Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rule Change Keeps Boyer, Other Stars Still Eligible for Hall

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rule Change Keeps Boyer, Other Stars Still Eligible for Hall

Article excerpt

If you were voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame, would you cast a ballot for any or many, none or some of the following retired former players:

Richie Ashburn . . . Harvey Kuenn . . . Roger Maris . . . Bill Mazeroski . . . Maury Wills?

Or Ken Boyer . . . Orlando Cepeda . . . Mickey Lolich . . . Tony Oliva . . . Ron Santo . . . Luis Tiant?

The point is, none of the 11 would be eligible for Cooperstown if the Hall of Fame's board of directors hadn't recently grandfathered a two-year requirement sharply reducing eligibility for the Hall. The requirement eased was that post-World War II players would need at least 60 percent approval from baseball writers to be eligible for consideration by the Veterans' Committee.

For years, the old-timers had no restriction on ballots received by a player in the 15 voting years after he became eligible, five years after retirment. Then, with resentment that some were getting Hall of Fame recognition without sufficient earlier writers' support, the requirement became 100 minimum votes by 10-year or retired members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The death blow from 100 votes to 60 percent, about 255 votes, came in February 1991. At the time, only two postwar players not elected with the necessary 75 percent had finished with higher than 60 percent - Nelson Fox, second baseman; and Jim Bunning, pitcher.

The late Fox, a 19-year hustler and .288 hitter for the Philadelphia Athletics, Chicago White Sox and Houston, narrowly had missed election by the BBWAA. So had Kentucky congressman Bunning, primarily with the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies in 17 seasons in which, winning 224 games, he included a perfect game and the distinction of winning 100 games in each league.

Fox and Bunning are eligible, along with players whose big-league careers began before 1946. But although ready to move over to the Veterans' Committee catalog, outfielder Ashburn, infielder-outfielder Kuenn, outfielder Maris, second baseman Mazeroski and shortstop Wills would have been shut out permanently.

Similarly, most of the other men mentioned, though still in the writers' purview, probably would fall short of the 60 percent. …

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