Baseball Hall opens doors

BOB ELLIOTT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- The ballot didn't change.

The electorate did.

The Baseball Hall of Fame new veteran's committees added five members to Cooperstown yesterday.

Dick Williams, who managed the triple-A Toronto Maple Leafs to consecutive Governors' Cup titles in 1965-66 on his way to managing 21 seasons in the majors is the only inductee still living.

The others: Walter O'Malley, one-time Dodgers owner who brought expansion to the west coast.

Billy Southworth. Won two World Series while managing the St. Louis Cardinals.

Barney Dreyfuss. Owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates who created the World Series in 1903 by playing against the American League.

And former commissioner Bowie Kuhn. While Kuhn may belong, his chief protagonist, Players Association founder Marvin Miller received only three votes.

That's dead wrong.

Alan Eagleson was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame ... for a time.

"I think it was rigged, but not to keep me out," Miller told The Associated Press. "It was rigged to bring people in. It's not a pretty picture."

Even commissioner Bud Selig expressed surprise that Miller did not receive more support. Miller won free agency by taking management to court on the behalf of players Andy Messersmith, Dave McNally and Curt Flood.

Under Miller, the average salary climbed from $19,000 to $241,000. His efforts put in place the salary arbitration process.

"Over the entire scope of the last half of the 20th century no individual had as much influence on the game as Marvin," current union boss Don Fehr said. "Because he was the players' voice, Marvin was the owners' adversary. This time, a majority of those voting were owner representatives."

The 12-man electorate consisted of Hall of Famers Monte Irvin and Harmon Killebrew, plus seven baseball executives and three veteran writers.

In the previous vote, Miller received 63% of the vote -- failing to reach the required 75% -- and 25% yesterday, while Kuhn jumped from 17% to 83%.

The revamped veteran's voting on umps and managers saw former Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey each miss by a vote.

The voting system for managers, umpires and executives was taken away from the living Hall of Fame players when they didn't elect anyone for three elections over a six-year period.

The rationale was a player never would vote for an umpire who missed a strike, an executive who traded him or a manager who pinch-hit for him in a tie game.

"I never pitched for Dick, but I was in the other dugout plenty of the time," said voter Fergie Jenkins, the only Canuck who gets mail at Cooperstown. "Dick was a Hall of Fame manager. I voted for Gene Mauch and Harvey too ... they just fell short.

"Dick was a very smart manager, he managed a lot of my contemporaries."

Williams took three different teams to the Series: Losing with the Boston Red Sox in 1967, winning with the Oakland A's in 1972-73 and losing with the San Diego Padres in 1984. He also managed the Montreal Expos for six seasons.

"Under the (voting) regime they had previously, I didn't think anybody would get there," Williams said.

Williams was the first manager we ever dealt with on a daily basis. We'll never forget Bill Gullickson throwing at the head of Mike Jorgensen July 4 weekend, 1980.

Jorgensen accused the rookie of a bean-ball attack. Gullickson said he threw at Jorgensen. We asked Williams a question and used the term "bean ball." Williams exploded.

The next day at Shea was a new day. He put the rookie mistake -- mine, not Gullickson's -- behind us.

Williams, along with Miller, belong in the Hall of Fame.


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