The Expansion Era Committee has elected one new member to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and it’s not George Steinbrenner.
Pat Gillick, the longtime general manager, was the only person on the ballot to receive the necessary 12 votes. He got 13. Next closest was Marvin Miller who fell one vote shy. The only other name receiving as many as eight votes was Dave Concepcion.
Ted Simmons, Vida Blue, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Billy Martin, Al Oliver, Rusty Staub and Steinbrenner each received votes from less than half of the committee.
UPDATE, 11:01 a.m.: Tom Verducci, who was on the committee, said the election process was very private. The committee itself didn’t know who had been elected until this morning. They went through the ballot, one name at a time, and debated each candidate. Then each member filled out a ballot and left the room.
“I really didn’t have a feeling one way or the other about anybody,” Verducci said. “I guess that means the vote totals for me – not just for Steinbrenner, but for a few guys – were surprising, because there’s so much back-and-forth that you don’t really know where the votes lie. It wouldn’t have surprised me if he got in, and I guess it’s a little bit surprising that he didn’t get in.”
Although this was not the first year Steinbrenner was eligible, Johnny Bench said there was a sense that it was too soon to elect him.
“Some people thought it was too early,” Bench said. “… He will be (elected). I believe he certainly will be.”