Former teammates Dave
Winfield and Kirby
Puckett earned the necessary number of votes and will be immortalized
in Cooperstown, New York in the annual Baseball Hall of Fame induction
ceremony in July.
Both players were expected to make it and each made it into the 80%
range (75% is required - see results below). Some
say that Kirby Puckett, who was forced to retire from baseball at age
34 in 1996 after being diagnosed with glaucoma, did not play long enough
to warrant consideration, but he only received 12 less votes than
Winfield, who few would deny achieved greatness over a long period.
Puckett, one of the few modern day stars to play his entire career with
one team, told the Associated Press, ""From Babe Ruth to Hank
Aaron, you name it. It's just unbelievable being in the company of those
guys." He becomes the third youngest elected to the Hall of Fame with
Koufax (37) and Lou
Gerhig (36) ahead of him.
Winfield played for several teams and will have to decide which hat he
wants to be on his plaque. Mr. May, as Winfield was derisively called by
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, played alongside Puckett in Minnesota
in 1993 and 1994 and the pair become only the fourth set of teammates
inducted in the same year. Carlton
Fisk and Tony
Perez were the most recent only last year.
Of those not elected, Gary
Carter had his strongest showing yet leapfrogging over Jim
Rice (who also gained votes over 2000) for third place. Relievers
continued to get no respect; only Hoyt
Wilhelm and Rollie
Fingers are represented in Cooperstown. Bruce
Sutter and Goose
Gossage each gained about 10% more votes but are far enough down the
list to make this writer wonder what it will take to get two of the top
firemen of all time in.
...and getting closer!
of Minnesota athlete and new baseball Hall
of Famer Dave Winfield was drafted
by the Minnesota Vikings, the Utah
Stars of the ABA, the Atlanta Hawks, and
the San Diego Padres! Gary Carter
continues to gain support but finished
Note: Those with less than 5% of
the vote were ineligible for future elections by the BBWAA and could only
be elected by the Veteran's Committee. Source: National Baseball Hall of Fame. Special thanks to Keith
Hemmelman for compiling the data.
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