TAMPA, Fla. -- Gil Hodges, Ron Santo and everyone else on
the ballot fell short Wednesday as once again the baseball Veterans
Committee failed to elect anyone to the Hall of Fame.
Hodges and Santo came the closest with 65 percent -- 75 percent
was needed for induction -- each falling eight votes shy. Tony Oliva
and Jim Kaat were the only other players to be picked on more than
half of the 80 ballots.
In 2003, the redesigned committee also pitched a shutout. There
will not be another election until 2007, when managers, umpires and
executives are due to be considered.
"We feel the current process works by upholding the Hall of
Fame's very high standards for election,'' Hall chairman Jane
Forbes Clark said.
The current 83-member committee includes the 60 living Hall of
Famers plus eight members of the writers' wing, 14 members of the
broadcasters' wing and one member of the old Veterans Committee.
All but three turned in their paper ballots this year.
Thus far, the revised committee has not developed a consensus
around any candidate, leaving it unclear whether anyone will be
elected in the future.
"I'm of the opinion it's going to be awfully hard, and maybe
that's how it should be,'' Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver said.
Hodges, the former Brooklyn first baseman and New York Mets
manager, fell 11 votes short in 2003, when 61 votes were needed for
election. Santo was 15 votes shy that year.
Minnesota hitting star Tony Oliva was third among the 25 players
on the ballot this year with 45 votes, a drop of three. Jim Kaat,
on the Veterans ballot for the first time, got 43 votes. New York
Yankees manager Joe Torre, a former NL MVP, was fifth with 36
votes, an increase of seven.
Maury Wills was next with 26, followed by Vada Pinson (23), Luis
Tiant (20) and Roger Maris (19).
Thurman Munson and old-time pitcher Smoky Joe Wood each received
only two votes.
The old Veterans Committee, which met annually, had 15 members
in most years and was criticized for cronyism. The Hall changed the
system after Bill Mazeroski, a career .260 hitter with a great
glove, was elected in 2001.