Posts Tagged ‘MLBPA’

Induction: Challenges in Canton

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

(May 10, 2011) Yes, Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame are facing a big challenge – rethinking the Induction Celebration or, as the Museum itself terms it, Enshrinement Weekend. I am sure it has been an on-going discussion since the first rumors of a potential lockout of the players – how do we structure the weekend if there is no game? It’s a challenge of mammoth proportions for both the Hall of Fame and the city. How to reorganize an event that has been well organized and received – a highly successful celebration that funds important programs at the Museum and provides the city with revenue?

While the Enshrinement Weekend website still highlights the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game between the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears, we all know that behind the scenes a full alternative plan has been developed. We, the city, and the Hall of Fame are going to learn how important the game is to building the attendance and the buzz for the entire weekend. I am sure there are many concerned faces throughout the city and state.

The alternative plan is substantially complete by now and many of the key people in the alternate plan have their marching orders. When to announce the change? How to announce the change? These are tough questions for the executives in Canton.

What the Pro Football Hall of Fame will do has the potential to be instructive for everyone. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum faced the same challenge less than a decade ago when Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association were unable to make the schedule work any longer and the mid-season exhibition in Cooperstown was discontinued. Over time the Cooperstown museum has adjusted to the loss of the game by instituting the Hall of Fame Classic, a non-Major League Baseball exhibition game though not scheduled on Induction Weekend, and adding or changing various Induction Weekend programming elements. This year there’s a new event on the schedule, the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation on Doubleday Field that will honor the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum annual award winners, i.e. the Ford Frick and other media awards.

Okay, so what’s my point? Even the biggest Halls of Fame have challenges and concerns and need to re-evaluate their induction weekends/ceremonies/events on a regular basis. Are you thinking about what alternatives there are to your traditional induction program? How might outside forces cause you to change? Have you sketched alternative scenarios for the event? Always good to have other event models in the hopper, just in case!

Jack Huckel, Founder & Principal of J.R. Huckel & Associates, offers election and induction consulting services to Halls of Fame. Jack served the National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum as Director of Museum and Archives for 9-1/2 years after more than 10 years as a volunteer. More information is available at the firm’s web site. He can be reached at jack@jrhuckel.com or 518/852-3033.

 

Closing the Loop on Marvin Miller and the Hall of Fame in 2010

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

(December 7, 2010) I have written previously on the new election process the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is using to review and potentially elect non-players and veteran players (those not elected through the Baseball Writers of America Association process). As I predicted in two earlier columns, Marvin Miller, former head of the Major League Baseball Players Association, aka the Union, failed to receive the 12 votes needed to garner election. Here’s today’s New York Times story on the election announcement. As one might expect, MLBPA also commented on the results of the election.

Interestingly, the vote as reported seems to mirror the points I made in my blog of October 26, 2010 entitled “Controversy in Hall of Fame Elections,” quoted here:

Just this past July the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced newprocedures for the consideration of managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players. The new procedure for the election of executives will continue to include major league executives on the 16-person selection committee. Will they constitute more than 25% of the committee and continue to, as some observers believe, block Miller’s election? The first answer to that question may be revealed when the Hall of Fame releases the Expansion Era Ballot this month. Will Miller’s name appear on this ballot? If so then the follow-on questions include: What will be the exact composition of the committee? One would think the Hall of Fame players on the committee would all vote for Miller, but will all the historians and veteran media members? And if they all were to vote for Miller, are there 12 of them so he reaches the Hall of Fame 75% criteria, assuming the major league executives will continue to not vote for Miller?

And in a follow-up to that column dated November 9, 2010, after the Hall of Fame has announced the individuals to be considered by the committee, I wrote:

Note, as my previous column stated, that the committee has four (4) MLS executives who will, perhaps, not vote for Miller. If that were true, then he would require votes from every other member of the committee to be elected, a challenging scenario.

It appears to me that what I observed has indeed transpired – one of the 12 non-major league baseball executives chose not vote for Miller and his case is closed until 2013, the next time he can be considered for election to the Hall of Fame.

Miller’s reaction as reported in the New York Times is here.

Once again, I pose these questions for your consideration:

  • Does your process place the consideration of candidates under conflict of interest threat?
  • How can your Hall of Fame create a fair process that keeps personal or professional animosities from being a part of the election or selection process?
  • Time will tell (has told) whether their new procedure will meet that goal for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, but are you thinking about it for your Hall of Fame as well?

On this date I urge you to pause a moment and reflect on the 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, a “Day of Infamy” as famously intoned by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Many good people died that day in service to the United States and for the principle that a just world should more closely model the glowing ideal enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, that all are created equal and are “…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Jack Huckel, Founder & Principal of J.R. Huckel & Associates, offers election and induction consulting services to Halls of Fame. More information is available at the firm’s web site and Jack can be reached at jack@jrhuckel.com or 518/852-3033.

The Big Day

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

(December 1, 2010) Whatever the organization’s goals, the big day at Halls of Fame for everyone is Induction Day. Everything done with elections, with committees, with the press, and the general public all points toward the moment when those chosen to be honored are put on the public stage and given their moment in Hall of Fame history. Whether the Hall of Fame is a local and relatively unknown or national and universally recognized, Induction Day is the day when everything comes together and the Hall of Fame goes on display.

