The Hall of Fame Ballot
With the MLB Hall of Fame ballot released, I want to take a couple of days to pick out who should and should not be inducted. Let’s start with contributors. Contributors are voted on by a version of the Veterans’ Committee dedicated solely to electing candidates for something other than their play on the field. They are split into two categories: a 10-person ballot for managers and umpires and a 10-person ballot for executives and pioneers. Who should get in?
Start with executives and pioneers. The ballot includes 5 owners: Gene Autry (Angels), Ewing Kauffman (Royals), John Fetzer (Tigers), Jacob Ruppert (Yankees), and Sam Breadon (Cardinals); 3 general managers: Bob Howsam (builder of the Big Red Machine), John McHale (executive with the Tigers, Braves, and Expos), and Gabe Paul (builder of the Bronx Zoo Yankees); 1 NL president: Bill White; and Marvin Miller. As Verdun2 pointed out last week, Miller should be an easy pick. Few people in baseball history have changed the game like Miller. As head of the union, Miller introduced the world to free agency, killing the reserve clause that locked players into teams in perpetuity. Was Miller a nice man? Reports say the answer is no. Could the strike he backed in 1994 have killed baseball? Yes, it could have. The apt comparison, I think, is Judge Landis. The first baseball commissioner was essential in saving baseball from the problems surrounding the Black Sox scandal. At the same time, he single-handedly did everything possible to keep the game segregated. Jackie Robinson is possible, in part, because Landis was dead. Landis was a vile racist, and he was a deserved Hall of Famer for his contributions to the game. Miller is not nearly as nasty a human being, and regardless he deserves election.
The other executives are tricky. How do you decide which owners should be in and which not? I don’t know. I would probably vote for Ruppert as the man who transformed the Yankees into the franchise of Ruth and Gehrig. I would consider Howsam, as builder of the Big Red Machine and GM of the Cardinals for 1 World Series win and another appearance in the late 1960’s. The rest I would leave out.
The managers on the ballot are Danny Murtaugh, Billy Martin, Tom Kelly, Gene Mauch, Whitey Herzog, Davey Johnson, Steve O’Neill, and Charlie Grimm. Murtaugh (1960, 1971) and Kelly (1987, 1991) both won multiple World Series. Herzog (1982), Martin (1977), Johnson (1986) and O’Neill (1945) each won once. Grimm made 4 series (1932, 1935, 1938, 1945) as manager of the Cubs. Mauch never coached a pennant winner. Murtaugh and Kelly would be at the top of my list.
Hank O’Day and Doug Harvey are the ballots 2 umpires. Should they go in? I don’t know. Why not?
What do you think should happen to the contributors when the Veterans’ Committee votes on December 6th?