Vets committee throws another shutout at Hall of Fame

Vets committee throws another shutout at Hall of Fame
By BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer
February 28, 2007

Ron Santo, left, is shown in a 1971 file photo. Gil Hodges, right, is shown in a 1956 file photo. Santo, Hodges and all the other candidates were left out Tuesday Feb. 27, 2007 when the Veterans Committee admitted no new members for the third straight election.
AP - Feb 27, 2:33 pm EST
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NEW YORK (AP) -- Ron Santo, Jim Kaat and Marvin Miller can only hope their Hall of Fame vote totals improve next time. A change in the Veterans Committee might help them, too.

The Hall threw another shutout Tuesday when the vets panel admitted no new members for the third straight election. Gil Hodges, Tony Oliva and Doug Harvey were among those left out.

Santo came the closest to the required 75 percent. A nine-time All-Star, the former Cubs third baseman was picked on 57 of 82 ballots (70 percent).

The blank slate could lead to changes before the next vote in 2009.

"We're being blamed because something hasn't happened," Hall member and vice chairman Joe Morgan said. "If you're asking me, 'Do we lower our standards to get more people in?' my answer would be no."

The vets committee was revamped after charges of cronyism when it elected Bill Mazeroski in 2001. The 84-member panel now includes the 61 living Hall of Famers.

Hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark said the process would be discussed at a board meeting March 13. The new committee votes every other year for players and every four years for managers, umpires and executives.

"We are disappointed that no one has been elected in the three voting cycles," Clark said.

"The board may decide that the trends are not what we thought they were going to be. Perhaps this hasn't worked as well as some of the board members thought it would and maybe it needs a little bit of change," she said.

Kaat, a 283-game winner and strongly backed by Hall member Mike Schmidt, drew 52 votes. Hodges, who hit 370 home runs, got 50 votes, and Oliva, a three-time AL batting champion, had 47. Players needed 62 for election.

Harvey, a longtime NL umpire, received 52 of the necessary 61 votes on the composite ballot. Miller, the union head who led players to free-agent riches, showed a strong increase in getting 51 of the potential 81 votes.

"My guy was Jim Kaat, but understand other members have their guys also," Schmidt told The Associated Press. "Maybe that is the problem when you are trying to evaluate 'bubble' players on entrance.

"The same thing happens every year. The current members want to preserve the prestige as much as possible, and are unwilling to open the doors," he said.

Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn were elected to the Hall by the Baseball Writers' Association of America in January. They will be inducted July 29 in Cooperstown.

Morgan said he voted for the maximum 10 players on the vets ballot.

"I feel there are some guys out there that belong in the Hall of Fame," he said. "The writers voted on these people for 15 years and they weren't elected. Why are we being criticized because we haven't elected someone?"

Maury Wills, Joe Torre, Roger Maris, Luis Tiant and Bobby Bonds were among the 27 candidates on the players ballot.

"Nobody got in? That's too bad. I'm sorry to hear that," Torre said. "I'm not exactly sure what process they use. Don't forget, you've got the old guard and the young guard. People with different interests."

Torre drew 32 percent of the votes based on his playing career. The New York Yankees manager -- and former NL MVP -- is expected to be elected when he's mostly regarded for his time in the dugout.

"Joe Torre, when he retires and he has 8,000 wins or whatever, I think that people would vote for him," Morgan said.

Dick Williams, Whitey Herzog, Walter O'Malley and Charlie O. Finley also were among the 15 names on the composite ballot.

Miller received 63 percent, moving up from 44 percent in the previous election.

"Personally, I would love to see him get in," Torre said at the Yankees' spring camp in Tampa, Fla. "He's made such an impact on this modern player and the game itself."

Union head Donald Fehr said it was "profoundly disappointing" that Miller did not get enough support.

"Given the increased number of votes for Marvin this time, there is certainly reason to believe that the votes will be there in the future," he said.

Two years ago, Santo and Hodges each came within eight votes of election in drawing 65 percent.

Santo was a five-time Gold Glove winner and hit 342 home runs. Hall member Billy Williams was rooting hard for his old Cubs teammate.

"I kind of felt sorry for him because he was so looking forward to getting the call," he said. "I really thought the credentials that he has, he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame."

AP Sports Writers Ronald Blum and Rick Gano and AP freelance writer Mark Didtler contributed to this report.

Updated on Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007 3:08 am EST

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