Preparing for Induction Day is a time-consuming and detailed-orientated series of tasks that is critical to creating a program that celebrates the honorees and the history they represent. Here’s a short list of some of the tasks that I suggest must be completed to be assured that, at the end of Induction Day, one goes home with a smile:

  1. Do as much as possible in advance. Leaving arrangements to the last minute is sure to create tension, headaches, and, undoubtedly, a slip-up or two.
  2. Complete multiple walk-throughs and rehearsals with as many of the principals as possible. One of my nightmare days was a sudden program change in the middle of a big dinner that came about because we could never get our leadership to do a walk-through. In the middle of the event the order changed at his insistence and the program became a scramble for the next two hours with several staffers adjusting on the fly and two planned elements getting short-shift to accommodate the change.
  3. Equipment checks are incredibly important and do not do just one. Audio and video equipment need to be run, the music and speeches recreated as best as possible. One can’t do this enough!
  4. Check back with your vendors and caterers, from having the correct date and time down to the finest detail.
  5. As one reviews and plans, changes may occur. While few will be major, it is important that your contacts with vendors, caterers, volunteers, and staff have been updated to reflect these changes?
  6. Lastly, review the anticipated attendance. Are the arrangements appropriate to the number of attendees?
  7. And remember to anticipate living the duck analogy – the surface may be calm to the outsider, but you are furiously paddling under the surface!

Make Induction Day a signature day for your honorees by planning in advance and constantly reviewing and checking your plans. Finish the day with a smile on your face and on the faces of all who attended.

Follow-up to the Marvin Miller Post

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

(November 9, 2010) Two weeks ago I wrote about Marvin Miller and the fact that Major League Baseball Players’ Association Senior Executive Rick Shapiro stated that Miller was one of the three most influential men in Major League Baseball history and yet had not been honored by Hall of Fame induction. I wrote about whether he would be on the Hall of Fame ballot this year. Just yesterday the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced that Miller is on the 12-name Expansion Era ballot for the Committee to Consider Managers, Umpires, Executives and Long-Retired Players for Hall of Fame election. To be elected Miller will need to be named on 75% of the ballots cast by the committee considering the nominees.

The committee: “…16-member electorate charged with the review of the Expansion Era ballot features: Hall of Fame members Johnny Bench, Whitey Herzog, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith; major league executives Bill Giles (Phillies), David Glass (Royals), Andy MacPhail (Orioles) and Jerry Reinsdorf (White Sox); and veteran media members Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun), Tim Kurkjian (ESPN), Ross Newhan (retired, Los Angeles Times) and Tom Verducci (Sports Illustrated).”

Note, as my previous column stated, that the committee has four (4) MLS executives who will, perhaps, not vote for Miller. If that were true, then he would votes from every other member of the committee to be elected, a challenging scenario.

The nominees, in addition to Miller are: “…former players Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub; former manager Billy Martin; and executives Pat Gillick, and George Steinbrenner.”

The results of the Expansion Era vote will be announced on December 6 at 10 a.m. ET from the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla. I’ll be tuned into the announcement. Will you?

Controversy in Hall of Fame Elections

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

(October 26, 2010) Last evening I attended a talk at Skidmore College by Rick Shapiro, Senior Executive at the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). Over the course of a fascinating evening, Rick’s presentation and discussion provided numerous insights into the business of sport and the business of baseball. In response to one student’s question, Rick stated his belief that the three most important people in baseball history were Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, and Marvin Miller.

As most readers of this blog will know, Ruth was a charter member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY, inducted in its inaugural 1939 class, and Robinson was a first ballot inductee who famously broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947 and was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1962.

Marvin Miller, however, has yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Why has the Hall of Fame not honored Miller? A little history here will bring the issue to light – a history with which those in professional baseball are well acquainted: Miller was the original Executive Director of MLBPA, serving from 1966 through 1983. He transformed the association into a bona fide labor union; then, gradually, into one of the strongest collective bargaining units in the United States. The prior statement, essentially from the MLBPA web site, says it all about Miller’s place in professional baseball history, particularly as MLBPA is a very strong entity and, in most minds, the strongest of the major sport players’ unions. Miller, working with the players, broke the owners’ absolute control over baseball players’ careers, and, in the end, established free agency in baseball as we know it today. Prior to his efforts, the Major League Baseball teams had total control over player movement.

Back to the original question: Why has the Hall of Fame not honored Miller? In the past the election process for executives included a significant number of major league executives, enough so Miller failed to meet the required 75% of ballots cast to be elected. Just this past July the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced new procedures for the consideration of managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players. The new procedure for the election of executives will continue to include major league executives on the 16-person selection committee. Will they constitute more than 25% of the committee and continue to, as some observers believe, block Miller’s election? The first answer to that question may be revealed when the Hall of Fame releases the Expansion Era Ballot this month. Will Miller’s name appear on this ballot? If so then the follow-on questions include: What will be the exact composition of the committee? One would think the Hall of Fame players on the committee would all vote for Miller, but will all the historians and veteran media members? And if they all were to vote for Miller, are there 12 of them so he reaches the Hall of Fame 75% criteria, assuming the major league executives will continue to not vote for Miller?

Stay tuned for the Hall of Fame’s ballot announcement and, if Miller is included on the ballot, the eventual election results. The ballot is due to be announced any day now and the selection committee will meet and vote during Major League Baseball’s Winter Meeting in December.

And think about how any Hall of Fame considers controversial figures within its purview. Does your process place the consideration of those individuals under conflict of interest threat? How can your Hall of Fame create a fair process that keeps personal or professional animosities from being a part of the election or selection process? Time will tell whether their new procedure will meet that goal for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, but are you thinking about it for your Hall of Fame as well?

Read more of Miller’s biography here.