Garvey, John, Mattingly, Miller, Morris, Murphy, Parker, Simmons, Tiant, Trammell to be considered
By Barry M. Bloom
The Modern Baseball Era Committee, which is charged with the process of electing players into the National Baseball Hall of Fame through the Veterans Committee process, announced 10 candidates for election on Monday.
The candidates include nine players whose careers spanned a good chunk of the era from 1970-87, plus the late Marvin Miller, the MLB Players Association leader who put an indelible stamp on the game.
The players are Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons, Luis Tiant and Alan Trammell.
The 16-person panel assigned to vote on them will be determined later this fall.
The vote is slated to be announced Dec. 10 live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. ET as the Winter Meetings open this year in Orlando, Fla. Any electees will be introduced at a media conference there the next day.
The induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., next year is July 29 and will also include any inductees from the BBWAA ballot, which is slated to be released on Nov. 20.
"Of course I'd love to be in," Garvey said when reached by phone immediately after the ballot was released. "It's been so long. The managers come up, and they've been grandfathered in. Yeah, let's get some players in. Have some fun."
The 16 members of the committee can vote for a maximum of five candidates, a total of 80 votes. As in any Hall of Fame vote, a candidate needs 75 percent to be elected. In this case, his name must appear on at least 12 of the 16 ballots. Just doing the math defines how difficult this particular process is.
Since Joe Gordon was elected in 2009, only two players have been enshrined through the Veterans' Committee process: Cubs third baseman Ron Santo in 2012, and Deacon White, a 19th-century catcher, in '13.
The committees were shuffled again last year in an attempt to correct that shortcoming.
"This is not unusual. It's about staying relevant," Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said at the time. "There's now stronger emphasis on players who have recently fallen off the BBBWAA ballot. No group of candidates is being left out. We've always left the door open."
The committee was comprised by an 11-member panel of historians that boasted 10 members of the BBWAA who all saw these particular players compete.
About the players:
Garvey: Appeared on the BBWAA ballot for 15 years, ending in 2007, and never compiled higher than the 41.6 percent of the vote he amassed in his first year of eligibility in 1993. This is his third time on a Veterans' Committee ballot. He holds the record for consecutive games played in the National League (1,207) while playing for the Dodgers and Padres. He hit .338 with 11 home runs and 31 RBIs in 11 postseason series, was named the 1978 and '84 NLCS MVP and won the '81 Roberto Clemente Award. Garvey also won the 1974 NL Most Valuable Player Award and four Gold Glove Awards.
John: Appeared on the BBWAA ballot for 15 years, ending in 2009, with his highest percentage of 31.7 coming in that last season. He pitched 26 seasons for the Indians, Dodgers, Yankees, Angels and A's, winning 288 games, 164 of them after missing the 1975 season because of ligament-replacement surgery in his left elbow, a surgery that still bears his name. A four-time All-Star selection, John won the '76 Hutch Award for persevering through adversity and '81 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award for integrity on and off the field.
Mattingly: Appeared on the BBWAA ballot for 15 years, ending in 2015. His top year was 28.2 percent of the ballots in 2001, his first season of eligibility. The current manager of the Marlins played 14 seasons, all for the Yankees, batting .307 with 222 home runs and 2,153 hits. A six-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove Award winner at first base, Mattingly led the American League in total bases in both 1985 and '86, won the '84 AL batting title, captured three Silver Slugger Awards and was named the '85 AL Most Valuable Player.
Miller: Was last on the Expansion Era ballot in 2013, the year managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa were all elected. Became the head of the MLB Players Association in 1966 and quickly turned the union into a powerhouse. Within a decade of being named head of the union, Miller had secured free agency for the players. By the time he retired in 1982, the average player salary was approximately 10 times what it was when he took over.
Morris: Was on the BBWA ballot for 15 years, ending in 2014. He had a high of 67.7 percent in 2013 and became only the second player in history to amass an excess of 60 percent of the vote and not eventually make the Hall, joining Gil Hodges. Morris was one of the best pitchers in the American League in the 1980s and played on World Series winners for Detroit, Minnesota and Toronto. He won 254 games over the course of 18 seasons, capturing the 1991 World Series MVP following 10 shutout innings in a Game 7 victory for the Twins over the Braves.
Murphy: Was on the BBWAA ballot for 15 years, ending in 2013. His percentage high of 23.2 came in 2000. Murphy played 18 seasons with the Braves, Phillies and Rockies, winning back-to-back National League Most Valuable Player Awards with Atlanta in 1982 and 1983. A seven-time All-Star, Murphy won five Gold Glove Awards and four Silver Slugger Awards in center field, finishing with 398 home runs and 1,266 RBIs.
Parker: Appeared on the BBWAA ballot for 15 years, ending in 2011, with his high of 24.5 percent coming in 1998. He was the right fielder for the World Series-winning "We Are Family" Pirates in 1979 and posted a .345 batting average in his club's seven-game win over the Orioles. The 1978 NL Most Valuable Player played 19 seasons, was named to seven All-Star teams and won three Gold Glove Awards.
Simmons: The catcher may be the greatest anomaly in BBWAA Hall of Fame voting. He lasted one year on the ballot in 1994 and didn't amass the minimum of 5 percent to carry over, logging 3.7 percent. Yet his numbers are compatible with Hall of Fame catchers Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Gary Carter and Mike Piazza. An eight-time All-Star, he played for 21 seasons, batting .285 with 2,472 hits, 483 doubles, 248 home runs and 1,389 RBIs for the Cardinals, Brewers and Braves.
Tiant: Was on the BBWAA ballot for 15 years, ending in 2002, with his high percentage being 30.9 percent in 1988, his first year. He won 229 games in 19 seasons and recorded a 3.30 ERA, mostly for the Indians, Red Sox and Yankees. The Cuban native known as "El Tiante" won at least 20 games in four seasons, earning three All-Star selections. He won two American League ERA titles, including a 1.60 ERA in 1968, and led the league in shutouts three times.
Trammell: Was on the ballot for 15 years and had his best year (40.9 percent) in 2016, his final year of eligibility. Trammell's numbers compare favorably with career-long shortstop inductees Ozzie Smith and Barry Larkin. In Trammell's 20 seasons, all with the Tigers, he batted .285 with a .976 fielding percentage, while Smith hit .262 with a .978 fielding percentage and Larkin hit .295 with a .975 fielding percentage. In addition, Trammell was named the 1984 World Series Most Valuable Player after leading Detroit to the championship with a .450 batting average in five games.