November 21, 2005
November 21, 2005
Final Ballots Announced for Negro leagues and Pre-Negro Leagues Candidates. 39 candidates to be voted upon in February for Hall of Fame election.
The screening committee was chaired by Fay Vincent, Major League Baseball's eighth commissioner and an Honorary Director of the Hall of Fame. Vincent, the non-voting chairman, led discussions with committee members.
During two days of deliberations at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, the committee selected 39 candidates for review by the voting committee: 30 on a ballot of former Negro leagues players, managers and executives, and nine on a second ballot of pre-Negro leagues pioneer players and builders. Any candidate to receive votes on 75% of ballots cast will earn election. Every candidate will be voted upon individually.
"I'm very satisfied with the work done by the screening committee," said Vincent. "The committee members had some difficult choices to make, but because they are extremely knowledgeable, had strong research at their disposal and spent a great deal of time reviewing all candidates thoroughly, they did a tremendous job. The final ballots represent players, managers, executives and builders who are top-tier candidates and worthy of review for consideration for election to the Hall of Fame."
Written recommendations from fans, historians and Hall of Fame members were accepted and reviewed by the screening committee. The list was pared down and as a result, the screening committee began with a roster of 94 candidates (see chart below).
A separate 12-member voting committee, appointed by the Board of Directors and inclusive of the screening committee, will meet February 25-27 to review the final ballots of candidates. After two days of discussion, committee members will cast paper ballots and vote "yes" or "no" for each candidate. Any candidate with "yes" votes on at least 75% of ballots cast will earn election to the Hall of Fame. The 12 voting committee members and their areas of expertise in African-American baseball history include:
Todd Bolton, Latin America
Major League Baseball provided the Hall of Fame with a $250,000 grant in July 2000 in order to initiate a comprehensive study on the history of African Americans in Baseball, from 1860-1960. The funds were to allow the Museum to expand the scope and depth of its knowledge and historical collection on this aspect of baseball and American culture.
In February 2001, the Board selected "The Negro Leagues Researchers/Authors Group" research team, led by Dr. Hogan of Union County College (NJ), Dick Clark, and Larry Lester, to conduct the comprehensive study. The three historians led a diverse group of more than 50 other authors, researcher and historians in this first-of-its-kind academic study.
The research resulted in a raw narrative and bibliography of nearly 800 pages and a statistical database, which includes 3,000 day-by-day records, league leaders and all-time leaders. The research was culled from box scores from 128 newspapers of sanctioned league games played from 1920-54.
With the research now complete, the study includes sanctioned league game box scores from almost 100% of games played in the 1920s, in excess of 90% of the box scores from games played in the 1930s and box scores from 50-70% of games played in the 1940s and 50s, during which time the various leagues began to disband and newspapers ceased to report game information. The end result is the most comprehensive compilation of statistics on the Negro leagues that have ever been accumulated.
National Geographic, in conjunction with the Hall of Fame, will published a book called Shades of Glory, in February, using material from the research study. This definitive, detailed, richly illustrated book will not only cover the game as it developed on the field, but it will also provide a review of how baseball played an important role within the black community, particularly during the days of segregation.
The announcement of the ballots is the first public step toward honoring the great African-American players who were denied the opportunity to compete in the major leagues. In April of 2006, the Museum will unveil the new Pride and Passion, an expanded exhibit honoring this aspect of baseball history. By that time, fans will know more about many forgotten ballplayers who are now up for Hall of Fame consideration.
"The election guidelines allow for worthy candidates to have a chance at election in February 2006," Petroskey said, "and this step produced two excellent ballots for the voting committee to consider."