If this is any indication, the Golden Era Veterans Committee meeting Dec. 5 to vote on potential inductees to the Hall of Fame is going to have some rip-roaring arguments with no telling how the results will turn out.
In a mock vote, 22 FanSided Major League Baseball writers participated in our own election, reviewing the candidacy of the 10 players and administrators on the ballot. We were limited to voting for four names. In real life the committee consists of 16 members and a candidate must be supported by 75 percent, or 12 of those voting.
This seemed to be a year when all 10 of the players and administrators could advance good cases for enshrinement and that seems likely to split the vote. Indeed it did among our participants. Only one candidate, former Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, would have made the cutoff for acceptance. Santo received 17 votes, or 77 percent.
Interestingly, most candidates received a fair support, but no one else was even close to the 75 percent support level. Surprisingly, former New York Yankees star pitcher Allie Reynolds did not receive a single vote.
This is how FanSided’s voting broke down: 1) Santo, 17; 2. Gil Hodges, Dodgers first baseman, 11; 3. (tie) Charlie Finley, Kansas City and Oakland A’s owner, and Luis Tiant, Red Sox and Indians pitcher, 8; 5. (tie) Jim Kaat, Twins pitcher and Tony Oliva, Twins outfielder, 7; 7. Minnie Minoso, White Sox and Indians outfielder, 6; 8. Buzzie Bavasi, Dodgers general manager, 5; 9. Ken Boyer, Cardinals third baseman, 3; 10. Reynolds.
By percentage the numbers went this way: Santo 77 percent; Hodges 50 percent; Finley and Tiant 36 percent; Kaat and Oliva 32 percent; Minoso 27 percent; Bavasi 23 percent; Boyer 14 percent; Reynolds 0 percent.
Two things that I am sure differentiate the viewpoints of the FanSided writers from the actual voters. No one has told me differently, so I will assume that none of us made a living playing Major League baseball. And while I do not have birth certifcates in front of me, I will bet that as a group we are much younger than the people who will do the real voting.
The committe that will vote includes Hall of Famers, Major League executives, and three long-time sports writers. The writers are Dick Kaegel, Jack O’Connell, and Dave Van Dyck. The executives are Paul Breeston (Blue Jays), Bill DeWitt (Cardinals), Roland Hemond (Diamondbacks), Gene Michael (Yankees) and Al Rosen (retired). The Hall of Famers are Hank Aaron, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Juan Marichal, Billy Williams, Brooks Robinson, Tommy Lasorda and Don Sutton.
So we have Brooks Robinson and Al Rosen, both third basemen, passing judgment on third basemen Ron Santo and Ken Boyer. We have Dodger-connected Lasorda and Sutton passing judgment on Hodges and Bavasi. We have Williams voting on Santo, his old teammate. We have Michael voting on Reynolds, a past Yankee. We have one Latino in Marichal judging the value of Minoso’s impact on Latino players. Likewise, Hemond was a long-time White Sox executive who knows Minoso well.
Plus, based on when the players under consideration played and when the players and many others were prominent in the game, they probably all know one another to a degree. How much this will affect the viewpoints of voters is anyone’s guess. Some might have been teammates and friendly. Some might have been teammates and not got along.
As in other things in life there are well-organized campaigning groups lobbying for select individuals and not for others. Will that make a difference? Who knows? I have read that Hodges has the best-organized support group.
All 10 men on the ballot are worthy of consideration. If it was up to me I would vote to induct Minoso, Santo, Boyer, Hodges and Bavasi this year.
I predict the committe’s vote will turn out far differently than FanSided’s vote. I’ll take a flyer and predict this order: 1. Hodges; 2. Santo; 3. Bavasi; 4. Minoso; 5. Boyer; 6. Reynolds; 7. Kaat; 8. Oliva; 9. Tiant; 10. Finley.
I will be disappointed and saddened for some of the candidates, but not competely shocked, if the committee cannot agree on giving anyone 75 percent of the vote. Such baseball hall elections usually err on the side of conservative voting. But I’ll be an optimist and say that Hodges and Santo will make it.
Topics: Al Kaline, Al Rosen, Allie Reynolds, Bill DeWitt, Billy Williams, Brooks Robinson, Buzzie Bavasi, Charlie Finley, Dn Sutton, Gene Michael, Gil Hodges, Hall Of Fame, Hank Aaron, Jim Kaat, Juan Marichal, Ken Boyer, Luis Tiant, Minnie Minoso, Paul Beeston, Ralph Kiner, Roland Hemond, Ron Santo, Tommy Lasorda, Tony Oliva