including one of the most iconic plays in baseball history.

Edgar Renteria enjoyed an outstanding 16 year career, retiring on Thursday.  image:  eastbay.com

Edgar Renteria enjoyed an outstanding 16 year playing career in Major League Baseball.  Image:  eastbay.com

At the age of 21, Renteria drove in the Series-ending run in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, propelling the Florida Marlins to their first World Series championship.  The joy was short-lived as the Fish unveiled the first of its fire sales, leaving Renteria as basically the only every day player who stayed in Miami during the entire 1998 season.  The misery was almost equally as short as he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals before the 1999 season.  He spent the next six years in St. Louis helping the Redbirds make four playoff appearances including the 2004 World Series.  It was here that he had some terrific seasons such as the 2003 campaign in which he hit 13 home runs and drove in 100 runs, the only time he hit the century mark in RBI’s.   He spent a forgettable 2005 in Boston before making the switch to the Atlanta Braves, making his final All-Star appearance in 2006.  After a stint with the Detroit Tigers in 2008, it was back to the National League, this time going to the San Francisco Giants.  Renteria seemed to be at the end of the line in 2010, playing in only 73 games.  Then after playing sparingly in the first two rounds of the playoffs, he broke out in the Fall Classic, hitting .412 and capturing MVP honors as the Giants won their first championship since moving to San Francisco.  2011 turned out to be the final year of Renteria’s career, as he hit .251 in 333 at-bats with the Cincinnati Reds.

Edgar Renteria should be remembered as an excellent shortstop who was a clutch postseason player.  He probably is a little underappreciated considering his peers during his prime years were Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra.  His career numbers for his position are nothing to put down in comparison to the other guys.  Renteria drove in 923 runs, stole 294 bases and owns a lifetime .286 batting average and earned three Silver Slugger Awards.  He was a winning ballplayer, making seven trips to the postseason and saved his best play for the World Series where he hit .333 for three different teams.  Perhaps one day he can bring that winning attitude to some team;s manager’s position.

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com

Will Major League Baseball Survive in Tampa?

There were some comments made last week by Tampa Bay Rays’ owner Stuart Sternberg that should be cause for concern among the team’s fans.  You might have missed them since most baseball-related news over the past week has been centered around the deaths of legends Stan Musial and Earl Weaver, the trade of Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves, and the latest performance-enhancing drug scandal (reported in the Miami New-Times) that has ensnared Alex Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez among other players.   Here is the quote from Sternberg (courtesy of http://www.tbo.com) that should make fans of baseball in general and of the Rays in particular very nervous.  You can view the entire article here.

“Major League Baseball doesn’t believe anymore in the Tampa Bay area,” Sternberg told Hillsborough County commissioners in a lively morning session that ran twice as long as its scheduled 30 minutes

The Tampa Bay Rays hope to remain in Tampa for the long haul.  image:  picturesdepot.com

The Rays hope to remain in Tampa for the long haul. image: picturesdepot.com

The main issue for the Rays is that the location of their home stadium, Tropicana Field is in an area that is not convenient for large segments of its fan base.  This is borne out by the fact that the club consistently ranks at the bottom of the Majors in attendance.  In 2012, Tampa drew less than 1.6 million fans, last in baseball despite winning 90 games.  The organization’s lease with the Trop runs through 2027 and St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster is not about to let the team out of the lease early, threatening to sue anyone who moves the club out of the Tampa-St. Pete area.  This has the potential to be very messy.  All one has to do is gaze southeast of Tampa and the shenanigans that has happened with the Miami Marlins and their tax-payer funded stadium.  Expect there to be strong opposition to use any kind of public funds to fund a new ballpark for the Rays.

It seems as though Major League Baseball was so anxious to get a team in Tampa, they forgot to take into consideration that the location of Tropicana Field was a potential hinderance.  As we know, Florida’s population has skyrocketed over the past two decades and baseball was eager to cash in on the gravy train first in Miami, then in Tampa.  Also missing in their evaluation of the Sunshine State’s suitability for the Big Leagues was that most people were nearing retirement age and do not want to spend discretionary income on baseball.  They had to understand that it could take two or three decades for  professional teams to gain a strong foothold as a younger generation has to grow up knowing these teams as the only ones they have ever cared about.

