Forum Spin Doctor
NEW YORK - The Hall of Fame pitched another shutout.
Ron Santo, Jim Kaat, Marvin Miller and all the other candidates were left out Tuesday when the Veterans Committee admitted no new members for the third straight election.
The blank slate could lead to changes before the next vote in 2009.
"We're being blamed because something hasn't happened," Hall member and vice chairman Joe Morgan said. "If you're asking me, 'Do we lower our standards to get more people in?' my answer would be no."
Santo came the closest to the required 75 percent. A nine-time All-Star, the former Cubs third baseman was picked on 57 of 82 ballots (70 percent). Players needed 62 for election.
Kaat, a 283-game winner and strongly backed by Hall member Mike Schmidt, drew 52 votes. Gil Hodges, who hit 370 home runs, got 50 votes and three-time AL batting champion Tony Oliva had 47.
Umpire Doug Harvey received 52 of the necessary 61 votes on the ballot for managers, umpires and executives. Miller, the union head who led players to free-agent riches, showed a strong increase in getting 51 of the potential 81 votes.
"My guy was Jim Kaat, but understand other members have their guys also," Schmidt told The Associated Press. "Maybe that is the problem when you are trying to evaluate 'bubble' players on entrance.
"The same thing happens every year. The current members want to preserve the prestige as much as possible, and are unwilling to open the doors," he said.
The vets committee was revamped after charges of cronyism when it elected Bill Mazeroski in 2001. That marked the eighth straight year the 15-member panel sent someone to Cooperstown.
After that, the panel was expanded to include all living Hall of Famers. The new committee votes every other year for players and every four years for the others.
"We are disappointed that no one has been elected in the three voting cycles," Hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark said. "We will be evaluating this process and its trends at our next meeting, which is March 13, and discussing whether there should be any changes."
"The board may decide that the trends are not what we thought they were going to be. Perhaps this hasn't worked as well as some of the board members thought it would and maybe it needs a little bit of change," she said.
Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn were elected to the Hall by the Baseball Writers' Association of America in January. They will stand alone at the induction ceremonies July 29 in Cooperstown.
The 84 eligible voters on the vets committee included 61 Hall members, 14 broadcasters, eight writers and one holdover from the previous panel.
Morgan said he voted for the maximum 10 players.
"I feel there are some guys out there that belong in the Hall of Fame," he said. "The writers voted on these people for 15 years and they weren't elected. Why are we being criticized because we haven't elected someone?"
Maury Wills, Joe Torre, Roger Maris, Luis Tiant and Bobby Bonds were among the 27 candidates on the players ballot.
"Noboby got in? That's too bad. I'm sorry to hear that," Torre said. "I'm not exactly sure what process they use. Don't forget, you've got the old guard and the young guard. People with different interests."
Torre drew 32 percent of the votes based on his playing career. The New York Yankees manager - and former NL MVP - is expected to be elected when his time in the dugout is considered.
"Joe Torre, when he retires and he has 8,000 wins or whatever, I think that people would vote for him," Morgan said.
Dick Williams, Whitey Herzog, Walter O'Malley and Charlie O. Finley also were among the 15 names on the composite ballot. Morgan said it was hard to pick from those candidates.
"It is difficult for some of the players or me to evaluate their performance on a Hall of Fame level. It is much easier for me to evaluate the players," Morgan said.
Miller received 63 percent, moving up from 44 percent in the previous election.
"Personally, I would love to see him get in," Torre said at the Yankees' spring camp in Tampa, Fla. "He's made such an impact on this modern player and the game itself."
Union head Donald Fehr said it was "profoundly disappointing" that Miller did not get enough support.
"Given the increased number of votes for Marvin this time, there is certainly reason to believe that the votes will be there in the future," he said.
Two years ago, Santo and Hodges each came within eight votes of election in drawing 65 percent.
Santo was a five-time Gold Glove winner and hit 342 home runs. Hall member Billy Williams was rooting hard for his old Cubs teammate.
"I kind of felt sorry for him because he was so looking forward to getting the call," he said. "I really thought the credentials that he has, he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame."