Baseball fans can expect a surprise package when the Committee on Veterans meets in Tampa, Fla., next Wednesday to elect two men to the shrine in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Three of the four men chosen in the 1983 and 1984 elections were big surprises and Ed Stack, president of the Hall of Fame, says the results of the deliberations by the 18 members of the committee "really are not predictable."
"I've been surprised the last two years," he said, referring to the elections of A.B. (Happy) Chandler and Travis Jackson in 1983 and Peewee Reese and Rick Ferrell in 1984. "I've attended over 20 of the sessions and it's impossible to predict the direction the talks will take."
Nonetheless, outsiders agree on a "working list" of about 15 names, including 13 players and two club owners, that should receive prolonged consideration. The committee can name no more than two men, one of whom must be a player. The other can be a second player or come from a list which includes executives, umpires and stars of the old Negro Leagues.
The announcement of the committee's selections is expected at about 9 a.m. PST, Wednesday.
Heading the list of players under consideration appear to be Arky Vaughan, a star shortstop and .318 hitter during a career spent mostly with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1931 to 1948; Ernie Lombardi, two-time National League batting champion in a career mostly with the Cincinnati Reds from 1931 to 1947, and Babe Herman, a famous member of the "Daffy Dodgers" of Brooklyn in the 1930s who had a .324 lifetime batting average.
Other players include Enos Slaughter, former St. Louis Cardinal star; Charlie Grimm, ex-Chicago Cub player and manager who 50 years ago led the Cubs to a National League pennant on the strength of a season-ending 21-game winning streak; former New York Yankee infielders Phil Rizzuto and Tony Lazzeri; former Detroit Tiger pitcher Hal Newhouser and ex-Boston Red Sox second baseman Bobby Doerr.