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Wednesday, March 2, 2005
No new Hall of Famers from Veterans Committee

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Gil Hodges, Ron Santo and everyone else on the ballot fell short Wednesday as once again the baseball Veterans Committee failed to elect anyone to the Hall of Fame.

Hodges and Santo came the closest with 65 percent -- 75 percent was needed for induction -- each falling eight votes shy. Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat were the only other players to be picked on more than half of the 80 ballots.

In 2003, the redesigned committee also pitched a shutout. There will not be another election until 2007, when managers, umpires and executives are due to be considered.

"We feel the current process works by upholding the Hall of Fame's very high standards for election,'' Hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark said.

The current 83-member committee includes the 60 living Hall of Famers plus eight members of the writers' wing, 14 members of the broadcasters' wing and one member of the old Veterans Committee. All but three turned in their paper ballots this year.

Thus far, the revised committee has not developed a consensus around any candidate, leaving it unclear whether anyone will be elected in the future.

"I'm of the opinion it's going to be awfully hard, and maybe that's how it should be,'' Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver said.

Hodges, the former Brooklyn first baseman and New York Mets manager, fell 11 votes short in 2003, when 61 votes were needed for election. Santo was 15 votes shy that year.

Minnesota hitting star Tony Oliva was third among the 25 players on the ballot this year with 45 votes, a drop of three. Jim Kaat, on the Veterans ballot for the first time, got 43 votes. New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, a former NL MVP, was fifth with 36 votes, an increase of seven.

Maury Wills was next with 26, followed by Vada Pinson (23), Luis Tiant (20) and Roger Maris (19).

Thurman Munson and old-time pitcher Smoky Joe Wood each received only two votes.

The old Veterans Committee, which met annually, had 15 members in most years and was criticized for cronyism. The Hall changed the system after Bill Mazeroski, a career .260 hitter with a great glove, was elected in 2001.