NASHVILLE, Tenn. — For a second straight year, no veteran committee candidates were deemed worthy of baseball’s Hall of Fame.
The Pre-Integration Era Committee weighed the merits of six players, three executives and one of the game’s pioneers, all of whom made their mark before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. None of the 10 received the 12 of 16 votes (75 percent) necessary for induction.
“The results of this committee’s work and their voting are a reminder the Hall of Fame election remains the highest and most difficult honor to attain in baseball,” Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark said Monday at baseball’s annual winter meetings, using nearly the same words she used last year when the Golden Era Committee failed to elect anyone.
Doc Adams, who has been credited with creating what would become the shortstop position and helped establish the nine-inning game and 90-foot basepaths, came closest with 10 votes. Nineteenth century players Bill Dahlen and Harry Stovey each got eight votes. Sam Breadon, Wes Ferrell, August “Garry” Herrmann, Marty Marion, Frank McCormick, Chris von der Ahe and Bucky Walters received three or fewer votes each.
“It’s an association that’s hard to crack,” Hall of Fame manager and committee member Bobby Cox said. “They were fully vetted.”
This was the second time the Pre-Integration Committee has met since the Veterans’ Committee was reformatted in 2010 into panels to consider three distinct eras. Former New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, umpire Hank O’Day and barehanded catcher Deacon White were elected in 2012.
In 2011, Chicago Cubs great Ron Santo was elected by the Golden Era panel. Cox and fellow managers Joe Torre and Tony La Russa were unanimously elected two years ago by the Expansion Era committee.
The Expansion Era committee (1973 and later) votes again at the 2016 winter meetings in Washington, D.C.
Despite the two straight shutouts, the Hall is happy with the system.
“We constantly review the way we hold our elections and we still feel very, very confident that reviewing by era is the best way to give the candidates a fair review,” Hall President Jeff Idelson said. “The fact that there is a review. The fact that the candidates are thoroughly vetted — simply upholds the high standards that existed for years for the Hall of Fame.”
The 16-member Pre-Integration Era Committee met Sunday and Monday in Nashville and was comprised of Hall of Famers Bert Blyleven, Cox, Pat Gillick and Phil Niekro; major league executives Chuck Armstrong, Bill DeWitt, Gary Hughes and Tal Smith and media members Steve Hirdt, Peter Morris, Jack O’Connell, Claire Smith, Tim Sullivan, T.R. Sullivan, Gary Thorne and Tim Wendel.
Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines were the top vote-getters to fall short of the 75 percent threshold last year. Steroid-tainted holdovers Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are still on the ballot.
Also, two Hall of Fame award winners will be announced this week. The BBWAA on Tuesday will select the J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner for excellence in baseball writing. Then on Wednesday, the Hall will announce the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award, given for excellence in baseball broadcasting.