02/26/2003 2:00 PM ET
No Veterans elected to Hall of Fame
Hodges, Harvey, Oliva receive most votes but fall short
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
The Hall of Fame's revamped Veterans Committee, giving immediate and dramatic evidence that changes in considering legacy candidates will not necessarily make admission easier, did not elect any new members to Cooperstown.
Ten members of Baseball's Hall of Fame gathered on June 12, 1939. Back row, left to right: Honus Wagner, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Tris Speaker, Napoleon Lajoie, George Sisler, Walter Johnson. Front row: Eddie Collins, Babe Ruth, Connie Mack, Cy Young. (MLB.com illustration)
In the new Committee's historic first vote announced this afternoon, none of the 41 candidates attracted the 75-percent vote plurality required for election.
Top vote-getter among 26 on the Players Ballot was Gil Hodges, with 61.7 percent, followed closely by Tony Oliva (59.3) and Ron Santo (56.8).
Doug Harvey, a National League umpire for 31 seasons, led the 15 non-player candidates on the Composite Ballot with 60.8 percent of the votes. Marvin Miller, the founding executive director of the players' union, finished third with 44.3 percent. Former Commissioner Bowie Kuhn was down the list with 25.3 percent.
| Gil Hodges||50||61.7%|
| Tony Oliva||48||59.3%|
| Ron Santo||46||56.8%|
| Joe Torre||29||35.8%|
| Maury Wills||24||29.6%|
| Vada Pinson||21||25.9%|
| Joe Gordon||19||23.5%|
| Roger Maris||18||22.2%|
| Marty Marion||17||21.0%|
| Carl Mays||16||19.8%|
| Minnie Minoso||16||19.8%|
| Allie Reynolds||16||19.8%|
| Dick Allen||13||16.0%|
| Mickey Lolich||13||16.0%|
| Wes Ferrell||12||14.8%|
| Ken Boyer||11||13.6%|
| Don Newcombe||11||13.6%|
| Curt Flood||10||12.3%|
| Ken R. Williams||8||9.9%|
| Rocky Colavito||7||8.6%|
| Elston Howard||6||7.4%|
| Bob Meusel||6||7.4%|
| Bobby Bonds||5||6.2%|
| Ted Kluszewski||4||4.9%|
| Thurman Munson||4||4.9%|
| Mike G. Marshall||3||3.7%|
| Doug Harvey||48||60.8|
| Walter O'Malley||38||48.1|
| Marvin Miller||35||44.3|
| Buzzie Bavasi||34||43.0|
| Dick Williams||33||41.8|
| Whitey Herzog||25||31.6|
| Billy Martin||22||27.8|
| Bill White||22||27.8|
| Bowie Kuhn||20||25.3|
| Gabe Paul||13||16.5|
| August Busch||11||13.9|
| Paul Richards||10||12.7|
| Charley Finley||9||11.4|
| Phil Wrigley||9||11.4|
| Harry Dalton||6||7.6|
Of the 85 Veterans Committee members, 81 returned ballots. The four absentees mathematically would not have made a difference for even the leading vote-getters.
The Veterans Committee will next consider a Players Ballot in 2005. The next vote on a Composite Ballot will not occur until 2007.
Thus, Eddie Murray and Gary Carter, chosen earlier this year in the annual vote by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, will stand alone during the Hall's induction ceremonies in Cooperstown on July 27.
"This is the Baseball Hall of Fame, the greatest Hall of Fame in the world," said 1990 inductee Joe Morgan, one of the new Committee's voters and a vice chairman of the Hall of Fame. "This is not the Football Hall of Fame, where they're required to put in four people or something like that every year.
"This is the toughest Hall to get into. For anyone elected here, it is the highlight not only of their career but of their life. We want it to be difficult."
Evolution of the Veterans process, from a few hand-picked electors considering a secret ballot to a public vote involving every living member of the Hall, may have led some to expect a mass influx into Cooperstown.
The 85 eligible electors include 58 Hall of Famers who, clearly, have the highest standards for their peers.
One of those 58, former New York Giants outfielder Monte Irvin, told MLB.com when the ballots were revealed in December, "It's not going to make it easier to get in. You still have to really qualify to become a member of the greatest fraternity in baseball."
Irvin's words certainly ring true in the wake of the announced results.
The voters, who also included 25 members of Cooperstown's media wings, considered ballots weaned from the long list of eligibles by screening committees.
"The screening committees did an outstanding job narrowing the Player Ballot from more than 1,400 eligibles," said Jane Forbes Clark, the Hall's chairman. "Both ballots were very strong.
"We are gratified that the voters took their new responsibilities very seriously."
Hodges, who hit 370 home runs and won three Gold Gloves in an 18-year career with the Dodgers and Mets, and Ron Santo, a nine-time Gold Glove winner who played 14 seasons with the Cubs and one with the White Sox, were considered strong candidates for the Veterans Committee's nod.
Among the non-players, managers such as Dick Williams and Billy Martin and influential front-office titans Walter O'Malley and Buzzie Bavasi were regarded as favorites for election.
"It's understandable that some are disappointed because for anyone involved in baseball, election to the Hall of Fame is the highest honor imaginable," Clark said. "The process works by upholding high standards for earning election."
As is the case in the general Hall of Fame elections by writers, voters could vote for a maximum of 10 candidates, with no minimum. The 81 Veterans Committee members who voted cast an average of 5 1/2 votes per ballot.
"Yes, I am suprised no one got elected," said Morgan, revealing that he used his maximum of 10 votes. "To be blunt, the top vote-getters were all on my ballot. I thought at least one of those guys would get in. And a lot whom I thought would get a lot of support received little."
Clark and Morgan both defended the process, and said it has begun to serve its intent. Upon further thought, Morgan credited the voting with validating the baseball writers' previous voting trends.
"This is supposed to be an opportunity for guys who may have fallen through the cracks to be considered," Morgan said. "Maybe not as many people as we previously thought have fallen through the cracks.
"Maybe the writers have done a pretty good job."
The original list of eligible candidates included all Major Leaguers who played at least 10 seasons through 1981. That year served as the cutoff in order to avoid any conflict with the BBWAA ballots, for which players qualify five years after retirement and on which they remain for 15 years by meeting minimum vote requirements.
The former Committee on Baseball Veterans was established in 1953 and met annually from 1961 until 2001, when it was disbanded. In the 41 meetings from 1961-2001, the committee elected 101 members. It failed to elect a candidate three times in those 41 meetings: in 1993, 1990 and 1988.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.