If the Tampa Bay Rays need a new stadium to survive in the area, why can’t MLB put up some money to keep the team there?   In fact, every other team should contribute to the cause as well.  After all, every one of them will be playing in Tampa at one time or another.  Instead of asking taxpayers to foot the bill for stadium or arena building, it should be a combination of the individual team, its league and all of its other members.  The public should be asked to contribute LAST, if at all.  I believe the organization will remain in the area whether it’s with a new stadium in the near future or when their lease runs out.  The first generation of their fans will be all grown up and ready to be full-fledged participants of their favorite baseball team.

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com

Baseball Media Has Much to Explain

On  Wednesday January 9th, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) did not elect a player into the Hall of Fame, the first time this has happened since 1996.  It is not hard to figure out why no one will be giving an acceptance speech in Cooperstown in July.  The ongoing cloud of steroid abuse kept many voters from putting in new candidates Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens and subsequently kept out Craig Biggio whose 3,060 career hits should have been a slam-dunk enshrinement.  Now that this was the first referendum on the steroid issue, it is time to look at a group of people who have not been scrutinized in their role in the great performance-enhancing drug (PED) con.  The group that should now have some explaining to do are the people who cover baseball for a living including those in print, in broadcasting and on the Internet.

No one gets voted in to Cooperstown in 2013.  Image:  www.mlbreports.com

No one gets voted in to Cooperstown in 2013. Image: http://www.mlbreports.com

Think about it, beat writers cover their respective teams from mid-February through October.  They are with these guys practically every day for almost 75% of the calendar year and the two sides probably know each other better than their own families.  Then there are the national columnists, including the members of the BBWA as well as television and Internet personalities, powerful individuals of the baseball media.  They all spend extensive time on the road talking with beat writers as well as players and management.  Are we supposed to believe that all of these members of the media, like the rest of us had an idea PED’s were running rampant but did not want to know the truth?   Given the amount of time spent around players, these people had to have known who was taking steroids but did not report anything for fear of being cut off from the game they cover.  That makes them just as guilty as everyone else involved in this scandal that has plagued baseball for years.

I have purposely not read or listened to reactions from the media until I was able to write this piece.  I wanted my opinions to be my own and not accused of taking them from someone else.  I can only imagine that those who did not vote for players based on PED suspicion or confirmed as fact are being ridiculed by their fellow press members who either did vote for or would have voted for those proven to be or suspected of steroid use.  My opinion is if they have Hall of Fame numbers, then they should be voted in.  If players that are clean have a problem with that, why did they not voice their displeasure to their union back when they were playing?  I would have voted for Bonds, Clemens, Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro simply because their careers are good enough to get in.  Besides, players such as Gaylord Perry and Whitey Ford had no trouble being selected even though they scuffed baseballs which can be argued is just as bad if not worse than PED use.  However, those writers who are calling out other BBWA writers for supposedly taking a high moral ground on the steroid issue shouldn’t talk.  After all, they had their own suspicions and also had to have known who was juicing.  The excuse, “we had our heads buried in the sand” just doesn’t cut it.  Why can’t these guys tell us who was guilty so we can put this mess behind us once and for all?  If they were given information off the record, then they could write or say something like this:

“I knew there was a high level of steroid abuse in Major League Baseball.  I know which players at the time were using, either by their own words or through confidential sources.  I can’t reveal these names because they were given to me off the record.  I would estimate that I know X amount of players who were on PED’s”.

While the Mitchell Report names 89 players, you can bet the list doesn’t end there.  The real answers could have been provided by the people who actually cover the game.  I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that they let us down then with shoddy non-reporting and let us down now by not putting anyone into the Hall of Fame.  Should we trust these guys with any kind of information from now on?  The baseball media struck out with their non-coverage of this issue and their attempts to rectify the past are too little, too late.

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com

Painful Now, the R.A. Dickey Trade Will Pay Dividends

I came home from work Monday night to the venting of my sister Kathleen.  She is a life-long New York Mets fan and she called to rant about the trade of R.A. Dickey.  I tried to be as understanding as possible all the while knowing it pained her and most Met fans to see arguably one of the most popular player of the last 30 years dealt after winning the Cy Young Award.  In a 2013 season that was shaping up to be not much better than the 2012 campaign, the trade of their best pitcher gives those loyal Met fans even less hope now that their best reason to watch the team every fifth day will not be wearing their uniform next season.  Once the emotion of the trade wears off, I hope Kathleen and all those despondent fans will see that the trading of Dickey makes sense and was done for the future of the organization.

