George Steinbrenner doesn't make Hall
ORLANDO -- The Boss is a legendary New York Yankees icon, but he is not yet a Hall of Famer.
The Baseball Hall of Fame announced Monday that Steinbrenner failed to receive 75 percent of the vote from the Expansion Era Committee. Steinbrenner will not be eligible to get in until 2013, when the Expansion Era Committee votes again.
While Steinbrenner did not make it, longtime baseball executive Pat Gillick, who was Steinbrenner's scouting director in the mid-1970s, did.
Former Yankees manager Billy Martin and ex-Yanks left-handers Ron Guidry and Tommy John also were denied entry to the Hall.
The 16-member committee that decided on Steinbrenner's fate included seven Hall of Fame plays (no Yankees), one manager (Whitey Herzog), four major league executives and three writers. To gain entrance, Steinbrenner needed 12 votes.
Gillick received 13 votes, while former Players Association leader, Marvin Miller, came one shy with 11. Steinbrenner was among a group that received fewer than eight votes. Former Yankee manager Martin also picked up fewer than eight.
Johnny Bench, one of the committee members, believes that Steinbrenner's time will come.
"I think he certainly will be [a Hall of Famer]," Bench said.
The committee does not reveal their individual votes. The voting took place after a three-hour meeting in which all the candidates are discussed. The voting was done privately.
"Some people thought it was too early [for Steinbrenner to be voted in]," Bench said.
Of the members who spoke, there was a feeling that the whole view of Steinbrenner must be taken into account, not just the championship years that came later in his career, where he seemed to tone down his approach.
"He was combative," Bench said. "He was ruthless. I think too often we saw the tirades or we heard about the tirades and the firings and all the stuff."
Steinbrenner, who died in July at age 80, led the Yankees to seven World Championships and 11 pennants.
From the time he bought the Yankees in 1973 for around $10 million, the franchise has become arguably the most valuable asset in American sports. Some analysts believe it is worth more than $1 billion.
He also started the YES Network, which is an offshoot of the Yankees, and is thought be worth even more than the team.
Besides an intimidating, bombastic personality that made him very unpopular in the 1980s, Steinbrenner was a convicted felon, having made illegal contributions to Richard Nixon's 1972 presidential campaign. He was later pardoned by President Ronald Reagan in 1989. He also was suspended from baseball after becoming involved with a known gambler in an effort to dig up dirt on one of his own players, Dave Winfield.
Ultimately, if Steinbrenner gets in, it will because of his famous -- sometimes infamous -- competitive drive.
"He was a guy who wanted to win," said Eddie Murray, who was also on the committee. "He was a guy who pretty much was put your money where your mouth was. He was trying to get it done and you can't fault a guy for that. He built up that mystique where you wanted to go there, you wanted to play."
Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub were also eligible.
Gllick's Hall of Fame induction will be July 24 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.
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