A Whole Different Ball Game: The Sport and Business of Baseball

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1991 Hard cover First edition. First Printing, based on Printers key. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 430 p., index. Audience: General/trade. ... Autobiography/memoir by the first leader of the Baseball Player's Union-one of the most significant off-the-field figures in baseball history. One of Roger Kahn's 12 favorite books on baseball. BW photos. Read more Show Less

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For more than a century the owners of baseball franchises conducted their business like feudal barons, with the players in the role of serfs. This situation began to change in 1966, when the Major League Baseball Players Association was formed and Miller, who had been the chief economist and assistant to the president of the steel-workers union, became its first executive director. As he notes here, he saw through the hyperbole of the club owners, including the assertions that the commissioner was more than a spokesman for management and that change would spell the destruction of the game. By the time he left the job in 1982, Miller had been instrumental in virtually ending the system that bound an athlete to one team forever and in raising salaries enormously. The author is not modest in paying tribute to himself, but he is also generous in his comments about the ball players who made sacrifices for their union. A top sports book. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
July 1 (the pub date of the very special text at hand) will mark the 25th anniversary of the Major League Baseball Players Association. Miller, the first executive director of what became the first bona fide union in professional sports, takes the occasion to provide some brutally frank and immensely engrossing perspectives on the revolution he helped unleash in the national pastime. With an uncredited assist from Allen Barra (a Village Voice columnist), the author unsentimentally recalls a turbulent era during which club owners lost a protracted battle to retain the reserve rule (which effectively bound players to one team in perpetuity), thereby obliging them to bid for the services of erstwhile chattels as free agents or deal through impartial arbitrators. Without understating his own pivotal role, Miller attributes many gains won by players to the recalcitrant stupidity of owners and their minions, including commissioners. He provides an insider's insight on collective bargaining major-league style and settles old scores with friends as well as foes. High on the author's hit list are the likes of Bowie Kuhn, avaricious agents, uncritical journalists prepared to accept the front-office line, and latter-day players, many of whom (in his view) seem to have forgotten how their sky-high salaries and pension benefits were come by. Oddly, Miller has some kind, or at least sympathetic, words for such consensus pariahs as Pete Rose, George Steinbrenner, and the late Walter O'Malley. He scoffs, though, at any notion that the freer market in talent that produced multimillion-dollar contracts for superstars and journeymen alike has undermined the diamond game, arguing persuasively that theprincipals in what remains an unregulated monopoly have participated fully in the record growth of attendance, revenues, TV ratings—and the value of their franchises. Eye-opening judgments on an institution that's as much an intensely commercial enterprise as a competitive sport from a sometime mover and shaker who's still calling spades bloody shovels. (Sixteen pages of photos—not seen)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559720670
  • Publisher: Carol Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/1/1991
  • Pages: 430

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