LAS VEGAS -- The Hall of Fame Veterans' Committee pitched another shutout in reviewing candidates who played in the post-World War II era, failing to cast the requisite number of votes for, among others, Ron Santo, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Gil Hodges and Joe Torre.
One man screened by the committee reviewing players whose careers started before 1943, however, made the cut: Former Yankees and Cleveland infielder Joe Gordon becomes the first member of the Hall's Class of 2008. Election results were announced Monday morning at baseball's winter meetings.
The power-hitting Gordon, who played second base between 1938 and 1950 except for two seasons lost to World War II (1944 and 1945), batted .268 lifetime with 253 home runs. He was the 1942 AL MVP and a nine-time All-Star. He played on six World Series teams, five of whom won the championship.
As for Santo, whose near-misses over the years have been agonizing, he received 39 votes (60.9 percent) from the 64 living Hall of Fames, each of whom cast their ballots. A total of 75 percent is needed to induction into the Hall.
The current Hall of Famers are proving to be a tough crowd, pitching shutout after shutout in Veterans' Committee elections. However, it isn't as if they're not voting or casting blank ballots: All 64 living Hall of Famers voted and, according to Hall President Jeff Idelson, they cast an average of 3.33 votes per ballot. They were allowed to vote for between zero and four players.
Asked whether the current Hall of Famers simply don't consider anybody else worthy, Joe Morgan, vice-chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, said he doesn't think that's the case.
"There are new people on the ballot each year, new people added," Morgan said. "Sometimes, maybe, they might take away from votes cast somewhere else. I can't speak for everyone but, speaking personally, I feel some guys out there belong in the Hall of Fame. I think all of the players do.
"The problem is, we can't find 75 percent who agree that one guy is a Hall of Famer, or that guy is a Hall of Famer."