Veteran’s Committee Finalists for 2012
As of 2010, revisions were made to the Veteran’s Committee voting process. There are now three categories of players to be selected:
Pre-Integration (3 billion BC – 1946 A.D.)
Golden Era (1947-1972)
Each year, one of these era’s possible candidates are examined, such that each era is examined once every three years.
A committee of 16 people (composed of Hall of Famers, executives, historians, and media members) convenes at the winter meetings to vote on each candidate from that year’s class. 12 of 16 votes are required for enshrinement.
Last year focused on the expansion era; this year, baseball’s Golden era will be looked at. The candidates for this year are:
Buzzie Bavasi (Executive): Bavasi is mainly known for his work as General Manager of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers in the 50’s and 60’s. His teams won four championships and eight pennants during his time as a GM. He went on to be the General Manager for the expansion Padres for four years.
My vote: Yes
Ken Boyer (3B) (1955-1969): An elite third baseman for the Cardinals during baseball’s Golden Era, Boyer hit .300 or better five times and won the 1964 MVP, hitting .295/.365/.489 with a league-best 119 RBI.
My Vote: Very borderline; I’ll say yes.
Charlie Finley (Executive): The colorful owner of the Athletics, Charlie Finley moved the team from Kansas City to Oakland and presided over a dynasty of three straight World Championships from 1972-1974. Known for gimmicks, weird uniforms, bonuses for mustaches, and random catchy nicknames, Finley was universally loved by his players. Just kidding, they hated him.
My Vote: Absolutely Not
Gil Hodges (1B) (1943, 1947-1963): The first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers during their hey-day, Gil Hodges amassed 370 home runs in 2000 career games, topping 100 RBI every year from 1949 to 1955. He later went on to manage the New York Mets, leading them to a World Series victory as their skipper in 1969 after 7 straight losing seasons.
My Vote: No
Jim Kaat (SP) (1959-1983) Jim Kaat was a big league pitcher for parts of 25 seasons, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. He pitched mainly for the Minnesota Twins, enjoying his best season in 1966 (25-13, 304.2 IP, 2.75 ERA, 1.070 WHIP) and later won 20 games in back-to-back seasons with the White Sox. He also won the Gold Glove an incredible 16 times in a row from 1962 to 1977. He came just short of the 300 win plateau at 283, but currently ranks 25th all-time in innings pitched and 34th all-time in strikeouts.
My Vote: No
Minnie Minoso (OF), (1949, 1951-1964, 1976 (!), 1980(!!) ): He made some token publicity appearances for the White Sox in his 50’s, even notching a single as a 50-year old in 1976. But Minoso’s main contributions came a couple decades earlier, primarily with the White Sox. He drove in 100 runs four times, thrice led the league in stolen bases and triples, and finished fourth in the MVP voting four times, including his rookie season of 1951.
My vote: Close, but thumbs down for me.
Tony Oliva (OF) (1962-1976): Tony Oliva burst onto the scene in 1964, winning a batting title in his rookie season and leading the league in runs scored, hits, and doubles. He repeated that batting title the very next year for the AL Champion Twins, and later won the 1971 batting and slugging titles. The outfielder led the league in hits 5 times, doubles four times, and twice finished second in the MVP voting.
My Vote: Was well on his way; his 1964-1971 is definitely a stretch worthy of a hall of famer. But he really fell off, so I’m voting no.
Allie Reynolds (SP) (1942-1954): Allie Reynolds pitched for the Indians and Yankees for thireen seasons. He enjoyed his best year in 1952, going 20-8 with a league-best 2.06 ERA and 160 strikeouts, and finished second to Philadelphia’s Bobby Shantz in the MVP voting (one year after finished third). He was an all-star in five of his final six seasons.
My Vote: No.
Ron Santo (3B) (1960-1974): Among the greatest third basemen of all-time (at a horribly underrepresented position for the Hall of Fame), Ron Santo manned the hot corner for the Cubs for 14 seasons, later becoming their voice on the radio. Despite playing in the worst era for hitter’s since the 1910’s, Santo hit 25 or more home runs eight straight years and 30 or more in four straight seasons. He also flashed some serious leather, racking up five consecutive gold gloves.
My Vote: Yes. It’s just a shame he died before he could deliver what would have been a memorable speech.
Luis Tiant (SP) (1964-1982): Sporting one of the most unique pitching motions of all-time, El Tiante won 229 games in 19 big league seasons and won two ERA titles, including the title in 1968, the “Year of the Pitcher.” Tiant took over 30% of the vote in his first year on the ballot, but never attained more than 18 in any year after that.
My Vote: Yes, for the wind-up alone.