Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn have been assured their place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies this summer, as have Ford C. Frick Award winner for broadcasting, Denny Matthews, and J.G. Taylor Spink Award for writing, Rick Hummel. The question now is, will they have company?
Voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America have had their say with the election of Ripken and Gwynn in each's first time on the ballot. Now it is up to the Hall of Famers themselves as well as honored writers and broadcasters who make up the Veterans Committee to decide if others are deserving of plaques in the venerated museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Nine former Most Valuable Player Award winners are among the 27 players on the 2007 Veterans Committee ballot that was announced Sept. 28, 2006. In addition, 15 former managers, umpires and executives were named on a separate ballot that is part of the Veterans Committee election of Hall of Famers, Frick Award and Spink Award winners.
The 84 voting members are currently studying or have filed their ballots to Hall vice president Jeff Idelson. As in the BBWAA voting, a candidate must appear on 75 percent of ballots cast to gain election and be inducted at ceremonies July 29, 2007 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown.
Along with two-time American League MVP Roger Maris (1960, '61), other former MVPs from that league on the ballot are Joe Gordon (1942), Dick Allen (1972) and Thurman Munson (1976). NL MVPs on the ballot are Marty Marion (1944), Don Newcombe (1956), Maury Wills (1962), Ken Boyer (1964) and Joe Torre (1971). Newcombe also won the first Cy Young Award in '56 and is the only player to have won MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year (1949) Awards. Another Cy Young Award winner, Sparky Lyle (AL, 1977) is on the ballot.
August Busch Jr.
Former Dodgers first baseman Gil Hodges and Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, who tied for the most votes in the 2005 Veterans Committee election with 52 each (65 percent), are on the ballot for the third time. Hodges was also the leading vote-getter in 2003, the first year of the revised process, with 50 votes (61.7 percent).
The Veterans Committee elections are held every other year for players and every four years for the composite ballot. Former umpire Doug Harvey was the leading vote-getter on the 2003 ballot with 48 votes (60.8 percent).
The 2007 ballot contains the same 15 names that were on it four years ago -- former managers Whitey Herzog, Billy Martin, Paul Richards and Dick Williams; former owners August Busch, Charles O. Finley, Walter O'Malley and Phil Wrigley; former general managers Buzzie Bavasi, Gabe Paul and Harry Dalton; former Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, former NL president Bill White, former Major League Players Association executive director Marvin Miller and Harvey.
The players' ballot includes former pitchers Carl Mays (five-time 20-game winner), Luis Tiant (two-time ERA leader), Mickey Lolich (1968 World Series MVP), Jim Kaat (283 victories, 16 Gold Gloves) and Wes Ferrell (.601 winning percentage and slugger of 37 home runs); first basemen Al Oliver (.303 career hitter with 2,743 hits) and Mickey Vernon (two batting titles); outfielders Bobby Bonds (five 30-30 seasons in homers and stolen bases), Tony Oliva (three batting titles), Lefty O'Doul (two batting crowns), Vada Pinson (four 200-hit seasons), Rocky Colavito (home run and RBI leader), Minnie Minoso (three-time steals leader) and Curt Flood (seven-time Gold Glove winner) and shortstop Cecil Travis (.314 career average), who died in December.
Oliver, O'Doul, Travis and Vernon are newcomers to the ballot. There were 25 players on the 2005 ballot, two of which (Elston Howard and Smokey Joe Wood) did not make it this year.
Candidates were selected by a BBWAA-appointed screening committee of 60 writers, two from each of the 22 Major League cities with one team, and four from Chicago, New York, Los Angeles/Anaheim and the Bay Area, each of which has two Major League teams. Each writer was asked to select 25 individuals from a list of 200 players and 60 managers, umpires and executives. Simultaneously, a six-member screening committee of Hall of Fame members selected five players, two of whom were not selected by the BBWAA Screening Committee and were integrated into the final list.
The list of 200 players and 60 managers, umpires and executives were chosen by the Historical Overview Committee, which consists of 10 writers and historians appointed by the BBWAA's secretary-treasurer and meets every other December in the Giamatti Research Center at the Hall of Fame. The original list contained more than 1,400 Major Leaguers who played in at least 10 seasons, up to and including 1985.
Jack O'Connell is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.