Marvin Miller Dies: Pioneer Who Created Free Agency In Baseball Dead At 95

Marvin Miller Dies: Pioneer Who Created Free Agency In Baseball Dead At 95

Marvin Miller dies at age 95, leaving a legacy as the union leader who revolutionized baseball by earning players the right to free agency.

Known as a soft-spoken leader, Marvin Miller led baseball players on a series of strikes and legal battles in order to establish free agency, The Associated Press noted.

Word that Marvin Miller dies in his Manhattan home at 5:30 am came Tuesday from his daughter. In August he was diagnosed with liver cancer, though his immediate cause of death was not reported.

For 16 years Marvin Miller served as executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, taking over in 1966 and going to battle with owners to win players more rights. In December 1975 he helped to establish free agency for players.

“All players — past, present and future — owe a debt of gratitude to Marvin, and his influence transcends baseball,” current union head Michael Weiner told The Associated Press. “Marvin, without question, is largely responsible for ushering in the modern era of sports, which has resulted in tremendous benefits to players, owners and fans of all sports.”

Miller led the first walkout in the league’s history, leading players on a 13-day strike in 1972 followed by another strike in 1976. There was another midseason strike in 1981 that stopped play for seven weeks.

Though player salaries have reached astronomical proportions today, when Marvin Miller took over it was a much different story, the New York Times noted. The reserve clause bound players to their teams and their owners, and when they wanted a new contract the terms could be dictated to them by owners.

Marvin Miller dies leaving a much different landscape for Major League Baseball. He helped to move player salaries from the $6,000 minimum that had stood for decades, while beefing up their meager pension plan.