No matter how you shake the ballot box, Steve Garvey’s Hall of Fame chances grow dimmer and dimmer.
The 16-member Expansion Era Committee — which includes 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, and veteran media members Bob Elliott, Tim Kurkjian, Ross Newhan and Tom Verducci – couldn’t even generate a majority opinion about the former Dodgers’ entrance into Cooperstown.
We may not know, or even guess, as to who left Garvey off their ballot, but the fact that he received less than eight votes is more than disappointing. It’s disrespectful to a career that … we don’t want to even start crunching the numbers again.
Only one person on the special ballot got due respect — Pat Gillick, who built three World Series champions and has served baseball for nearly 50 years — who had the necessary 75 percent (12 votes) to make it in, the Hall of Fame announced today.
The results of the Expansion Era Ballot (12 votes needed for election): Gillick (13 votes, 81.25 percent; Marvin Miller (11 votes, 68.75 percent; Dave Concepcion (8 votes, 50 percent). Those receiving less than eight, aside from Garvey: Ted Simmons, Vida Blue, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Billy Martin, Al Oliver, Rusty Staub and George Steinbrenner.
Garvey’s next chance at making it in won’t come until 2013. In a new three-year cycle of reformmated voting, the new “Golden Era Committee” will meet for the first time in late 2011 to consider managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players whose most impactful contributions came between 1947 and 1972. Then, in 2012, the “Pre-Integration Era Committee” will consider candidates whose main career contributions came from 1871-1946.
At least Garvey doesn’t have to live with knowing he came up only one vote short.
Miller, the former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, may be the most influential of the bunch not to make it. Reaction to his snub is more interesting, perhaps, than listening to someone make a case for a former player by rehashing all his stats.
Not to sound bitter or anything, but a statement released today from Miller said that he said his lack of induction “hardly qualfies as a news story. It is repetitively negative, easy to forecast, and therefore boring.
“Many years ago those who control the Hall decided to rewrite history instead of recording it. The aim was to eradicate the history of the tremendous impact of the players’ union on the progress and development of the game as a competitive sport, as entertainment, and as an industry. The union was the moving force in bringing Major League Baseball from the 19th century to the 21st century.
“It brought about expansion of the game to cities that had never had a Major League team. It brought about more than a 50 percentincrease in the number of people employed as players, coaches, trainers, managers, club presidents, attorneys and other support personnel, employees of concessionaires, stadium maintenance personnel, parking lot attendants, and more.
“It converted a salary structure from one with a $6,000 a year minimum salary to a $414,000 a year salary from the first day of a player’s Major League service. The union was also the moving force for changing the average Major League salary from $19,000 a year to more than $3 million a year, and the top salary from $100,000 to more than $25 million a year. The union was a major factor in increasing the annual revenue of all Major League clubs, combined – from $50 million a year before the union started in 1966 to this year’s almost $7 billion a year. That is a difficult record to eradicate – and the Hall has failed to do it.
“A long time ago, it became apparent that the Hall sought to bury me long before my time, as a metaphor for burying the union and eradicating its real influence. Its failure is exemplified by the fact that I and the union of players have received far more support, publicity, and appreciation from countless fans, former players, writers, scholars, experts in labor management relations, than if the Hall had not embarked on its futile and fraudulent attempt to rewrite history.
“It is an amusing anomaly that the Hall of Fame has made me famous by keeping me out.”
Pete Rose couldn’t have said that better.