As much as it might feel like it, the baseball world has not completely shut down. While the thrilling rush of free-agent signings and trades from the past few days will cease for now because of the lockout, there is a lot of baseball business still to be conducted.
One of the more important items came Sunday, when the biggest void in the membership of the Baseball of Hall Fame was filled: The omission of White Sox legend Saturnino Orestes Armas (Arrieta) Minoso, remembered by history as Minnie.
Minnie Minoso was one of 20 greats who under consideration at the winter meetings this weekend for induction to the Hall of Fame. (And, yes, the winter meetings will go on even without the presence of Major League Baseball. The minor league portion of the meetings will still take place, and those appointed to consider the Hall’s two era-committee ballots convened, as scheduled.)
The results are as follows:
• Bud Fowler and Buck O’Neil were elected by the Early Baseball committee (which covers the beginning of time to 1950). Bill Dahlen, John Donaldson, Vic Harris, Grant “Home Run” Johnson, Lefty O’Doul, Dick “Cannonball” Redding, Allie Reynolds and George “Tubby” Scales did not receive the necessary votes.
• Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minoso and Tony Oliva were elected by the Golden Days Era Committee (which covers 1950 to 1969). Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Roger Maris, Danny Murtaugh, Billy Pierce and Maury Wills did not receive the necessary votes.
This is a big weekend for the Hall, which is hoping that 2022 will bring with it the full Hall of Fame induction experience, including the annual Parade of Legends, the induction ceremony itself and the scores of fans who make their way to Cooperstown, New York, each July. After the festivities were canceled because of the pandemic in 2020, 2021 saw a scaled-down version in September in which Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and the late Marvin Miller were inducted without parades and with smaller crowds than otherwise would have flocked to upstate New York, particularly for Jeter.
The thing is, Induction Weekend is a heck of a lot more fun — and a bigger draw — when there are actual inductees. And there is no guarantee that this year’s BBWAA ballot will produce any new Hall of Famers.
Sadly, of this group of 20, the only candidates still living are Kaat, Oliva and Wills, so it’s great that Kaat and Olivia both got in. We’ll get to that, but for now I want to really focus on Minoso, the most egregious omission in the Hall’s plaque room, at least among those not still on the BBWAA ballot.