Chaim, so are you on the payroll of the Kansas City Royals or something?
Prior to free agency, there was just as much economic disparity in baseball as there is today. Ask a fan of the 1940s Browns or Senators what their chances of winning the pennant were. They would reply that they were slim. (The Browns did win their only pennant during the war-stricken years of WWII).
It was year after year of watching the Yankees or the Dodgers or the Cardinals in the World Series.
Teams like the Philadelphia Athletics would go from extremes of being among the most powerful teams in all of baseball (1910-1914 and 1929-1931) to being among the worst soon after, not unlike today’s Marlins.
For nearly 100 years, baseball players had their salaries held at arbitrarily low levels, with few of the same benefits that the average worker in America had (like collective bargaining and binding arbitration). Miller got those rights for the players.
Prior to Miller, baseball was run almost like an antebellum Southern plantation. Freedom of movement was strictly controlled by the owners. Salaries were low. Conditions were poor.
Miller was able to change that and, helped immensely by the gross stupidity of the owners that he was bargaining with, was able to turn the tables on the owners.
Is the game better now that it was prior to the Messersmith decision? I would say that it is. The Yankees have been successful lately only in part because they have the most money. They are also one of the best run teams with an intelligent plan for development on the major league and minor league level. The Oakland A’s are also intelligently run and their payroll is a fraction of the Yankees.
And don’t let us forget the brilliant management of teams like the Dodgers and Orioles who are rolling in cash.
As for executives in the HOF, Morgan Bulkeley is in only because he was the first president of the NL. He didn’t do much other than just be the guy who agreed to hold on to that job for one year. Lee McPhail was one of the worst negotiators the owners ever tried. He got into the HOF as a lifetime achievement award and because his father was in also.