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Nuts. Veterans Committee hoses Miller again ...

About 30 years ago when I was working as a bureau reporter for a daily newspaper in Plattsburgh, N.Y., I wrote up the wrap-up story of a local election ... the day before the election.

That doesn’t make me particularly brilliant, for a suspect the same could be done by local reporters in various circumstances all over the country. And, of course, I didn’t file the story until after the results had come in. I may be a bit eccentric, but I don’t believe I am certifiably insane.

I mention this because I could have written up the story of Marvin Miller’s continued exclusion from the Hall of Fame any number of days, weeks or months ago, awaiting only the official verification of yesterday’s vote by the Hall of Fame’s Veterans Committee, the results of which were announced this morning.

Oh, I’m not so smart that I could have told you that Doug Harvey and Whitey Herzog would get the nod, even though it was fairly easy to conclude that the pair would be the top candidates from the Managers/Umpires ballot. In theory, anyway, it’s difficult to tell in advance how 16 people are going to vote on this kind of thing.

Normally it’s only a skosh easier to figure out how a dozen people might vote, unless what they are voting on is the suitability of granting HOF immortality status to Marvin Miller. Then it gets a bit easier.

Miller himself reportedly called the makeup of the committee “rigged,” and had asked that his name be removed from the ballot in light of what he regarded as a predetermined outcome.

As noted in an earlier blog, I was still glad he was on the ballot, but now even I am reconsidering that. The 92-year-old Miller can be forgiven his frustration as he now would be required to wait two years for another vote, especially since there would be little reason for optimism if the configuration of the committee were to remain the same, which is possible but not likely.

If you’re looking for villains here, they would seem to be individuals rather than the institution itself. The Hall of Fame has labored mightily over the past two decades to tinker with virtually every aspect of the voting process in general and the Veterans Committee voting in particular.

Scolded at one time for a procedure that was deemed by many to have been a tad too liberal in admitting former players to its ranks, the pendulum then perhaps swung the other way and now there was criticism that worthy candidates might find it impossible to get voted in.

Miller’s candidacy has languished and failed under a number of different systems. His latest snub, coming up two votes short from a 12-person panel that included seven members who would be categorized as from the management side of the equation, is particularly egregious.

At such an advanced age, the latest rejection seems almost incomprehensibly cruel for the legendary labor figure, but he’s hardly the only casualty here, just the most significant and poignant one.

The credibility of the most important Hall of Fame in the world takes another blow, but this latest slap is also unfortunate for the two MLB figures who did get elected. You can bet that most of the mainstream media coverage is going to be largely negative, focusing on who didn’t get elected rather than who did.

If the bozos who didn’t think Miller a worthy candidate for enshrinement might be cajoled by some other reasons than simply the integrity of the process and their obligations and responsibilities to it – to say nothing of fairness to an aging icon who deserves far better treatment – then maybe Doug Harvey or Whitey Herzog deserved better as well.

Even on the most joyous and important day of their professional lives.