It will be painful for Met fans not to see R.A. Dickey in their uniform in 2013.  Image:  www.cbssports.com

It will be painful for Met fans not to see R.A. Dickey in their uniform in 2013. Image: http://www.cbssports.com

Many fans thought the Met brass was being frugal during negotiations with the knuckleballer on a contract extension.  Why, they said, were they only offering two years for $20 million dollars on top of the $5 million dollars due in 2013?  Dickey was supposedly looking in the neighborhood of two years, $26 million dollars.  If you look at it from management’s point of view, they were being generous.  After all, they were the ones who gave Dickey a nice contact when no other team would.  Their offer per year was double his 2013 salary, not bad for a 38-year-old pitcher who won double digits in a season twice in his career.  Perhaps the Mets knew they were going to trade Dickey all along, getting the most for him while they are clearly still trying to rebuild.  Face it, the team might have been moderately better next year with Dickey and though I am an eternal optimist, it would have been very difficult to contend for even the second Wild Card spot in 2013.

How about looking at it this way.  Even the most ardent of Dickey’s supporters would concede that he probably won’t win 20 games again.  So what if he stayed in New York, played out the final year of his deal but went 15-10 with a 3.23 ERA. A pretty good year but do you think he would have been offered anything better than what the Mets proposed?  I would venture to say no.  By being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, Dickey gets his money and also is going to a team that is looking to take a shot at the World Series.  Plus, the city of Toronto is much like New York and we all know how well he handled things here.  Toronto will love him, much like the love he received in the Big Apple.  Plus, he gets to stick it to the Yankees maybe four times next year, music to Mets’ fans’ ears.

As for those who question the prospects the Mets received from Toronto, maybe that was the best they could do.  There are concerns about the health of catcher Travis d’Arnaud, the main piece of the deal who is listed as the 11th best prospect by mlb.comIf one of the three prospects received by the Amazins turns out to be a solid to spectacular player, then this deal is a win for the club.  He will be playing for the team long after R.A. Dickey retires.  General manager Sandy Alderson and company deserve a little leeway here.  They did manage to pluck Zack Wheeler from the San Francisco Giants for Carlos Beltran.  Beltran has already moved on to the St. Louis Cardinals while Wheeler hopefully will be up with the Mets sometime in 2013.

One final thought.  I am sad to see R.A. Dickey leave.  I think he was one of New York’s finest and most articulate athletes we have seen and is one of the best interviews in sports (just ask my niece Katie).  This is why fans don’t make good GM’s.  They are paid to assess the long-term future of the organization.  The long-term health of the Mets dictated this trade had to be made.  I do feel sorry for Mets fans.  It seems as though this team is permanently stuck in neutral.  Contrary to what many Yankee fans say about their team in the late 80′s and early 90′s, there is no comparison.  They never saw problems like this.  From 2001 to 2012, the Mets have had five winning seasons, seven losing seasons and one epic collapse.  I hope this deal works out for the Mets much sooner than any of us anticipate and that by 2014, we can count on them as playoff contenders.

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41  and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com

Prayers For Shannon Forde

This is my 100th entry for this blog.  It was going to be something other than an analysis of a particular player, team or issue.  Maybe there would have been a little more humor, a list of 100….(fill in the blank) in baseball or just a big old thank you to the readers who have followed and encouraged me since I started this a year ago.   But circumstances in life tell you to go in a different direction.  And while baseball is a part of this piece, it will not be the primary focus of this article.

During Game 1 of this year’s World Series, announcers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver held up two of those “Stand Up 2 Cancer” signs, each with a name written on themMcCarver’s sign had the name Shannon Forde who is a senior executive in the New York Mets’  Media Relations department. I immediately froze because I knew Shannon Forde as Shannon Dalton, a classmate of mine and also a member of the Athletic Administration Club with me at St. John’s University.  I found out that Shannon was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in August and that a benefit featuring several prominent athletes from around the New York area was being held for her on November 1st (switched to November 29th because of Hurricane Sandy).

The news about Shannon floored me.  Although I haven’t seen her for 17 years and our time together at St. John’s wasn’t all that long, I considered her a friend and someone who was extremely nice.  Reading the kind things being said about her by so many people in the baseball world only reinforces my belief about what a good person she is.  Shannon was a big Lenny Dykstra fan when I met her and she knew baseball better than most people I knew.   I remember that eight to ten of us from school went to Yankee Stadium in April 1994 and spoke with John Maroon, who at that time was the Media Relations director for the Cleveland Indians.  Out of that group, Shannon was the one who made it the farthest in Major League Baseball rising up to become a Senior Director with the Mets.  I guarantee you it was not easy and I am sure she sacrificed a lot in her life to get where she is.

