What if the Hall of Fame held an induction ceremony and no one came? That was painfully close to the truth last July, after the Baseball Writers Assn. of America rejected all the players presented for election.
There were three inductees, selected by a separate committee to represent the pre-integration era, but each of those inductees had been dead for at least 74 years. When induction day arrived, the Hall of Fame generously estimated the crowd at 2,000 -- about one-tenth the usual number.
The crowd should be well above average this year, in part because of the expansion era ballot announced Monday. The nominees include Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox, and Joe Torre -- the men who rank third, fourth, and fifth, respectively, on the list of all-time managerial victories.
No manager with at least 2,000 victories has been denied induction into the Hall of Fame. La Russa won 2,728 games with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals. Cox won 2,504 games with the Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays. Torre won 2,326 games for the Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Yankees and Mets.
The expansion era ballot also includes the late union leader Marvin Miller, the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, and former players Steve Garvey, Tommy John and Dave Parker. The winners will be selected by a committee appointed by the Hall of Fame and announced Dec. 9.
The players on the BBWAA ballot for the first time include Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. The BBWAA election results will be announced Jan. 8.
In a nutshell: There will not be another Hall of Fame shutout this year.
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