OK, so you have probably heard — there are 12 finalists on what the Baseball Hall of Fame is calling the Expansion Era Ballot. These are players, managers and executives who contributed during what the Hall (naturally) calls the Expansion Era — from 1973 to the present. Only problem is, that’s not really the Expansion Era. There was no expansion in 1973. There was expansion in 1969, of course, and expansion in 1961 and 1962. There was even expansion in 1977.
What happened in 1973? Oh yeah: They should instead call it the “Designated Hitter Era.”
Anyway, there will be a 16-member panel that will vote on the players — 75% (12 out of 16) are needed for Hall of Fame induction. It’s a good panel with Hall of Famers (Rod Carew, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Herzog, Tommy Lasorda, Joe Morgan, Paul Molitor, Phil Niekro, Frank Robinson), a few executives (Blue Jays president Paul Beeston, former Orioles president Andy MacPhail, Phillies president and CEO David Montgomery, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf) and writers who have closely observed the game (Elias’ Steve Hirdt, San Francisco Chronicle’s Bruce Jenkins, BBWAA secretary/treasurer Jack O’Connell and longtime Fort Worth Star Telegram writer Jim Reeves).
Quickly, the 12 people on the ballot are:
Players (6): Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry, Ted Simmons.
Managers (4): Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, Billy Martin, Joe Torre.
Executives (2): George Steinbrenner and Marvin Miller.
And so, because I’m crazy, I’m going to go through the 12 candidates one at a time (well, I’m going to do the managers all at once and maybe the executives too).
And I’ll start with the man whose appearance on this ballot makes me what to cry with happiness, an old friend, Dan Quisenberry.