Kuhn's stance not withstanding, by 1977 an arbiter had ruled in favor of the union and abolished the reserve clause to usher in the era of free agency. Though Kuhn said it would be the sport's death knell, the average salary nearly tripled -- from $51,501 in 1976 to $143,756 in 1980. This past year, it was a record $2.8 million and baseball's gross revenue was $6.075 billion, also a record.Under the former Veterans Committee format, which included all of the living Hall of Famers, the players evidently recognized the disparity. Before he passed away in March, Kuhn fell far short of the 61 votes needed to be elected, receiving 17.3 percent as his name appeared on 14 of the 81 ballots cast. The switch this time around was stark, but not unexpected considering the makeup of the current 12-man committee. It included two Hall of Fame players (Monte Irvin and Harmon Killebrew); three veteran media members (Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News), and seven former and current executives (one-time American League president Bobby Brown, former Red Sox president John Harrington, plus current executives Jerry Bell of the Twins, Bill DeWitt of the Cardinals, Bill Giles of the Phillies, David Glass of the Royals and Andy MacPhail of the Orioles). "Because he was the Players' voice, and represented them vigorously, Marvin Miller was the owners' adversary," Fehr said. "This time around, a majority of those voting were owner representatives, and results of the vote demonstrate the effect that had. In the last vote, Marvin received 63 percent of the votes, this time he got 25 percent. By contrast, Bowie Kuhn received 17 percent of the votes last time, but got 83 percent this time. "The failure to elect Marvin Miller is an unfortunate and regrettable decision. Without question, the Hall of Fame is poorer for it."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. MLB.com reporter Ken Gurnick contributed. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.