Gillick newest member of Hall of Fame
Was GM of three World Series winners; Miller misses by one vote
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Pat Gillick, one of the Expansion Era's top general managers, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday.A 16-member committee examining veterans on an Expansion Era ballot for induction voted early on Monday and made the announcement at a news conference that opened the first day of the Winter Meetings. Gillick is only the fourth GM elected to the Hall and the first without New York ties. The others are Ed Barrow and George Weiss of the Yankees and Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers. "It's over the hill," Gillick said after the announcement. "I can't tell you what an honor this is. And, really, I think it's on behalf of all of the people that I've worked with over the years. That's who I feel this honor is for: the owners, the scouts, the managers, the players -- they all share in this award." Gillick received 13 of the 16 votes -- one more than necessary to be elected. He will be inducted next July 24, potentially along with one or more of those currently under consideration by the Baseball Writers' Association of American on their annual ballot. If any of those players are elected, that announcement will come in New York on Jan. 5. Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven are the prime candidates. Marvin Miller, the longtime executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, fell one vote short of election on Monday.
Former Reds shortstop Dave Concepcion received eight votes. All of the other candidates received fewer than eight votes.
Like all votes for the Hall, candidates needed to receive 75 percent to be elected, which in this case was 12 of the 16 committee members.The ballot of 12 included eight players: Vida Blue, Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub; three executives: Gillick, Miller and George Steinbrenner; and one manager: Billy Martin. Gillick was the 32nd executive to be elected to the Hall and the first GM since Weiss in 1971. Weiss was the architect of the Yankees teams that won 10 American League pennants and seven World Series from 1949-60. "I told Pat this morning: 'Now the other three will have a foursome for Bridge,'" said Jeff Idelson, the Hall's president. Gillick built three World Series champions, the Blue Jays of 1992-93 and the 2008 Phillies, in his 27 years as a GM. He currently works for the Phillies as a senior advisor.
In addition, Gillick spent four seasons shaping the Mariners from 2000-03, and they won 90 games each season -- including an AL-record 116 in '01 -- and made two playoff appearances."Pat Gillick's contributions to baseball are stored in the memories of fans in Toronto, Baltimore, Seattle and Philadelphia, where the clubs under his leadership won consistently and with professionalism," Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig said in a statement. "His skill for identifying talent and knowing how to build a successful roster is exceptional.
"Pat has always believed in scouting and player development, and I know that he will accept this extraordinary honor on behalf of all the scouts he has worked with throughout his career. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I am thrilled to congratulate Pat and his family, and I look forward to seeing him join the other legendary executives of our game in the halls of Cooperstown next July."
The Expansion Era covered umpires, managers and executives who made their greatest contributions to the game from 1973 to the present. For the players, that period was 1973-89.The 16-member committee was comprised of seven Hall of Fame players and one manager: Johnny Bench, Whitey Herzog, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith; four current Major League executives: Bill Giles of the Phillies, David Glass of the Royals, Andy MacPhail of the Orioles and Jerry Reinsdorf of the White Sox; and four veteran media members: Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN, Ross Newhan, retired from the Los Angeles Times, and Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated and MLB Network. Miller, who oversaw the disintegration of the reserve clause opening the way to free agency for players, missed once again. As head of the union, Miller started the process that took the players from an average salary of about $20,000 in the early 1970s to $3.3 million this past season. "The Baseball Hall of Fame's vote [or non-vote] of December 5 hardly qualifies as a news story," Miller said in a statement. "It is repetitively negative, easy to forecast and therefore boring. It is an amusing anomaly that the Hall of Fame has made me famous by keeping me out." "Every person who has benefited in the past half-century from baseball's prosperity -- player, owner, executive, manager, coach or member of the media -- owes a debt to Marvin," added Michael Weiner, the union's current executive director. "Marvin's legacy is undiminished by this vote; the Hall, by contrast, once again squandered a chance to better itself as an institution." Concepcion was the shortstop on the "Big Red Machine" teams that won the World Series in 1975 and '76 and stands as the last National League team to win back-to-back championships. From that team, Bench and Joe Morgan are already in the Hall. Bench, who carried Concepcion's cause at the meeting of the committee on Sunday, said the shortstop would've won 10 Gold Glove Awards had Ozzie Smith not played for the Padres and Cardinals in the same era. Smith won 13, beginning in 1980. Concepcion won five from 1974-79. "I was pulling for Davey," Bench said. "Obviously, I knew it was a 50-50 chance. Had I not been there, I don't think Davey would have gotten a quarter of the votes [he got], quite honestly. But I was passionate about it." There are now three distinct committees voting on players from different eras, one group each year on a revolving basis. The three groups are the Pre-Integration Era from 1871-1946, the Golden Era from 1947-72 and the Expansion Era. They revolve every three years, with the Expansion Era coming around again in 2013. The Golden Era will be considered in '11, and the Pre-Integration Era in '12. Committees for the latter two eras will also consist of 16 members, but there will be only 10 names on the ballot. All of the committees will be reconfigured every year. But Monday was obviously Gillick's time. "This is a well-deserved award for a gentleman that I had the pleasure of working with since he joined the Blue Jays in 1976 to prepare for our inaugural season in 1977," said Paul Beeston, the president and chief executive officer of the Blue Jays. "Pat helped to build a great organization in Toronto through scouting and development before turning to free agency to complement the roster and bring World Series championships to Canada in 1992 and 1993." Alomar, whom Gillick obtained along with Joe Carter in a megatrade with the Padres, was certainly a main cog on those 1992-93 World Series-winning Jays teams. The pair going in at the same time next July would give the induction ceremony a Toronto flavor. It is Alomar's second time on the ballot, and he fell just shy last year, receiving 73.7 percent of the vote. "I know he was very close last year, so certainly, I hope that he makes it," Gillick said. "It would be a thrill if he did make it and that we could both go in at the same time."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.