Walled-off Hall: Morgan thinks voting changes may lead to more Hall of Famers Print
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Friday, 03 August 2007 11:34
MLB Headline News

 PITTSBURGH (AP) -Joe Morgan thinks it should be more difficult to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame than in the hall of any sport. Maybe just not this difficult.
When the Veterans Committee votes in 2003, 2005 and this year didn't yield any Hall of Famers in addition to those chosen by baseball writers, Morgan welcomed the second overhaul to the selection process since 2001.
Morgan, a Hall of Fame reformist when he campaigned six years ago to prevent any marginal players from being enshrined, is surprised and disappointed no veteran player has been elected since Pirates infielder Bill Mazeroski in 2001. He suspects that may soon change.
Instead of voting upon a crowded pool of 50 previously rejected players, a new Veterans Committee comprised of the 63 living Hall of Famers will choose from only 10 candidates who emerge from two rounds of screening.
``It doesn't mean anybody is going to get in, but, in my opinion, it gives a better chance to get it right,'' Morgan, the vice chairman of the Hall of Fame's board of directors, said Friday.
The Veterans Committee weighs the fate of players not selected by Baseball Writers Association of America members during a maximum of 15 years of eligibility. The committee, once made up of 15 former players, executives and writers, was expanded sixfold in 2001 to include all living Hall of Famers, plus winners of the Frick award for broadcasting and the Spinks award for baseball writing.
That revamping was made after eight consecutive Veterans Committee votes yielded a Hall of Famer, and some members felt too many borderline players were getting in. Mazeroski, for example, drew minimal support for induction until Joe L. Brown, his one-time boss as the Pirates' general manager, became the veterans committee chairman.
However, the 2001 changes meant the 80 or more Veterans Committee voters were given a long ballot, a system former Twins outfielder Tony Oliva said made it almost impossible for someone to receive the necessary 75 percent support.
Now, the latest reform enacted last weekend before Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn were enshrined in Cooperstown means only former players will pass fate on those players not elected by the writers. The Veterans Committee will vote every other year beginning in 2009.
Baseball executives, managers and umpires will be considered every two years by a 16-member committee made up of players, writers, executives and historians.
``I believe there are some guys out there who belong, but obviously some other players don't agree with me,'' said Morgan, a Hall of Fame second base and two-time NL MVP for the Reds in 1975 and 1976 said. ``So I can't say they're wrong and I'm right, it's just my feeling there's some guys out there.''
Morgan identified former baseball union chief Marvin Miller as among those who should be inducted, but he didn't identify the former players he thinks should be inducted.
``I vote for those players every year and I certainly hope they will be elected to the Hall of Fame,'' Morgan said. ``But we're not supposed to add people just for the sake of adding.''
Because only players will be voting upon players, Morgan is certain that election to Cooperstown will remain very difficult.
``The Baseball Hall of Fame is the greatest Hall of Fame of all of them. Football, they have to put a certain number in there every year, basketball is similar,'' Morgan said. ``Baseball is the only sport where you have to earn your way into the Hall of Fame. You really have to earn it.
``That's not to say other players in other sports aren't hall of famers, but it is to say that baseball's Hall of Fame is the special hall of fame,'' he said.
 

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