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George Steinbrenner, Marvin Miller, nine others on Veteran’s Committee Hall of Fame ballot

Nov 8, 2010, 4:07 PM EDT

George Steinbrenner thumbs up

The Hall of Fame Veteran’s Committee used to consider managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players every couple of years in one big lump.  Last summer they decided to break it up by era, with “Pre-Integration Era” candidates (1871-1946), “Golden Era” candidates (1947-1972) and “Expansion Era” candidates (starting in 1973) getting alternating consideration. They also decided that Expansion Era candidates go first, so they’re up this year, and today they announced the nominees:

Vida Blue
Dave Concepcion
Steve Garvey
Ron Guidry
Tommy John
Al Oliver
Ted Simmons
Rusty Staub
Billy Martin
Pat Gillick
Marvin Miller
George Steinbrenner

The name that will get all the press is Big Stein, and indeed, I think they started out with the Expansion Era specifically so they could vote him in in the year of his death.  As I’ve said before, I think Steinbrenner is a Hall of Famer. Yes, even though he was a sonofabitch. His impact on the game was tremendous, and his success as an owner — both on the baseball and business side of things — was pretty remarkable.  They don’t print money and make championship trophies for you just because you’re based in New York. Ask the Knicks. Ask the Mets.  Steinbrenner may have had some advantages at his disposal, but he exploited them, and it wasn’t easy work.

As for the others, I’m long on record as thinking Marvin Miller should be in the Hall. His impact was greater than Steinbrenner’s. Greater than almost every non-player already inducted. It’s a shame he wasn’t inducted years ago, though I don’t think it will matter. He likely gets snubbed again.

Billy Martin is a close call for me. Hell of a manager, but I can’t escape the notion that — from a purely baseball perspective — he did just as much harm as he did good.  Add in his personal baggage and he’s a tough sell.  I lean yes on some days and no on others.

I’d probably say no on all the players.  Tough call on a couple, but at the end of the day I don’t think Tommy John should get extra credit for having a surgery named after him, nor do I think most of the guys on that last were quite good enough.  Ted Simmons maybe. Crazy underrated. Whether he’s so underrated that we’re all missing a Hall of Famer I’m not sure.  I reserve the right to change my mind on this between now and the voting in December. I’m just riffing here.

About that voting: it will take place at the Winter Meetings next month, with the results announced on December 6th.  I’ll be there, my friends, and if the voting is too off base, rest assured, I’ll give some indignant looks to whatever Veteran’s Committee voters I see.

  1. klbader - Nov 8, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    I think that Steinbrenner and Marvin Miller should go into the hall together. On the one hand, I think it is a disgrace that Miller isn’t in the hall yet. It is hard to think of a more significant non-athlete in any professional sport than him. And wouldn’t it be perfect for the man who fought so hard to allow players to become free agents to be enshrined at the same time as the man who benefited so much from it?

  2. Old Gator - Nov 8, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    The entire veteran’s committee can be stripped naked, slathered with honey and staked out over a fire ant mound for all I care, and the bastards can stay there until they change their eligibility statute of limitations and enshrine Buck O’Neil.A carajo with the miserable lot of them until they do.

    • bh0673 - Nov 9, 2010 at 5:59 AM

      I have to agree with Old Gator, what they did to Buck O’Neil was a disgrace especially when he was slated to speak at the induction ceremony.

      • Old Gator - Nov 9, 2010 at 8:45 AM

        And you can add to that O’Neil’s quiet dignity and grace when his last chance was past and all he had to say was that he loved the game and always would.

        I don’t lay claim to his virtues, so I have no compunction about repeating that the veteran’s committee makes me puke.

  3. Ari Collins - Nov 8, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    Do people prefer to the post-WW2 pre-expansion period as “The Golden Era”? I’ve never heard of it before, but I could’ve missed it. Or is it just that that’s when all the VC members were in the game?

  4. sdelmonte - Nov 8, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    As much as I don’t like seeing owners in the Hall, and as much as I don’t think Billy belongs, the idea of inducting Steinbrenner and Martin on the same day just for the irony is hard to ignore. And given that there is a good chance no players will be voted in, it would be a good year for Yankee Theater to take place and not take anything away from anyone else.

    • bh0673 - Nov 9, 2010 at 6:02 AM

      As far as Martin, his drinking and fighting were a serious blemish on what could have been a great career, but if you look closer at what he was able to do with every team he managed and a lot of the players who became stars under him you realize there is a good case to put him in the Hall.

  5. henryd3rd - Nov 8, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    Look I am a diehard Yankee fan; but I think we should wait at the very least five years before we canonize George. There are many issues associated with George that are very unsavory and I feel we should wait a few years before his name is placed on the HOF ballot

  6. kountryking - Nov 8, 2010 at 9:56 PM

    HOF will not be righteous until Gil Hodges has been chosen. He is unquestionably the most overlooked veteran and the owner of the most votes. Wake up you slugabeds!

    • Kevin S. - Nov 9, 2010 at 12:17 AM

      Unquestionably? I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m not terribly impressed with a 119 OPS+ from a first baseman – given the standard of offense at the position, that’s really not all that remarkable.

  7. BC - Nov 9, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    Couple thoughts:
    How in the heck Marvin Miller is not in the HOF already is beyond me.
    Ted Simmons underrated? Yes. But so are Bill Madlock and Bobby Grich, and they’re not sniffing the HOF any time.
    Why does the “Expansion Era” start in 1973? The biggest expansion was in 1969, right?
    Rusty Staub should not be in.
    I could go either way on Steve Garvey, but I would lean toward no.
    I have to assume the drug issue is keeping Dave Parker and Keith Hernandez off this list?

  8. Detroit Michael - Nov 9, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    I’d vote in Miller, Steinbrenner, Simmons and John. First I’ve got to work on getting appointed to the veterans committee though!

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