Shannon is married with two young children and is showing just how tough she is by continuing to work full-time while going through this ordeal.  As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, let us remember those who are having a tough time with not only their health but also with finances and even loneliness.  In particular, let us say a prayer for Shannon as she continues to fight this disease and that her family and friends continue to be rocks for her.

Good luck Shannon.  Be well.

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com

Teams Are Going Overboard on Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke will be going back to the Los Angeles Angels.

Wait, he could go to the crosstown Los Angeles Dodgers.

What’s that you say, he is heading to Texas to play for the Rangers?

Hold on, the Boston Red Sox are about to get him.

Sorry, the Nippon Ham Fighters are now the frontrunners.

Enough already.

Would you pay Zack Greinke $150 million dollars?  Not a chance.  Image:  www.latimes.com

Would you pay Zack Greinke $150 million dollars? Not a chance. Image: http://www.latimes.com

As a blogger for the Arizona Diamondbacks, I know what it is like for a player to be rumored to be on the move.  I mean Justin Upton has been almost dealt to every team this side of the Durham Bulls.  Who could blame them?  He is 25, under contract for three more years and has a fourth place MVP finish.  I understand the fuss over him.

But Zack Greinke?

I get it, he is the best pitcher on the free agent market.  In addition, he won the Cy Young Award in 2009 while with the Kansas City Royals, a team that did not win very much and with whom he has spent the majority of his career. But the numbers we have been hearing are obscene for a guy who has never won more than 16 games in a season.  Supposedly, he is seeking a 6 year, $150 million dollar deal.  This is a pitcher whose lifetime mark is 91 wins, 78 losses and a 3.77 ERA.  His record while pitching for above average squads is only slightly better than his numbers with the Royals.  While a member of the 2011 NL Central winning Milwaukee Brewers, his record was 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA in less than 175 innings pitched.  In 13 starts last season for a pretty good Angels team, he finished 6-2 with a 3.53 ERA.  This is hardly ace material.

Zack Greinke picked a great time to be a free agent.  The Player’s Association will be thrilled with his contract no matter where he goes.  He just upped the bar for the next wave of pitchers who will become free agents.  However, the team that signs him may rue the day they opened the vault with him.  I am not saying he won’t be good just that there is no possible way he will ever live up to the price of the deal.

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com

Seattle Mariners Better Be Adding More than Jason Bay

The city of Seattle has been in the news quite a bit this week.  Marijuana and same-sex marriage are now both legal in the Emerald City.  Comedian Katt Williams failed to show up in court after being anything but sleepless in Seattle last week.  And the Seattle Mariners have been linked to several big-name free agents, most notably Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.  For all of the talk surrounding the M’s this week, the only thing they have to show for it right now is signing former New York Met outfielder Jason Bay to a one year deal.

Jason Bay better not be teh biggest deal by the M's this Winter.  Image:  www.sportstimes.com

Jason Bay better not be the biggest deal by the Mariners this Winter. Image: http://www.sportstimes.com

Since when did Seattle become the home for wayward, contract draining ex-Mets?  First Oliver Perez found his way to the Northwest in 2012 and actually found a niche as a reliever.  Now the team signs Bay who had three forgettable (to say the least) seasons in New York and was Public Enemy #1 around Citi Field.  While I felt bad for him here, can we expect fans of the Mariners to be excited  about his signing particularly if they lose out on Hamilton, Justin Upton and Michael Bourn?  This is an organization that desperately needs outfield help.  Although the starting trio of Casper Wells, Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders is good, none of them are what you would call a difference-maker.  Out of their top 20 prospects according to mlb.com, only two of them are outfielders (Leon Landry at #18 and Guillermo Pimentel at #19).  Plus, scoring runs has been a chore for this club.  Seattle finished 27th in 2012 with 619, almost 200 less than ML -leading Rangers who plated 808 runners.

Lurking in all of this is the fact star pitcher Felix Hernandez‘s contract is set to expire after the 2014 season.  The Mariners will need to do everything humanely possible to keep the “King” in Seattle or you can probably kiss off a generation of fans there.  If the team does nothing beyond Bay, a small free agent signing or trade, and a couple of Rule 5 guys, do you think Hernandez would want to stick around?  He has started 66 games over the past two seasons.  I am willing to bet the M’s have scored no more than 80 runs in those 66 starts.  King Felix has to be kept happy.  In fact, every effort should be made between now and the end of 2014 to extend him.  That involves coughing up some money to put quality players around him.

