CIRCA 1970’S: Executive Director Marvin Miller of the Major League Baseball Players Association … [+]
The late Marvin Miller will finally become a Baseball Hall of Famer in 2020 after the Modern Baseball Era Committee selected the former MLBPA director along with long-time catcher Ted Simmons for enshrinement during their December vote. Despite his revolutionary standing in baseball’s archives, he missed the cut on multiple veterans committee Hall of Fame votes. In 2008, Miller wrote the Baseball Writers’ Association of America asking to no longer consider his candidacy.
“I find myself unwilling to contemplate one more rigged veterans committee whose members are handpicked to reach a particular outcome while offering the pretense of a democratic vote. It is an insult to baseball fans, historians, sportswriters and especially to those baseball players who sacrificed and brought the game into the 21st century. At the age of 91, I can do without farce.”
The Hall of Fame ignored his wishes, unsuccessfully nominating him on the next four ballots until he finally reached the 75% vote needed to secure his place in Cooperstown. Miller will be honored for transforming the union into a powerful dynamo that ushered in free agency and led the players through multiple work-stoppages.
Miller’s son, Peter, said he will skip the induction ceremony to honor his father’s wishes; however, collectors had other plans in mind to celebrate Miller’s induction. Immediately after the results aired on the MLB Network, they rushed to buy his few available commercially issued trading cards and certified autographs.
While Simmons has over 400 different baseball cards, Miller has just three standard issued cards. His first card was from the 1994 Upper Deck: The American Epic set that commemorated Ken Burns’ Baseball PBS documentary. Fans had to wait another 11 years before Miller’s image resurfaced on cardboard.
1994 Upper Deck: The American Epic Marvin Miller Baseball Card / Upper Deck
This time it was in the 2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites set. These cards were his first pack-issued cards, leading hardcore fans to debate whether his Upper Deck or Topps release was his “true” rookie card. The 2005 Topps version also had three serial numbered parallels (Refractor /299, Gold Refractor /25, Printing Plates 1/1). His final card was a News Flashbacks insert in the 2015 Topps Heritage series.
Miller’s pack inserted certified autograph cards are even rarer, with just his 2005 Topps Fan Favorites, and 2010 Topps Allen and Ginter autographs available to lend their supply to the many Hall of Fame collections. He also has one memorabilia/relic card in the 2010 Topps Allen and Ginter set. The sudden attention has led to dramatic price increases within just a week of his Hall of Fame selection.
2010 Topps Allen and Ginter Marvin Miller autograph.
In early November, his 2010 Topps Allen and Ginter signed card sold for only $75; however, after the announcement, both his short-printed 2005 Topps Fan Favorites and his 2010 Topps Allen and Ginter autographed cards have reached $400 on eBay.
While the famed union head did not want to be a part of what he considered a rigged process, the Hall of Fame’s Eras Committee has finally decided Miller belongs alongside baseball’s elite in Cooperstown. With his signature in high demand, look for the major trading card companies to feature Miller’s cut autographs in their 2020 products before the July induction ceremonies.