Fay Vincent really does not like Bowie Kuhn in the slightest
by Bob Timmermann
Erstwhile Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent flays, filets, and purees the Baseball Hall of Fame's selection of Bowie Kuhn in an op-ed piece for the New York Times. Vincent goes on to champion former Players Association executive Marvin Miller.
[Marvin] Miller was much smarter and more talented than [Bowie] Kuhn. Though not a lawyer, he was a public relations genius. He had been an economist with the United Steelworkers when he became the executive director of the players’ union. Miller presented the economic issues in baseball largely in moral terms. Kuhn was the lawyer who argued against change. Miller argued against evil. Guess which was more appealing?
Kuhn permitted Miller to portray the owners as unenlightened and mean-spirited rich men while casting the players as downtrodden and benighted workers who wanted only to be treated fairly. The owners never had a chance.
When Kuhn was pushed out of baseball — as I was years later — he went back to his law firm. In 1988, he and another lawyer started a new firm that was expected to be a grandly successful practice. At the end of 1989, Myerson & Kuhn filed for bankruptcy. At this point, Kuhn moved to Florida — a move that his creditors’ lawyers said was made to claim the protection of that state’s homestead exemption.
Under that law, the home of a debtor may not be used to satisfy debts, and so Kuhn, with a large, valuable and recently purchased Florida residence, was literally home free. In effect, he thumbed his nose at the banks and court in New York, and he left his partners, some of whom he had vigorously recruited, holding a huge empty bag. One such former partner, a tax expert, complained bitterly to me when I was in baseball. He has since died but I wonder how he would have felt about this latest honor by an institution that claims to value character when it considers candidates.