To be elected, candidates must receive 75% of the votes cast.
When the results of the vote were announced on Tuesday, Ripken (98.53 %) and Gwynn (97.6%) were elected as expected, while McGwire (23.5 %) and the rest were not. Any candidate who received less than five percent of the votes cast this time will be eliminated from the ballot for next year's election. (This year, that group includes Orel Hershiser, Albert Belle, Paul O'Neill, Bret Saberhagen, and Jose Canseco, among others)
This year, there is also an election by the Veterans Committee - an 84-member group consisting of current Hall of Fame members, including writers and broadcasters who have been selected for the Hall.
A few years ago, the Veterans' election process was changed, in an effort to cut down on the number of Veterans being chosen. Guess what? It may be working too well - the Veterans Committee selected no one in either 2005 or 2006. This year, they have a group of 27 former players to choose from - many quite deserving, in my opinion. But, if no one gets at least 75% of the vote from the members of the Committee who choose to cast their ballots, there will once again be no one from that group entering the Hall this summer, and candidates receiving at least 5 % of the vote will have to wait until 2009 for their next chance.
Here are the players the Veterans' Committee is deciding on now. An announcement of the results of their voting will be made on February 27.
Dick Allen, Bobby Bonds, Ken Boyer, Joe Gordon, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Mickey Lolich, Sparky Lyle, Marty Marion, Roger Maris, Carl Mays, Minnie Minoso, Thurman Munson, Don Newcombe, Lefty O'Doul, Tony Oliva, Al Oliver, Vada Pinson, Ron Santo, Luis Tiant, Joe Torre, Cecil Travis, Mickey Vernon, and Maury Wills.
The Veterans Committee members also get to choose from among 15 non-playing contributors to the game this year, and if any of these candidates - again, most very deserving - get 75% of the vote, they're in.
The "non-player" candidates this year are Buzzie Bavasi (GM) , August Busch, jr.(owner) , Harry Dalton (GM), Charlie Finley (owner), Doug Harvey (umpire), Whitey Herzog (manager), Bowie Kuhn (commissiioner), Billy Martin (manager), Marvin Miller (Players Assoc.director), Walter O'Malley (owner), Gabe Paul (GM), Paul Richards (GM), Bill White (AL president), Dick Williams (manager), and Philip K. Wrigley (owner). Many members of this illustrious group also played major league baseball, of course, but for these purposes, they are being considered only for their non-playing role. The next chance for these candidates will not be until 2011.
If you'd care to check out the biographical background and/or statistics for any of the 42 candidates this year, go to : http://www.baseballhalloffame.org.
FYI - I also mentioned the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in my previous column. The new inductees to that Hall were also announced this week. They are : Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, R.E.M., The Ronettes, Patti Smith, and Van Halen.