Why The Garv (finally) has another shot at Fame

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Hasn’t enough time passed for Steve Garvey’s off-the-field transgressions to finally be overlooked and a Baseball Hall of Fame induction based on what he did between the lines be recognized again?

In 2007, which was the 15th and final year that Garvey was on the annual ballot, the former Dodgers All-Star first baseman whiffed a final time, only getting 21.1 percent of the vote (75 percent is needed for election).

But it’s not over yet.

Garvey muscled his way today onto a ballot with eight former major league players, three executives and one former manager to be on a new 12-name Expansion Era ballot for the Committee to Consider Managers, Umpires, Executives and Long-Retired Players for Hall of Fame election.

It will be reviewed and voted upon at the 2010 Baseball Winter Meetings by a 16-member electorate. The results will be announced on Dec. 6.

Every candidate receiving votes on 75 percent of the 16 ballots cast will earn election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and will be honored in July, 2011.

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Joining Garvey for players under renewed considersation: Tommy John, Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Ron Guidry, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub. Also, former manager Billy Martin, and executives Pat Gillick, Marvin Miller and George Steinbrenner are also on the ballot.

Now, it’s up to the 16-member electorate voting on these 12. They are Hall of Fame members Johnny Bench, Whitey Herzog, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith, plus major league executives Bill Giles, David Glass, Andy MacPhail and Jerry Reinsdorf. Also, veteran media members Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun), Tim Kurkjian (ESPN), Ross Newhan (retired from the Los Angeles Times) and Tom Verducci (Sports Illustrated) have a say.

The Baseball Writers Association of America came up with this new Expansion Era ballot as kind of an oversight committee to re-examine a player’s worth — in many cases, brought upon by recent players found to be or accused of performance enhancing drug use. The Expansion Era covers candidates whose most significant career impact was realized during the 1973-present time frame.

Eligibility is based on players who played in at least 10 major league seasons, who are not on MLB’s ineligible list, and have been retired for 21 or more seasons . Managers and umpires with 10 or more years in baseball and retired for at least five years, with any candidates who are 65 years or older first-eligible six months from the date of the election following retirement; and executives who have been retired for at least five years, with any active executives 65 or older eligible for consideration.

This is the first of a three-year cycle of re-examination. The “Golden Era” (1947-72) and “Pre-Integration (1871-1946) is also being considered, as ppposed to the previous veterans committees who did the selections.

Garvey’s credentials: a .294 career average over 19 major league seasons with the Dodgers and Padres, amassing 2,599 hits, 272 home runs, 1,308 RBI and 10 All-Star Game selections. He hit .338 with 11 home runs and 31 RBIs in 11 postseason series, was named the 1978 and 1984 NLCS MVP and won the 1981 Roberto Clemente Award. Garvey won four Gold Glove Awards and played in an N.L. record 1,207 straight games.

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In “The Great Book of Los Angeles Sports Lists,” long-time Southern California radio sports-talk host Steve Hartman has his own Top 10 list why Garven should be in the Hall, including:

== Team success: When Garvey moved from third to first in 1973, the Dodgers had gone seven years without a post-season appearance. They then had a first- or second-place finish nine of the next 10 seasons, including four division titles, four NL pennants and one World Series title. Then, of course, he went to the Padres and took them to their first World Series appearance. “The man was a flat-out winner,” Hartman writes.

== Iron Man Record: Billy Williams, who had the longest consecutive-game streak in NL history before Garvey broke it, got into the Hall of Fame — bolstered by that reocrd he once held. “Apparently Garvey did not receive the same consideration from baseball writers,” Hartman says.

== Star appeal: “Garvey was the complete package … It’s interesting that baseball writers would sometimes look down on Garvey because he was too good to be true. The fact that his post-baseball life included some controversy … should not have a bearing on his Hall of Fame candidacy. As far as we know, Garvey never did drugs or used steroids. His baseball numbers are clean.”

== Nobody Cares About On-Base Percentage: Writers love to point out that Garvey had only a .329 career on-base percentage. But “this is an absolute joke because no one cared about on-base percentage when he played.” His “total package is beyond dispute. Garvey should be — and I predict will be — a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

What others think of Garvey’s career:

== From Cybermetrics.com (linked here)
== A pro- and con- argument from 2007, calling him the Best First Baseman Not in the Hall of Fame: (linked here)
== Why the SonsOfSteveGarvey.com blog weren’t confident he’d ever get voted in (linked here).

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