The Baseball Hall of Fame has six new members, with Buck O’Neil, Gil Hodges, Minnie Miñoso, Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat and Bud Fowler being elected on Sunday by a pair of committees assigned to review earlier eras of the sport’s history.
The robust group included several people who had been seen as snubs in the past. Of the six, only two, Oliva and Kaat, are still alive.
O’Neil, a founder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, was a star first baseman in the Negro leagues who spent decades around professional baseball as a manager and scout. Miñoso was widely considered baseball’s first Latino star in a career that started in the Negro leagues and continued over several decades with him excelling mostly for the Chicago White Sox.
Hodges was a star first baseman for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, known for his bat and his glove, who led the 1969 Miracle Mets to a World Series title as the team’s manager. Oliva, an outfielder and three-time batting champion, played his entire 15-season career with the Minnesota Twins.
Kaat, a left-handed pitcher, won 283 games and 16 gold gloves ahead of a successful broadcasting career and Fowler, whose career began in the 1870s, was a pioneer in many regards who is considered by many to have been the first Black player to have played organized baseball against white players.
O’Neil, Miñoso and Fowler are the first players who played in the Negro leagues to be inducted since a special committee elected 17 people from those leagues in 2006. While many had pushed for all three to be inducted for decades, a wave of enthusiasm for their candidacies came when Major League Baseball announced last year that it would recognize some of the Negro leagues as having been major leagues.
As opposed to the writers’ ballot, which is being voted on now with results to be announced on Jan. 25, Sunday’s results came from the Early Baseball Era Committee, which was reviewing players from before 1950, and the Golden Days Era Committee, which was reviewing players from 1950 to 1969.
The Golden Days committee elected Miñoso, Hodges, Kaat and Oliva. The Early Days committee elected O’Neil and Fowler.
There were 10 finalists considered by each of the 16-person committees, with a player requiring at least 12 votes to gain induction. Among the prominent players who were reviewed by the committees but not elected were Dick Allen, a slugger for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago White Sox who failed to gain election from the Golden Days committee and Lefty O’Doul, a two-time batting champion who was passed over by the Early Days committee.
The Hall of Fame’s class of 2022, which will include Sunday’s six selections and any players elected on the writers’ ballot, will be inducted in a ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 24.