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A Whole Different Ball Game: The Inside Story of the Baseball Revolution Paperback – August 12, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Baseball fans may…have more fun spending their money on this new edition of the book… (Star Democrat, Easton, Md)

A fascinating account…very well written by the man at the center of it all…. Spiced with hilarious behind-the-scenes anecdotes. (Bookcrossing.Com)

Provides an 'inside' story of baseball….outlines [Miller's] influence and baseball history. (The Bookwatch)

Brutally frank and immensely engrossing. (Kirkus Reviews)

[After Babe Ruth,] the second most influential man in the history of baseball. (Red Barber)

During his sixteen years in the game Marvin Miller was the true commissioner of baseball. (Jim Bouton)

Marvin Miller took on the establishment and whipped them. (Reggie Jackson)

The man did more to change the game in the last 25 years than anyone else. (Bill Madden New York Daily News)

There is no man in our time who has had more impact on the business of baseball than Marvin Miller. (Tom Seaver)

One of the most important [books] ever published about baseball. (Stephen Jay Gould The New York Review Of Books)

Marvin Miller is as important to the history of baseball as Jackie Robinson. (Hank Aaron)

About the Author

As executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to 1983, Marvin Miller revolutionized the relationship between players and owners, and forever changed the nature of the game. He lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee (August 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566635993
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566635998
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #546,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you only read one book in your life read this book. Miller book is the best book ever written on employee management relations but also the best sport book ever written.

The book begins with the powerless Baseball Union contacting Miller about being its head with a plan to hire Richard Nixon as union councel. Miller quickly spashes the plan to hire Nixon. Miller then finds once hired the union has little money and no power.

He contacts the Topps gum company to get the players more money ($100 and a stack of cards) for using their images on baseball cards, and Topps tells him he has no power and to go away. Miller contacts the players and tells them to not sign their Topps contracts, meaning no contract, no players on Topps cards, and no Topps cards. The players comply, and Topps calls Miller and says, ok you got power, and the players get more money ($1000) and the union does too. Miller never asks the world he asks for the players to be treated fairly.

The owners told Miller the players salary was confidential and he was NOT permitted to have that information. Miller asked each player how much they made and published a copy for each player to see. One Dodger was told he was the 3rd highest player and the team therefore couldn't give him a raise. He was actually 8th. Knowledge is power.

Over the years Miller relates story after story of how he fought for the players and he fought to keep baseball viable. He understood better then anyone how the players, owners and fans were interconnected. He bring forth how he chose to protect the game, from free agency where player has a right to move to another team for a higher salary, but there are limits on their movement so not everyone is a free agent every year.
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Format: Paperback
This book was actually written to give current major leaguers, who were born after Miller was appointed as Executive Director of the Players Association in 1967, some perspective on what conditions the earlier players faced with the MLB owners and had to go through to form the union. So why not sell it to the public, and make a few extra bucks.

Miller didn't care for former baseball commissioners Eckert, Kuhn, and Uberroth. Lord knows why the baseball owners chose Spike Eckert or gave him a seven year contract, but he was only given three years on the job before he was ousted. Eckert probably needed a job when he was hired and is a good example why you shouldn't hire somebody who's unemployed.

Kuhn, a former assistant general counsel to MLB, was probably promoted over his head by a level or two. This is evidenced by his term as commissioner and his subsequent attempts to practice law. He spent only a short time with the first law firm at which he practiced, and the law firm that he founded eventually went bankrupt. Uberroth knew little about baseball. Having lived through all these commissioners I had low regard for the commissioners too, but it was interesting to hear an insider's prospective of them. Miller also thought that Kuhn's book "Hardball" was delusional. There are a few factual errors in the book, but overall a good read.
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Format: Paperback
For many sports fans, Marvin Miller is an out-of-touch windbag who made statements on steroids only East German women swimmers would have appreciated during 2005 interviews on national radio sports-talk programs.

It was too bad because his work in creating a true baseball player's union revolutionized the game and showed the bargaining power of athletes who work as one voice at the negotiating table.

Miller, with a labor background as chief economist and assistant to the president of the steelworkers' union, became the first executive director of the MLB Players Association in 1966. At this time the team owners controlled the game at all levels - from preventing movement of players from team to team through the reserve clause to hand-picking a liason for the players to management to oversee the miniscule pension plan.

A group of players wanted to break away from being the pawns of management, but it was a tough mountain to climb. And the path may have been paved by an icon in blue pinstripes.

Miller cites aging superstar Mickey Mantle as the key player in setting the foundation for the association. Though Mantle denied it, Miller says the Yankee great delayed his retirement in 1968 so he could give the association his personal vote of confidence, which then weighed heavily on players to favor the plan.

Upon his retirement in 1983, Miller had led the charge to end the reserve clause; arbitration in labor disputes; the right for veteran players to veto trades; an improved pension plan; and, most importantly, the recognition of the players' association as the vehucle to bargain collectively, with players having the right to use agents to negotiate individual contracts.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent reading and gives a whole different view of the trials and tribulations underlying the powers that rule baseball. I am not a fan of any union generally per se, but I have a full appreciation and better understanding of the situation as it relates to the history of baseball and the way owners and players interacted. When employers and employees treat each other with respect and conduct true collective bargaining and related negotiations then unions aren't necessary, but there must be truth, honesty, and respect as well as solidarity on both sides of the table to be successful.
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