TERRE HAUTE —
Baseball Hall of Fame electors have bypassed Tommy John again.
The Terre Haute-born pitcher, who won 288 games in 26 big-league seasons, didn’t receive enough votes from the Veterans Committee as it cast ballots on Sunday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings.
The special Hall of Fame committee considered candidates who made their greatest contributions during the Expansion Era — the seasons after 1973. The voters chose a trio of successful managers, Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre. Those long-time skippers rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in all-time victories by managers. Torre managed four World Series champions, LaRussa three and Cox one. Combined, the trio won 7,558 regular-season games and 17 pennants.
They’ll be formally inducted next year on the weekend of July 26 and 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y., site of the fabled shrine.
The Hall of Fame announced the voting results Monday morning.
John, the seventh winningest lefty of all-time, was passed over 15 times in the open Hall of Fame voting before his eligibility for that format expired. In 2010, he made his first appearance on the Veterans Committee ballots — designed to reconsider passed-over candidates and others — but wasn’t chosen as an Expansion Era pitcher.
The Veterans Committee considers eras on a rotating basis and the 2013 vote was John’s next opportunity.
Cox, LaRussa and Torre were unanimous choices by the 16 Veterans Committee voters. Votes for the other candidates, as usual, were not released, but the Hall of Fame disclosed that no others received more than six votes. To earn induction, a candidate needed to appear on at least 12 voters’ ballots. Each voter can list up to five names.
Also skipped by the voters this time were Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, former manager Billy Martin, players Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry and Ted Simmons, and players union pioneer Marvin Miller.
John, now 70 years old, retired in 1989. He’ll be eligible for consideration when the Veterans Committee takes up the Expansion Era candidates again in December 2016. His hometown honored John in October, naming the diamond at Spencer F. Ball Park “Tommy John Field.” That project by the Terre Haute Parks Department included a local petition urging the Hall to induct John.
Mark Bennett can be reached at 812-231-4377 or email@example.com.