With 2019 just around the corner, Cooperstown is preparing for another historic summer. And the latest candidates for induction will soon learn if they are headed to the Hall of Fame.
Six former big league players, three managers and one executive comprise the 10-name Today’s Game Era ballot to be reviewed and voted upon Dec. 9 at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. The 16-member Today’s Game Era Committee will consider only candidates on the ballot, and any candidate receiving votes on at least 75 percent of all ballots cast will earn induction into the Hall of Fame.
Results of the voting will be announced live on MLB Network on Sunday, Dec. 9 during MLB Tonight at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Any living electees are expected to be available to media shortly after the announcement via individual conference calls.
Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, Davey Johnson, Charlie Manuel, Lou Piniella, Lee Smith and George Steinbrenner were named on Nov. 5 as the candidates for Today’s Game Era Committee consideration for the Class of 2019. All candidates are former players except for managers Johnson, Manuel and Piniella and former Yankees owner Steinbrenner. All candidates except Steinbrenner are living.
Any candidates elected will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 21, 2019, along with any electees who emerge from the 2019 Baseball Writers’ Association of America election, which will be announced on Jan. 22, 2019, exclusively on MLB Network.
The 16-member Hall of Fame Board-appointed electorate charged with the review of the Today’s Game Era features Hall of Fame members Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, Pat Gillick, Tony La Russa, Greg Maddux, Joe Morgan, John Schuerholz, Ozzie Smith and Joe Torre; major league executives Al Avila (Tigers), Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), Andy MacPhail (Phillies) and Jerry Reinsdorf (White Sox); and veteran media members/historians Steve Hirdt, Tim Kurkjian and Claire Smith.
The 10 Today’s Game Era finalists were selected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America-appointed Historical Overview Committee from all eligible candidates among Managers, Umpires, Executives and Long-Retired Players whose most significant career impact was realized from 1988 through the present. Eligible candidates include: Players who played in at least 10 major league seasons; Managers, Umpires and Executives with 10 or more years in baseball – all of whom must not be on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list.
The Historical Overview Committee, which determined the Modern Baseball Era ballot this fall, is comprised of 11 veteran historians: Bob Elliott (Canadian Baseball Network); Jim Henneman (formerly Baltimore Sun); Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch); Steve Hirdt (Elias Sports Bureau); Bill Madden (formerly New York Daily News); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA); Jim Reeves (formerly Fort Worth Star-Telegram); Tracy Ringolsby (Baseball America); Glenn Schwarz (formerly San Francisco Chronicle); Dave van Dyck (formerly Chicago Tribune); and Mark Whicker (Los Angeles News Group).
The 10 candidates for Today’s Game Era consideration for the Class of 2019:
• Harold Baines played 22 seasons for the White Sox, Rangers, Athletics, Orioles and Indians, totaling 2,866 hits and 1,628 RBI, an RBI total exceeded by only 33 players in history. A six-time All-Star as an outfielder and DH, Baines was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1977 MLB Draft and was a two-time winner of the Designated Hitter of the Year Award, now named the Edgar Martinez Award.
• Albert Belle was a five-time All-Star outfielder and five-time Silver Slugger Award winner in his 12 MLB seasons for the Indians, White Sox and Orioles in a career cut short by a hip injury. He drove in 100-or-more runs nine times, including three seasons when he led the AL, and led the league in total bases three times. In 1995, Belle became the only player in MLB history to post at least 50 doubles and 50 home runs in the same season.
• Joe Carter played 16 seasons for the Cubs, Indians, Padres, Blue Jays, Orioles and Giants, earning five All-Star Game selections and two Silver Slugger Awards as an outfielder. Finishing in the Top 10 of his league’s Most Valuable Player Award voting four times, Carter totaled at least 100 RBI in 10 seasons, a mark met or surpassed by only 17 other players in history. Batting third or fourth for the Blue Jays teams that won back-to-back World Series titles in 1992-93, Carter’s walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 1993 Fall Classic marked only the second time in history a World Series ended on a home run.
• Will Clark played 15 years for the Giants, Rangers, Orioles and Cardinals, winning two Silver Slugger Awards and a Gold Glove Award at first base. A six-time All-Star, Clark compiled a .303 batting average while driving in 100-or-more runs four times and finishing in the Top 10 of his league’s MVP voting four times. He was named the 1989 NLCS MVP after hitting .650 with two homers and eight RBI for the Giants against the Cubs.
