“More than Shoeless Joe Jackson, more than even Pete Rose, the exclusion of Marvin Miller,from the Hall of Fame is Cooperstown’s ugliest, longest-running public relations sore,” writes Allen Barra in Monday’s New York Sun. Even worse than Mike Piazza wearing a Marlins cap on his plaque?

In the 2007 Hall Of Fame election, Miller received 51 out of 84 votes, or 63% ” 12 short of the threshold. In 2008, they changed the rules: Only 12 people were voting, with nine required for election. Miller received three votes. Vaulting over him into Cooperstown was the late commissioner Bowie Kuhn ” yes, that Bowie Kuhn, the man Charlie Finley, a former owner of the Oakland A’s, once called “the village idiot.” Kuhn, incidentally, hadn’t received a single vote in 2007.

“It’s ridiculous,” a former Yankees player representative, Jim Bouton, said. “Marvin kicked Bowie’s butt in every confrontation. It’s like having a cartoon Hall of Fame which admitted Wile E. Coyote and kept out the Roadrunner.”

The important question, though, isn’t whether or not the last Veterans Committee was “rigged,” as Miller says (though I believe Miller is correct in saying that it was). The issue isn’t Major League Baseball’s power structure at all. The issue is the players.

Since Rule 6(b) was debunked in 2000, players who served as Miller’s player representatives ” most notably Reggie Jackson, Tom Seaver, Brooks Robinson, and Joe Morgan ” have been saying that they were going to “do what it takes” to get Miller in. But each time the vote has come up, they’ve all found excuses not to serve on the Veterans Committee. Or, when they have, like Jackson in 2004, they’ve suddenly become addlebrained and decided that only players should be in the Hall of Fame. Jackson has since recanted on this stance ” but Miller is still is not in the Hall, perhaps because it will take more than wind to get it done.

Whether or Miller wants to be in the Hall of Fame, isn’t it time the players stood up for the man who stood up for them? The Hall of Fame is their bats, their baseballs, their uniforms, and their appearances. If rules need to be changed, they can push for those changes.

If the players really want Miller in the Hall of Fame, they can stop asking permission from The Man. They are The Man.