Veterans Committee announces ballot

Veterans Committee announces ballot

NEW YORK -- Former Most Valuable Player Award winners Bucky Walters and Joe Gordon were among the 10 players announced Monday as qualifying for the Veterans Committee ballot of candidates from the pre-1943 era for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.

A 12-member committee comprised of Hall of Famers, historians and media members will meet Dec. 7 during the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas with the election results to be revealed Dec. 8. Voters may choose up to four players. As in the other Hall of Fame elections, a 75 percent plurality is required for election. Any candidate who receives nine or more votes will be inducted at the 2009 ceremonies July 26 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y.

In addition to Walters, a pitcher, and Gordon, a second baseman, the other nominees are pitchers Wes Ferrell, Carl Mays and Allie Reynolds; catcher-third baseman Deacon White; first baseman Mickey Vernon; shortstop Bill Dahlen; outfielder-first baseman Sherry Magee and shortstop-third baseman Vern Stephens.

They were the finalists selected by the Historical Overview Committee of the Baseball Writers' Association of America from a list of all eligible players who had at least 10 years' service in the Major Leagues and whose careers began in 1942 or earlier.

Walter spent 19 seasons (1931-50) with the Boston Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds, but did not begin pitching regularly until his fifth season following four years as a third baseman. The right-hander won 198 games with a 3.30 ERA, 242 complete games and 42 shutouts. Walters led the National League in victories, complete games and innings pitched three times each and in ERA twice. The six-time All-Star was the NL MVP in 1939, the first of two consecutive pennant-winning seasons for the Reds.

Gordon batted .268 with 253 home runs in 11 seasons (1938-43, '46-50) with the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians and made the American League All-Star team nine times. He was the AL MVP in 1942 and a member of five World Series championship clubs, the Yankees of 1938, 1939, 1941 and 1943 and the Indians of 1948.

Ferrell had a 193-128 (.601) record with a 4.04 ERA in a 15-season career (1927-41) primarily with the Indians and Boston Red Sox. The right-hander was a six-time 20-game winner and led the AL in complete games four times and innings pitched three times. Ferrell was one of baseball's best hitting pitchers with a career .280 batting average and a record 38 home runs, 10 more than his brother, catcher Rick Ferrell, who was elected to the Hall by the Veterans Committee in 1984.

Mays, who pitched for the Red Sox, Yankees, Reds and New York Giants over 15 seasons (1916-29), was a five-time 20-game winner who had a career record of 207-126 (.622) with 231 complete games, 29 shutouts and a 2.92 ERA. The right-hander with a submarine-style delivery pitched in four World Series, but he is best remembered for an errant pitch Aug. 16, 1920, that struck Indians shortstop Ray Chapman in the head and killed him.

Reynolds was the staff ace of Yankees teams that won the World Series in six of his eight seasons with them, including a record five consecutively from 1949-53. The right-hander, whom the Yankees acquired after the 1946 season from Cleveland in a straight-up trade for Gordon, had a 182-107 record with a 3.30 ERA over 13 seasons. In World Series play, Reynolds was 7-2 with a 2.79 ERA and hit .308 in 26 at-bats.

White, one of the last bare-handed catchers who later moved to third base, played 20 seasons from 1871-90 for NL, National Association and Players League clubs in Cleveland, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Detroit and Pittsburgh. The .312 career hitter won two batting titles and totaled 2,066 hits.

Vernon, whose career spanned four decades (1939-60), won AL batting titles in 1946 and 1953 with the Washington Senators. The left-handed hitter also played for the Indians, Red Sox, Milwaukee Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates and was a .286 career hitter with 2,495 hits, 490 doubles, 120 triples and 172 home runs. The seven-time All-Star drove in 1,311 runs and scored 1,196.

Dahlen, the shortstop on the Giants' 1905 World Series champions, played 21 seasons (1891-1911), also with the Cubs, Braves and Brooklyn Dodgers, and had 2,457 hits and 547 stolen bases. Dahlen, a .272 hitter with a .358 on-base average, had 1,233 runs batted in and scored 1,589 runs.

RBI did not become an official statistic until 1920 but records show that Magee led the NL in runs driven in four times, including a career-best 123 in 1910 for the Phillies when he also won the batting title with a .331 average. Magee also played for the Braves and Reds in his 16 seasons (1904-1919) and had 2,169 hits, 425 doubles, 166 triples, 83 home runs and 441 stolen bases.

Stephens was the shortstop on the only St. Louis Browns club to win a pennant, in 1944, and also played for the Red Sox, White Sox and Orioles over 15 seasons (1941-55). The right-handed slugger led the AL in RBIs three times with a high of 159 with Boston in 1949, the middle year of a three-year stretch in which Stephens drove in 440 runs. The eight-time All-Star had a .286 career batting average with 1,859 hits, including 247 home runs.

The Hall of Fame plans to announce soon the names of the voting committee. In addition, the Hall will announce the 10 finalists for a second ballot of players to be considered by the Veterans Committee, those whose careers began in 1943 or later. Hall of Fame members will serve as the voting committee for that ballot, the results of which will also be announced Dec. 8.

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

Jack O'Connell is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.