Manager Herzog a Hall of Famer
INDIANAPOLIS -- Manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey got the call Monday, elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.
Rob Neyer's SweetSpot
It's more fun to elect someone than not, but pardon Rob Neyer if he's not leading three cheers for the Hall of Fame's Veterans Committee(s). Blog
Herzog and Harvey missed by one vote in their previous tries. This time, they easily drew enough support to reach Cooperstown.
"Well, it took a little," Herzog said at Busch Stadium. "I don't think I would've had my heart broken if I'd missed by another vote or two. But I'm damn happy it's over."
Among those who came close this year was former players' union head Marvin Miller. He was on a separate slate for executives and officials, and fell two votes short.
"Very few individuals have had as significant or as positive an impact upon the history of baseball as Marvin," union head Michael Weiner said in a statement. "The Hall remains incomplete without Marvin's plaque."
Herzog was a fixture in major league dugouts for two decades. He won the 1982 World Series and three NL pennants with the St. Louis Cardinals and three division titles with Kansas City. He became the 19th manager to make the hall.
"I think he was one of the guys who started managers looking at doing more creative things," said Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith, one of Herzog's star players.
Smith was a late addition to the 16-member panel that considered managers and umpires. Candidates needed 12 votes (75 percent) to make it, and Herzog got 14 in voting Sunday at baseball's winter meetings. Results were announced Monday, and the 78-year-old Herzog was told he was in.
It was somewhat strange that Herzog was elected along with an umpire. In 1985, a missed call by ump Don Denkinger in Game 6 of the World Series damaged the Cardinals' chances of winning another championship.
"No, I'm not bitter at Denkinger," Herzog said. "He's a good guy, he knows he made a mistake, and he's a human being. It happened at an inopportune time but I do think they ought to have instant replay in the playoffs and World Series."
Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog drew his nickname because of his light blonde hair while playing minor league ball. He wasn't much of a major league outfielder, but made his mark with the Runnin' Redbirds.
Herzog started managing in 1973 with Texas and compiled a .532 career winning percentage.
"He gave his entire life to the game," said Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda, another Veterans panel member. "When he didn't make it last year, I was very, very down. This year, everyone understood he belonged there."
Herzog missed by one vote in 2007. He will be enshrined with Harvey at the induction ceremonies on July 25.
"I don't know why he should get in," Herzog joshed. "Doug kicked me out of more games than any other umpire."
Harvey umpired in the National League for 31 seasons before retiring in 1992. He worked five World Series and six All-Star Games, and handled more than 4,600 games overall.
The 79-year-old Harvey also came close two years ago. He was picked on 15 of 16 ballots this time, and became the ninth umpire in the Hall.
"Ten years into my career, my late father said to me that one day I would realize what I have achieved. When I woke up this morning and I received the call from Cooperstown, I realized for the first time exactly what that means," Harvey said in a statement.
"I accept this election ... on behalf of all umpires from the minor leagues to the major leagues and for those who umpire at every level," he said.
Harvey has been in frail health since being diagnosed with oral cancer in 1997. He often chewed a wad of tobacco while on the field.
Harvey was distinguished by his shock of silver hair, and players often called him "God" in tribute to his work. He helped bring a new style to umpiring, too. Rather than make emphatic, instant calls, as was the norm when he began in 1962, he would take a split second to get a clear picture of the play in his mind.
"He had the players' respect. He had the pitchers' respect -- most of the time," Lasorda said.
"Sometime you see umpires and you say that guy's not giving his best, he's getting lackadaisical. Not him," he said. "He would listen to you and he would admit when he made a mistake. A lot of guys want you to come out so they can give you the heave-ho."
Managers Billy Martin, Gene Mauch, Davey Johnson and Tom Kelly were among the other managers on the ballot. Danny Murtaugh, who guided Pittsburgh to a pair of World Series titles, and umpire Hank O'Day each received eight votes, four shy of election.
A separate 12-person committee that reviewed 10 executives didn't elect anyone. John Fetzer, who owned the Detroit Tigers from 1956 to '83, got eight votes and fell one vote short.
The 92-year-old Miller, who became head of the players' association in 1966 and built the union into a powerful force, drew seven votes. Jacob Ruppert, who owned the Yankees when they acquired Babe Ruth, also drew seven.
"I agree with the process, but I don't agree with the result regarding Marvin," Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. Seaver is a member of the 12-man panel voting for executives and officials and voted for Miller.
"I think we probably have to have a couple more players [on the panel] to have a balance in that meeting," Seaver said. "That's the thing I'm going to suggest. This is not about your feeling on Marvin Miller. This is about the history of the game of baseball. It's a no-brainer for me."
Miller came aboard the MLBPA at a time when players had no labor rights and the minimum salary was $6,000. He helped do away with the reserve clause and saw the advent of the collective bargaining agreement in 1968 and then free agency.
With each passing failure to gain election to the Hall of Fame, Miller urged the Veterans Committee to remove his name from the ballot two years ago.
"I said it in the meeting," Seaver told Crasnick. "He is on a par with Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson in terms of his impact on the game of baseball. He is right there."
Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez and Barry Larkin are eligible for the first time in Hall voting now under way by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. They join carryover candidates Mark McGwire, Andre Dawson and Bert Blyleven, with results to be announced Jan. 6.
The next Veterans Committee vote for players is in 2010. Joe Gordon was elected last year.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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