Gordon elected to Hall

Updated: December 9, 2008, 9:41 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Joe Gordon joined former teammates Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Bob Feller in the Hall of Fame.

For the likes of Joe Torre, Jim Kaat and Ron Santo, it was another shutout.

Gordon was elected Monday by a 12-member Veterans Committee composed of Hall members and historians that studied pre-1943 players. A nine-time All-Star, the late second baseman won five World Series titles with the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians.

"As a young man in Cleveland, I remember what a spectacular ballplayer Joe Gordon was," Yankees chairman George Steinbrenner said in a statement. "He was a great second baseman, a great Yankee and an inspiration to millions of Americans for many years. The Yankees are proud of his election."

Another panel made up of the living 64 Hall of Famers didn't come close to picking anyone who started after World War II. Santo fell short, followed by Kaat, Tony Oliva, Gil Hodges and Torre.

Joe Gordon
Icon SMIJoe Gordon was a nine-time All-Star who played on five World Series championship teams before retiring in 1950.

This marked the fourth straight time that nobody was chosen from the newer group.

"It's not our job to vote someone in," Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams said by phone from Las Vegas, where the results were announced at baseball's winter meetings. "It's our job to consider the candidates.

"I thought Kaat would get in. I voted for him. And I think Joe Torre will, too, when he's done managing," he said. "I missed quite a few times before I got in. I know what that's like."

It took 75 percent -- 48 votes -- for election and Santo did the best with 39. The former Chicago Cubs slugger led Kaat (38), Oliva (33), Hodges (28) and Torre (19).

All 64 Hall voters sent a ballot. They were allowed to pick four players, and they listed an average of 3.3 names.

"We just didn't have them lined up, I guess," Williams said.

Rickey Henderson is the leading candidate in the upcoming Hall election by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Results will be announced Jan. 12.

Induction ceremonies are July 26 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Gordon got 10 votes, one more than needed. He began his career in 1938 with a championship Yankees team that included future Hall members DiMaggio, Gehrig, Bill Dickey, Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez.

"Flash" Gordon played in 1948 with the last Indians team to win the World Series. He finished in 1950 alongside future Hall of Famers Larry Doby, Lou Boudreau, Bob Lemon, Early Wynn and Feller.

Gordon was the 1942 AL MVP, beating out Triple Crown winner Ted Williams, and hit .268 overall with 253 home runs and 975 RBIs, big power numbers for second basemen in that era. He died in 1978.

"To me, he was a major Hall of Famer," Feller said by telephone from Las Vegas. "He'll probably go in as a Yankee because that's where he had most of his success. But he did well for us in Cleveland.

"He was a wild swinger at the plate, a free swinger with power," he said. "He was an acrobat around the bag, he was all over the place in the field."

Pitcher Allie Reynolds, traded from Cleveland to the Yankees for Gordon after the 1946 season, fell one vote short of election.

The Veterans Committee format has been changed twice since 2001, when charges of cronyism followed the election of Bill Mazeroski. The 15-member panel was broadened to include every living Hall member, but it didn't pick anyone in three elections.

"When our board of directors restructured the Veterans Committee after the 2007 election, it did so with the goal of ensuring the voters the living Hall of Famers would review their peers," Hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark said Monday. "The process was not redesigned with the goal of necessarily electing someone."

The veterans panels will next vote on players in 2010. Managers, umpires and executives will be considered in 2009.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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