• Orel Hershiser pitched 18 seasons for the Dodgers, Indians, Giants and Mets. A three-time All-Star, Hershiser won the 1988 National League Cy Young Award and pitched the Dodgers to the World Series title that fall. The owner of 204 regular season wins, Hershiser was 8-3 with a 2.59 ERA in 22 Postseason games, winning series MVP honors in the 1988 NLCS and World Series as well as the 1995 ALCS.
• Davey Johnson managed 17 seasons for the Mets, Reds, Orioles, Dodgers and Nationals, posting 1,372 wins. His .562 winning percentage ranks 12th all-time among managers with at least 10 years of service. A 13-year veteran player whose 42 home runs as a second baseman in 1973 still stands as the big league record, Johnson led the 1986 Mets to the World Series title and led his teams to the playoffs in five other seasons. He was named his league’s Manager of the Year in both 1997 and 2012.
• Charlie Manuel managed for 12 seasons with the Indians and Phillies, winning 1,000 games. Manuel managed the Indians to the American League Central title in 2001 and the Phillies to National League East titles in five straight years from 2007-11, winning NL pennants in 2008 and 2009 and the World Series in 2008. In his 10 full seasons as a manager, Manuel led his team to a first or second place finish nine times. His .548 career winning percentage ranks 16th all-time among managers with at least 1,000 victories.
• Lou Piniella managed 23 seasons for the Yankees, Reds, Mariners, Rays and Cubs, winning 1,835 games – good for 16th on the all-time list. Piniella skippered the Reds to the 1990 World Series title and led the 2001 Mariners to an American League record 116 victories. Piniella guided his clubs to seven Postseason appearances and was named Manager of the Year in his league three times (1995, 2001, 2008) following an 18-year playing career that saw him hit .291 and take home World Series rings with the 1977-78 Yankees.
• Lee Smith pitched 18 seasons for the Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, Yankees, Orioles, Angels, Reds and Expos. The all-time saves leader at the time of his retirement with 478, Smith was a seven-time All-Star who led his league in saves four times and topped the 30-save mark in 11 seasons. Smith finished in the Top 5 of his league’s Cy Young Award voting three times and won the Rolaids Relief Man Award three times as his league’s top reliever. Smith held the all-time saves record for 13 years before Trevor Hoffman eclipsed it in 2006, and his 478 saves now rank third all-time behind Mariano Rivera and Hoffman.
• George Steinbrenner purchased the New York Yankees in 1973 and oversaw the team’s path to seven World Series titles before his passing in 2010. An early adopter in baseball’s free agency era of the 1970s, Steinbrenner’s Yankees compiled a winning percentage of .565 and totaled 11 American League pennants in his 37 full years as the team’s owner.
More information is available by visiting baseballhall.org/todays-game-era-ballot-2019.
About the Era Committees
The Era Committees consist of four different electorates: Today’s Game (for candidates whose greatest contributions to baseball were realized from 1988 to the present); Modern Baseball (for candidates whose greatest contributions to baseball were realized from 1970 to 1987); Golden Days (for candidates whose greatest contributions to baseball were realized from 1950 to 1969); and Early Baseball (for candidates whose greatest contributions to baseball were realized prior to 1950).
The Today’s Game and Modern Baseball eras will be considered twice each in a five-year period, with the Golden Days era considered once every five years and the Early Baseball era considered once every 10 years. The Today’s Game era was considered in the fall of 2016, with John Schuerholz and Bud Selig earning Hall of Fame election. The Modern Baseball era was considered in the fall of 2017, with Jack Morris and Alan Trammell earning Hall of Fame election.
Eras considered for yearly induction over the next decade are as follows: 2019 – Today’s Game; 2020 – Modern Baseball; 2021 – Both Golden Days and Early Baseball; 2022 – Today’s Game; 2023 – Modern Baseball; 2024 – Today’s Game; 2025 – Modern Baseball; 2026 – Golden Days. The Early Baseball era returns for induction consideration in 2031.
Both the ballot and electorate are created anew with each cycle for consideration.
The four separate electorates consider by era a single composite ballot of managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players. Candidates remain eligible in perpetuity through the Era Committee process.