QUESTION: Baseball Hall of Fame

COOPERSTOWN, NY – Ten former major league players, whose careers began in 1943 or later, will be considered for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009 by the Veterans Committee, with results to be announced December 8 at baseball’s Winter Meetings…

Dick Allen 0/7
Gil Hodges 0/8
Jim Kaat 7/3
Tony Oliva 0/7
Al Oliver 4-/7
Vada Pinson 2-/4*
Ron Santo 4c/9
Luis Tiant 0/3
Joe Torre 5/9
Maury Wills 2/7*
will be considered for election by the Veterans Committee for enshrinement in 2009, with votes to be cast by Hall of Fame members this fall. Any candidate to receive 75% of the vote on all ballots cast will earn election to the Hall of Fame and will be enshrined on July 26, 2009. There are 64 living Hall of Famers.

The ballot for the 2009 Veterans Committee election of players whose careers began in 1943 or later was devised by Hall of Fame members, who served as the Screening Committee in narrowing the list from 21 to 10 names during the month of August. Earlier this year, the Historical Overview Committee of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, comprised of 11 veteran baseball writers and historians, selected 20 finalists from a list of all eligible players, those whose careers spanned at least 10 major league seasons and started in 1943 or later. Concurrently, a screening committee comprised of six Hall of Famers selected five names for the ballot, and the two lists were merged for a total of 21 candidates.

The 21 candidates considered by the Screening Committee: Allen, Ken Boyer, Bert Campaneris, Rocky Colavito, Mike Cuellar, Steve Garvey, Hodges, Kaat, Ted Kluszewski, Mickey Lolich, Roger Maris, Lee May, Minnie Minoso, Thurman Munson, Oliva, Oliver, Pinson, Santo, Tiant, Torre and Wills.

Also in December, a 12-member voting committee will consider the candidacies of 10 former major league players whose careers began in 1942 or earlier:
Bill Dahlen
Wes Ferrell
Joe Gordon
Sherry Magee
Carl Mays
Allie Reynolds
Vern Stephens
Mickey Vernon
Bucky Walters
Deacon White
Any candidate to earn votes of 75% of ballots cast will earn election to the Hall of Fame, with enshrinement on July 26, 2009.

The 12 members of the voting committee who are scheduled to meet on December 7 at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas to consider the pre-1943 candidates include: seven Hall of Fame members (Bobby Doerr, Ralph Kiner, Phil Niekro, Robin Roberts, Duke Snider, Don Sutton and Dick Williams), along with five historians (Furman Bisher, Roland Hemond, Steve Hirdt, Bill Madden and Claire Smith).

The 10 former major leaguers whose careers began in 1942 or earlier were screened by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) appointed Historical Overview Committee, comprised of 11 veteran members: Dave Van Dyck (Chicago Tribune); Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun); Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch); Steve Hirdt (Elias Sports Bureau); Moss Klein (formerly Newark Star-Ledger); Bill Madden (New York Daily News); Ken Nigro, (formerly Baltimore Sun); Jack O’Connell (; Nick Peters (Sacramento Bee); Tracy Ringolsby (Rocky Mountain News); and Mark Whicker (Orange County Register). This committee also served as the Overview Committee for the post-1943 ballot, screening names to 20 from the universe of eligible candidates.

The process to consider players whose careers began in 1942 or earlier occurs every five years, next in 2013 for election in 2014. The committee to consider players whose careers began in 1943 or later will consider candidates every other year, next in 2010 for 2011 election.

The Veterans Committee process also features ballots for Managers/Umpires and for Executives, with both of those committees meeting every other year for even-year election, next meeting in 2009 for election in 2010.

So the obvious question: who should go in, and why?
I went to at least for the younger layers and noted just two things: how many players with similar stats were in the Hall and how many All-Star Games were they selected for. Tiant 0 on the comparison stats and only 3 All-Star appearances – out. Vada Pinson (love that name) 2 HOF, 4 AS but over only two years; there was a period (1959-1962) when thee were two All-Star games played – out. Tony Oliva and Dick Allen, both 0 HOF but 7 AS – tougher call, but no.
Gil Hodges – 0 HOF, but 8 AS, and he won the world series as a manager and died tragically early – maybe. Maury Wills – 2 HOF, 7 AS (but over 5 years), but he transformed the game with his speed – maybe. Al Oliver – 4 HOF (and one on the ballot now, Pinson), 7 AS. One batting title – maybe.
Jim Kaat -7(!)HOF, though only 3 AS. But he fielded his position well (16 Golden Gloves), and contributes to baseball as an announcer, plus longevity – yes. Ron Santo – 4 HOF (oddly, all catchers, though he mostly played 3B), 9 AS. Add his announcing gig, plus the torture of being a Chicago Cub – yes. Joe Torre- 5 HOF, 9 AS, and he was a catcher for much of that time. add his managerial success (OK, not the Mets, but with the Braves, Cards, Yankees – I believe the Dodgers are in 1st place right now) – yes.


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