For Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons, the long wait for a spot in the National Baseball Hall of Fame has come to an end.
Both were elected Sunday to Cooperstown by a veterans committee vote, as they re-examined 10 players on the Modern Era ballot.
Miller is the architect of baseball’s free-agency system, a union leader who brought MLB its first collective bargaining agreement and the leader of the players union from 1966-1982. Miller had been on the ballot seven times before this and never got in, despite endorsements from the likes of Hank Aaron and Bud Selig. Miller, who died in 2012 at age 95, was considered by people close to the game as one of the most deserving people still outside Cooperstown.
Tony Clark, the current head of the players union, said of Miller’s election: “Players are pleased that Marvin will now take his rightful and long overdue place in the Hall of Fame in recognition of the monumental and positive impact he had on our game and our industry.”
Simmons, 70, played 21 seasons, from 1968 to 1988 and was one of the most productive catchers in history, although he was overshadowed by Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk during that era. Simmons ranks second all-time among catchers in RBIs and hits.
He played 13 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he was a six-time All-Star. He had two more All-Star selections as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1981 and 1983. Simmons was on this same ballot in 2017 and missed election by one vote.
This time, Simmons got the highest vote total with 81.3%. Miller finished right at the golden number: 75%. Dwight Evans was the next closest at 50%. He received eight votes and would have needed four more to get in.
Miller and Simmons will be joined by anyone selected on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot, the results of which will be announced next month. Derek Jeter is the only sure thing on that ballot, which also includes carryovers like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Larry Walkers and newcomers like Cliff Lee, Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu and Paul Konerko.
The Hall of Fame veterans committees are traditionally the stingier of the ballots, but they’ve been more generous recently. Last year, Lee Smith and Harold Baines were elected on a committee ballot. The year before that, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were elected by this same committee.
The Modern Era ballot is one of the Hall of Fame’s veteran committees, which in recent years were re-categorized by era and now rotate annually. This vote covered 1970-1987 and also included Dave Parker (43.8%), Steve Garvey (37.5%) and Lou Whitaker (37.5%). Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson, Dale Murphy were all on the ballot but received three or fewer votes.
Each candidate was re-considered by a group of 16 Hall of Famers, executives and veteran media members. A vote was needed on 12 of the 16 ballots (75 percent) to earn election into Cooperstown.
Among the members of the 16-member committee were George Brett, Rod Carew, Dennis Eckersley, Eddie Murray, Ozzie Smith, Robin Yount, Sandy Alderson, Dave Dombrowski, Walt Jocketty, Doug Melvin and Terry Ryan.
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