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Archive for Thursday, February 27, 2003

Baseball HOF pitches shutout

Hodges, Oliva head class denied by Veterans Committee

February 27, 2003

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The first vote of the Hall of Fame's new Veterans Committee finished in a shutout: No one got in.

With Hall of Famers themselves doing the voting, all 41 of the men on the ballot fell short of the necessary 75 percent vote total to gain enshrinement in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Brooklyn Dodgers first baseman and New York Mets manager Gil Hodges came closest, getting 50 votes in totals released Wednesday, falling 11 shy. Minnesota hitting star Tony Oliva was second among the 26 players on the ballot with 48 votes, and Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo was third with 46.

Santo said he was "devastated," thinking this was his time.

"It hurt me. It really hurt me," he said at his house in Scottsdale, Ariz. "I'm not going to kill myself, don't get me wrong. But all indications ... were giving me a feeling it was going to happen."

NL umpire Doug Harvey received 48 votes, the most among the 15 managers, umpires and executives on the "composite" ballot, where 60 votes were required for election. Former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley had 38 votes, and Marvin Miller, the union head who helped players gain free agency, had 35.

The last time the old Veterans Committee failed to elect anyone was in 1993. That group, 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 voted in two years ago.

The new panel included 85 eligible members: the 58 living Hall of Fame players, 25 writers and broadcasters in the Hall, and two members from the old committee whose terms had not expired.

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