Look how the Rangers and Los Angeles Angels operate.  Do you mean to tell me Seattle can’t be every bit as good?  Look at the Oakland A’s who have managed to become just as fearsome as they did in the first part of the 2000′s.  Heck, the Houston Astros will be competitive real soon as general manager Jeff Luhnow is a product of the St. Louis Cardinals front office.  If improvements aren’t made soon, Safeco Field could become just as empty as that ballpark in Miami.

Boston Red Sox Moves Mean Nothing Without Pitching

When I heard the news that the Boston Red Sox had signed outfielder Shane Victorino to a three-year deal a day after signing catcher/DH/1B Mike Napoli to a similar three-year deal, I thought back to a line uttered by former NBA sage Derrick Coleman.  In December 1994, the former #1 pick was asked about Nets’ teammate Kenny Anderson skipping a practice and whether or not he should be setting a better example for his squad.  Coleman’s response is a line that I will never forget for as long as I live.

“Whoopty Damm Do”.

Whoopty Damm Do.  thanks Derrick Coleman.  Image:  www.yahoo.com

Whoopty Damm Do. Thanks Derrick Coleman. Image: http://www.yahoo.com

That’s how I feel about the Boston signing Napoli and Victorino.

Don’t get me wrong, these are not bad deals even if they overpaid for both players.  That’s not my issue.  The issue is that these signings won’t do the team any good if they don’t follow them up by getting some decent pitching.  Starters, relievers, batting practice guys, you name it.  They need them all.  Get a load of these gruesome numbers.  They had seven pitchers who started ten or more games.  The lowest ERA of the bunch belonged to Clay Buchholz at 4.56.  Not coincidentally, he also tied for the team lead in victories with 11 along with Felix Doubront who had an outstanding (sarcasm alert) ERA of 4.86.  I will grudgingly give a pass to Jon Lester and his 9-14, 4.82 ERA season.  He is better than that but will he win more than 15 in 2013?  I am sure Sox fans are itching for the return of John Lackey coming off Tommy John surgery.

As far as the bullpen goes, who’s pumped about Alfredo Aceves as the closer?  There is nothing wrong with 25 saves but everything wrong with a 2-10 record and a 5.36 ERA.  Perhaps Andrew Bailey can overcome a nightmare of a season in which he was hurt early and never recovered, pitching in only 19 games.  If you have a strong stomach, you can view all stats from the 2012 Boston staff by clicking here.

The team will not have Bobby Valentine to blame anymore if the season turns out to be another lemon.  Signing Napoli and Victorino is nice and the aura of Bobby V is no longer hanging over the collective heads of the organization.  However, without any significant pitching upgrades the Sox will be hard-pressed to finish .500 in 2013.  The goodwill earned by World Series Championships in 2004 and 2007 is quickly being squandered.

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com

Maybe Now Marvin Miller Gets Into the Hall of Fame

The world lost a true legend this week with the death of Marvin Miller at the age of 95.  Notice I didn’t say sports world because his impact on society as the head of the MLB Players Association went beyond the play on the field.  His tenure allowed the game and other sports to reach unthinkable heights of popularity and profit.  Think of how much society  changed between his assumption into the role in 1966 to until he left the post in 1982.  Think about how much sports had exploded in popularity during that period, how much a part of the American culture it has become.  For a more thorough biography on him, check out this  article from mlb.com.

Marvin Miller, a true legend of the game. Image: http://www.latimes.com

Would change have been inevitable if there was no Marvin Miller?  Probably.  Was he in the right place at the right time?  Definitely.  However, these changes for baseball might not have happened as rapidly or as successfully if the union chose someone else.  The most monumental highlight of his carer in baseball of course was his push for free agency.  No longer were players stuck with a franchise for life.  They could now choose which situation both financially and personally would benefit them the most.  After years of iron-fisted rule by the owners, it was the players who started to swing the money hammer.  Gone were the days of a Mickey Mantle being asked to take a pay cut after hitting 31 home runs and batting .285 the prior season.  In addition to salaries, Miller was instrumental in players receiving their share of licensing money, everything from apparel to baseball cards.  In short, every player for the last four decades and in the future owes a debt of gratitude to Miller as he has made each of these players wealthier than they could ever imagine.

Now that he has passed, it is time for baseball to right an egregious wrong and put Marvin Miller in the Hall of Fame.  You can count the number of people on one hand that have had the kind of impact on baseball that Miller had.  You probably wouldn’t get much past Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey.  Whether you agree with how he transformed the game or not, the fact is he was the most influential man in the sport over the last 40 years.  His legacy will live forever.  And in 2013 when he is eligible once again,, there better be a plaque ready with his name on it.

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com

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