10 new candidates on Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals ballot

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Bob Hope, Annie Savoy, Donald Fehr, David Wells and Curtis Pride are part of the eclectic group of new 10 candidates for the 2011 election for the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals.

The 50-name ballot was released by Terry Cannon, the director of the Pasadena-based non-profit organization. The top three votegetters by members of the Baseball Reliquary (who begin casting ballots on April 1) will be enshrined on Sunday, July 17.

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For starters, it’s not the Bob Hope you’re thinking of — the one-time owner of the Cleveland Indians who was far more famously a comedian. This one is a veteran publicity director with 40 years of experience to rose to prominence during Henry Aaron’s pursuit of Babe Ruth’s lifetime home run record in 1973 and ’74. Hope shepherded the slugger through the intense media blitz that preceded the event. During owner Ted Turner’s early reign, Hope contrived a memorable series of promotional events for the lowly Braves, including his most famous (and most sexist) stunt, the 1977 Wet T-Shirt Contest.

Savoy, the sashaying acolyte of the Church of Baseball in director Ron Shelton’s romantic comedy “Bull Durham,” has become a popular culture icon. Susan Sarandon, once banned from appearing at the Baseball Hall of Fame because of her “political” views, played the role of the baseball-, poetry-, and sex-loving Annie who spent each season tutoring a fledgling player in the mysteries of baseball, love, and life before sending him out into the world.

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Fehr, who succeeded Marvin Miller and Ken Moffett as head of the Players Association, presided over the rocky negotiations between baseball labor and management from 1985 to 2009. During his tenure ,Fehr steered the union through lockouts, player strikes, basic agreement tiffs, drug-testing efforts, expansion and television revenue issues, and the notorious collusion case of the mid-1980s in which the union emerged victorious over then-commissioner Peter Ueberroth and a cabal of owners.

Wells, who ended his 21-year career as a member of the Dodgers, was known as the rambunctious, voluble and talented southpaw known as much for his Ruthian training regimen — booze, brawls, and babes. He became a fan favorite in New York, once pitching a perect game, and another time once wearing an original Babe Ruth cap on the mound.

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Pride, when he debuted with the Montreal Expos in 1993, was the big league’s first deaf player since 1945. He ended up playing 12 seasons with eight teams, the last three season with the Angels (2004-06). He received the Tony Congliaro Award in 1996, presented annually to an MLB player who best overcomes adversity. He’s currently the head baseball coach at Gallaudet University.

Former knuckleball pitcher Wilbur Wood, former Providence Grays manager Frank Bancroft, Society for American Baseball Research founder Bob Davids, former troubled Chicago Cubs shortstop Charlie Hollocher and Kansas City Monarchs founding owner J.L. Wilkinson are also on the ballot for the first time.

Meanwhile, Glenn Burke, the former Dodgers gay centerfielder who died of AIDS at the age of 42 in 1995, is also back on the ballot after an eight-year absence.

The other 39 eligible candidates (with years on the ballot in parentheses):
Eliot Asinof (8)
Steve Blass (2)
Chet Brewer (12)
Charlie Brown (4)
Jefferson Burdick (2)
Helen Callaghan (8)
Charles M. Conlon (10)
Dizzy Dean (11)
Ed Delahanty (8)
Bucky Dent (3)
Hector Espino (2)
Eddie Feigner (11)
Lisa Fernandez (11)
Rube Foster (13)
Ted Giannoulas (9)
Eddie Grant (2)
Jim “Mudcat” Grant (7)
Pete Gray (13)
Ernie Harwell (8)
Dr. Frank Jobe (9)
Charles “Pop” Kelchner (4)
Effa Manley (13)
Conrado Marrero (2)
Dr. Mike Marshall (6)
Tug McGraw (8)
Fred Merkle (5)
Manny Mota (4)
Phil Pote (9)
Vic Power (3)
Dan Quisenberry (5)
J.R. Richard (12)
Rusty Staub (6)
Chuck Stevens (3)
Luis Tiant (9)
Fay Vincent (10)
Rube Waddell (13)
John Montgomery Ward (5)
Maury Wills (2)
Don Zimmer (7)

For more info on the Shrine of the Eternals, contact Cannon at P.O. Box 1850, Monrovia, CA 91017; by phone at (626) 791-7647; or by e-mail at terymar@earthlink.net.

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