The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced 10 candidates under consideration for induction as part of the 2020 Modern Baseball Era ballot: Dwight Evans, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Marvin Miller, Thurman Munson, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons and Lou Whitaker.
“Modern Baseball” is one of four rotating eras considered by the Hall of Fame’s Veterans Committee that evaluates candidates whose primary contributions to baseball came between 1970-87. This year’s ballot was compiled by 11 veteran baseball historians, and a 16-member electorate will vote on this year’s candidates and announce potential electees on Dec. 8 at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. Candidates must receive votes from at least 75 percent of the ballots to gain election to the Hall.
Evans is a significant figure in Red Sox history, made three American League All-Star teams and won eight AL Gold Glove Awards and two AL Silver Slugger Awards in right field. He finished his 19-year career with a .370 OBP, 2,446 hits, 1,470 runs, 1,391 walks and 1,384 RBIs. Evans fell off the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) ballot in 1999 after three attempts, cresting at 10.4 percent of the vote in ’98. Red Sox ace David Price switched his uniform number from 24 to 10 prior to the 2019 season out of respect for Evans’ tenure with Boston.
Garvey ranked among the game’s best first baseman during his 19-year career with the Dodgers and Padres, finishing with 2,599 hits, 272 home runs, 1,308 RBIs and 10 National League All-Star team selections. He also earned numerous accolades including the 1974 NL Most Valuable Player Award, two NL Championship Series MVP Awards, two All-Star Game MVP Awards, four NL Gold Glove Awards and the ’81 Roberto Clemente Award. Garvey logged an NL-record 1,207 consecutive games at first base from '75-83, and he led the Senior Circuit in hits in ’78 and ’80. He expired from BBWAA consideration after lasting the maximum 15 years on the ballot, peaking with 42.6 percent of the vote in ’95. Garvey was also on the Modern Baseball Era ballot in 2017, but he received less than 50 percent of the vote.
John logged 26 seasons in the big leagues, and he won 288 combined games for the Indians, White Sox, Dodgers, Yankees, Angels and A’s. He remains prominent today for the eponymous groundbreaking elbow surgery he received in 1974 that extended his career for another 15 years. A four-time All-Star, John tallied 20-plus wins in three seasons and helped the Dodgers and Yankees claim pennants in ’77, ’78 and ’81, respectively. John lasted the maximum 15 years on the BBWAA ballot, cresting at 31.7 percent of the vote in his final year in 2009. He earned less than 50 percent of the vote on the last Modern Baseball Era ballot in ’17.
Mattingly, the Marlins’ manager, ascended to captain of the Yankees and was a beloved star during his 14-year career in the Bronx. He claimed the 1985 AL MVP Award, earned nine AL Gold Glove Awards and three AL Silver Slugger awards at first base and was named to six straight AL All-Star teams from 1984-89 before injuries began to take their toll in the latter half of his career. Mattingly also won the AL batting title in ’84 and paced the Junior Circuit in hits in ’84 and ’86. A .307 hitter lifetime, Mattingly fell off the BBWAA ballot in 2015 after lasting the maximum 15 years, and he enjoyed his strongest showing when he debuted with 28.2 percent of the vote in ’01. He fell shy of 50 percent on the last Modern Baseball Era ballot in ’17.
Miller is known as one of the most prominent figures in sports labor history after securing free agency for players and ridding them of the former reserve clause system in the mid-1970s. The Hall notes that the average player salary increased by roughly tenfold under his tenure as head of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966-82. Miller earned seven of the 12 votes (43.8 percent) needed for election during the last Modern Baseball Era ballot in 2017.
Munson, like Mattingly, was a beloved captain of the Yankees as they returned to prominence in the late 1970s. The fiery catcher earned both the AL Rookie of the Year Award (1970) and the AL MVP Award (’76) during his 11 big league seasons, and he was named to the AL All-Star team seven times while also capturing three AL Gold Glove Awards behind the plate. Munson helped lead the pinstripes to back-to-back World Series championships in ’77 and ’78 before tragically passing away in a plane crash in the summer of ’79. The BBWAA waived the typical five-year waiting period and placed Munson on the ballot in ’81, and he crested at 15.5 percent of the vote before eventually falling off the ballot in ’95. Munson also fell short of election on three Veterans Committee ballots between 2003-07.
Murphy was a back-to-back NL MVP Award winner with the Braves in 1982 and ’83, and he finished his 18-year career with 398 home runs and 1,266 RBIs. He was named to seven NL All-Star teams, and he claimed five NL Gold Glove Awards and four NL Silver Slugger Awards in center field for Atlanta. Murphy debuted on the BBWAA ballot in ’99 and crested with 23.2 percent of the vote the following year before falling off after a maximum 15-year stay in ’13. He earned less than 50 percent of the vote the last time the Modern Baseball Era committee voted in ’17.
Parker combined a powerful bat at the plate with a powerful arm in right field over 19 years with the Pirates, Reds, A’s, Brewers, Angels and Blue Jays. He finished with 339 homers, 1,493 RBIs and two NL batting titles in 1977 and ’78, winning the league’s MVP Award in the latter year. Parker helped lead the “We Are Family” Pirates to their World Series championship in ’79 before helping the A’s win it all 10 years later. Parker lasted the maximum 15 years on the BBWAA ballot before falling off in 2011, cresting at 24.5 percent in 1998. He also fell short of 50 percent on the Modern Baseball Era ballot in 2017.
Simmons fell just one vote shy of election when the Modern Baseball Era committee voted two years ago. The catcher hit .285 and tallied 2,472 hits, 483 doubles, 248 homers and 1,389 RBIs over 21 seasons with the Cardinals, Brewers and Braves, and he helped Milwaukee reach the World Series in 1982. Simmons was an eight-time All-Star, and he captured his lone NL Silver Slugger Award after batting .303 and knocking 21 homers for St. Louis in ’80. He lasted just one year on the BBWAA ballot after netting 3.7 percent of the vote in ’94.
Whitaker formed one of baseball’s most famous double-play combinations alongside 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Alan Trammell in Detroit from 1977-95. The ’78 AL Rookie of the Year Award winner compiled 2,369 hits, 244 homers and 1,197 walks while earning five AL All-Star team nods, four AL Silver Slugger Awards and three AL Gold Glove Awards at second base -- the position that he manned in every game in which he appeared in the field (he also logged 32 career games as a designated hitter). Additionally, Whitaker was a key member of the Tigers' most recent World Series championship team in '84. He fell off the BBWAA ballot after earning 2.9 percent of the vote in his 2001 debut, and he was not on the ballot when the Modern Baseball Era committee voted two years ago.