Mock vote chooses four

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2007

AHOSKIE – Hall of Fame balloting has been a key issue in Major League Baseball.

With a large group of baseball player eligible for this year’s ballot, there has been discussions ranging from steroid use to the role of relievers in baseball as the national pastime awaits a decision from the Baseball Writer’s of America as to who will be enshrined in Cooperstown.

With that in mind, a panel of local sports media took the ballot in hand and marked selections as to who they believed should be in baseball’s Hall of Fame.

The panel included six members of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald staff including Publisher Jeff Findley, Editor Cal Bryant, Advertising Manager Sidney Joyner, Sports Editor Thadd White, Staff Writer Curly Morris and Senior Sports Writer Billy Harrell. Joining the group was “Talkin’ Sports” host Gattis Hodges.

It takes 75 percent of the ballots being cast to enshrine someone into the Hall. With that in mind, it would take 5.25 votes for our poll. That number was rounded to five votes of the seven to be eligible.

According to the poll of voters, only four men would make their way to Cooperstown of the more than 30 names on the official ballot.

Two of the potential Hall of Fame candidates were named on all seven ballots. They were San Diego Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn and Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr.

Gwynn hit .338 with 3,141 hits and five gold gloves while Ripken hit .276 with 3,184 hits and 431 home runs as well as 1,695 RBIs.

New York Yankee first baseman Don Mattingly was named on six of the seven ballots missing out only on Hodges’ ballot for the Hall. He hit .307 with 2,153 hits and 222 homeruns to go along with nine gold gloves and one MVP award.

The final name that would be enshrined by local vote would be Yankee reliever Rich “Goose” Gossage. The Yankee reliever had a 3.00 ERA with 310 saves and a 124-107 record. Gossage missed two ballots, not being named by Findley or Hodges.

The first name that came up short on the Hall of Fame ballot was that of Andre Dawson. The former Cub and Blue Jay was named on four of the seven ballots after a career that saw him hit .279 with 438 homeruns and 2,774 hits. Dawson failed to be named by White, Hodges or Joyner.

Coming up next was Boston Red Sox outfield Jim Rice, who was named on three ballots. Rice hit .298 in his career with 2,452 hits and 382 homeruns. He was named MVP one time.

Rice received votes from White, Harrell and Hodges.

Seven different players received multiple votes for the Hall of Fame by the panel of voters. That group included pitchers Bert Blyleven, Brett Saberhagen and Lee Smith along with first basemen Steve Garvey and Mark McGuire and outfielders Dave Parker and Dale Murphy.

Receiving at least one vote for the Hall were Designated Hitter Harold Baines, shortstop Dave Conception, pitcher Tommy John and outfielders Jose Canseco and Paul O’Neill.