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January 17, 2013

Baseball Hall of Fame backs up writers' vote


With Yankees Gehrig and Ruppert, and New York native White, Horn said he hopes for a strong local turnout for the ceremony.

“We certainly have a favorable regional slant this year,” he said. “I think that we also have good inductees. Jacob Ruppert built Yankee Stadium and bought Babe Ruth’s contract. Hank O’Day umpired 10 World Series, which is still a record, and was one of the foremost arbiters in the National League. Deacon White was a 19th-century player who played every position and caught barehanded as a catcher.

“Our challenge is to pull it together,” he said.

As for the writer’s voting, Horn said he does not see the lack of inductees as protest by the writers because of the steroid issue, or as a catastrophe for Cooperstown or the Hall, but more like a statistical variance. This is the eighth time that no one was voted for induction by the writers; the last time it happened was 1996. But it has only happened twice in four decades.

“The understanding is that to earn election to the Hall of Fame is very difficult,” Horn said. “To earn 75 percent of the vote is meant to be hard. Part of the process is 600 ballots went out, and 569 were returned and only five were turned in blank. For the most part, a lot of guys got votes and are in the 15-year process of being reviewed.”

Horn said he believes Craig Biggio, Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines are all in good position to be inducted soon. Biggio led all nominees of this year’s ballot with 68.2 percent, missing by 39 votes. Morris, who will be on his 15th and final ballot next year, had 67.7 percent of the vote.

Horn said the Hall is aware that there could be a larger than average induction in the next year or two. In addition to Biggio and Morris, next year’s ballot has Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas for the first time. Plus the veteran’s committee for 2014 is the Expansion Era, meaning Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and George Steinbrenner will be on the veteran’s ballot.

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