Vets Committee to consider 10 for Hall

By Jack O'Connell
Updated: September 21, 2008

Dick Allen

Dick Allen

NEW YORK — Former MVPs Dick Allen, Joe Torre and Maury Wills were among the 10 finalists announced to be under consideration for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee, which is composed of the 64 living Hall of Famers. The results will be announced on Dec. 8 during baseball’s Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.

The other former players whose careers began in 1943 or later also under consideration are pitchers Jim Kaat and Luis Tiant, first baseman Gil Hodges, third baseman Ron Santo, and outfielders Tony Oliva, Al Oliver and Vada Pinson. Candidates must receive 75 percent of the vote to gain election and be inducted on July 26, 2009, at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Allen, a first baseman, batted .292 with 351 home runs and 1,119 RBIs over a 15-season career. He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1964 with the Philadelphia Phillies and the American League MVP in 1972 with the Chicago White Sox. The seven-time All-Star was a league leader in extra-base hits and slugging three times each, and home runs and on-base percentage twice apiece.

Torre, a catcher and corner infielder in 18 Major League seasons, was a .297 career hitter with 252 home runs and 1,185 RBIs. He hit over .300 five times and totaled 2,342 hits. He was the NL MVP as a third baseman with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1971, when he led the league in batting (.363), hits (230), RBIs (137) and total bases (352). The current manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers played in nine All-Star Games and was a Gold Glove winner as a catcher.

Wills, a shortstop, was the NL MVP with the Dodgers in 1962, when he set a record with 104 stolen bases while also banging out 208 hits and scoring 130 runs. The switch-hitter led the NL in steals six times and also led the league in singles four times and triples once. A .281 career hitter with 2,134 hits, he won two Gold Gloves and was named to seven All-Star teams.

Kaat, a left-hander, pitched in 25 seasons over four decades (1959-1983) and compiled a 283-237 record with a 3.45 ERA. The three-time 20-game winner had 2,461 strikeouts in 4,530 1/3 innings and won 16 Gold Glove Awards.

Tiant, a right-hander, was 229-172 with a 3.30 ERA and 2,416 strikeouts in 3,486 1/3 innings. He was a 20-game winner four times and led the AL in shutouts three times and ERA twice.

Hodges batted .273 with 370 home runs and 1,274 RBIs in an 18-season career in which he was selected to eight All-Star teams and won three Gold Gloves. He played in seven World Series with the Dodgers, earning rings in 1955 and 1959. As a manager, he directed the “Miracle Mets” in their 1969 championship season.

Santo, a nine-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner, hit .277 with 342 home runs and 1,331 RBIs in 15 seasons, all but one with the Chicago Cubs (he spent one year with the Chicago White Sox). He led the league in walks four times and on-base percentage twice.

Oliva, who was plagued by knee injuries later in his 15-year career, all with the Minnesota Twins, won three AL batting titles, including each of his first two seasons. He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1964 and twice was the runner-up in MVP balloting (1965 and 1970). A .304 career hitter with 220 home runs, he led the AL in hits five times and doubles four times. He played in eight All-Star Games.

Oliver collected 2,743 hits over 18 seasons as a .303 hitter with 219 home runs and 1,326 RBIs. The seven-time All-Star hit over .300 11 times and won the NL batting title in 1982 while with the Montreal Expos. That year, Oliver also led the league in hits (204) and RBIs (109). He was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ World Series championship team of 1971.

Pinson had four 200-hit seasons in an 18-year career in which he hit .286 with 256 home runs, 1,170 RBIs and 305 stolen bases. A Gold Glove winner in center field, he was a league leader in hits, doubles and triples twice each, and was a four-time All-Star.

The ballot was devised by Hall of Fame members, who served as the Screening Committee in narrowing the list of names from 21 to 10 in August. Earlier this year, the Historical Overview Committee of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, composed of 11 veteran baseball writers and historians, selected 20 finalists from a list of all eligible players, those whose careers spanned at least 10 Major League seasons and started in 1943 or later. Concurrently, a screening committee composed of six Hall of Famers selected five names for the ballot, and the two lists were merged for a total of 21 candidates.

The 11 candidates who did not make the final ballot were pitchers Mike Cuellar and Mickey Lolich; catcher Thurman Munson; first basemen Steve Garvey, Ted Kluszewski and Lee May; shortstop Bert Campaneris; third baseman Ken Boyer; and outfielders Rocky Colavito, Roger Maris and Minnie Minoso.

Also in December, a 12-member voting committee will consider the candidacies of 10 former Major League players whose careers began in 1942 or earlier: pitchers Wes Ferrell, Carl Mays, Allie Reynolds and Bucky Walters; catcher-third baseman Deacon White; first baseman Mickey Vernon; second baseman Joe Gordon; shortstop Bill Dahlen; outfielder-first baseman Sherry Magee; and shortstop-third baseman Vern Stephens.

The committee members who are scheduled to meet on Dec. 7 at the Winter Meetings to vote on the pre-1943 candidates are seven Hall of Fame members (Bobby Doerr, Ralph Kiner, Phil Niekro, Robin Roberts, Duke Snider, Don Sutton and Dick Williams) and five historians (Furman Bisher, Roland Hemond, Steve Hirdt, Bill Madden and Claire Smith).

Hirdt, with the Elias Sports Bureau, and Madden, with the New York Daily News, are also members of the BBWAA’s Historical Overview Committee, which helped prepare both Veterans Committee ballots, along with Dave Van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune; Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun; Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch; Moss Klein, formerly of the Newark Star Ledger; Ken Nigro, formerly of the Baltimore Sun; Jack O’Connell of; Nick Peters, formerly of the Sacramento Bee; Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News; and Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register.

The process of considering players whose careers began in 1942 or earlier occurs every five years, next in 2013 for election in 2014. The committee to consider players whose careers began in 1943 or later will consider candidates every other year, next in 2010 for 2011 election.