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Garvey, John not selected for Hall of Fame

@kengurnick
December 8, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Steve Garvey and Tommy John, Dodgers teammates whose careers made them household names, failed to receive enough votes from the Hall of Fame’s 2020 Modern Baseball Era Committee on Sunday. Former MLBPA director Marvin Miller and Cardinals, Braves and Brewers catcher Ted Simmons were selected for induction

LOS ANGELES -- Steve Garvey and Tommy John, Dodgers teammates whose careers made them household names, failed to receive enough votes from the Hall of Fame’s 2020 Modern Baseball Era Committee on Sunday.

Former MLBPA director Marvin Miller and Cardinals, Braves and Brewers catcher Ted Simmons were selected for induction by the committee from a ballot of 10. Twelve votes from the 16-member committee were needed; Garvey received six votes, with John one of four players who received three or fewer votes.

Garvey was a 10-time All-Star, a Most Valuable Player, a four-time Gold Glove winner, a two-time All-Star Game MVP and a two-time MVP of the National League Championship Series. In 15 years on the Baseball Writers' Association of America Hall of Fame ballot from 1993-2007, Garvey received a high of 42.6% of the vote and a low of 20.5%, never seriously approaching the 75% threshold for election.

No Dodger excelled in the limelight better than Garvey. He went to the World Series four times with the Dodgers (winning in 1981) and once with the Padres. At one time he held the NLCS record for home runs and RBIs. He hit .356 in 90 NLCS at-bats, .319 in 113 World Series at-bats and .393 in 28 All-Star Game at-bats. His postseason OPS was .910.

Garvey was an ironman: Over his 19 Major League seasons he set the NL record for playing in 1,207 consecutive games. And he was a hitting machine who led the NL in base hits twice. He hit .300 seven times when that really meant something and had 20 or more home runs six times, 100 or more RBIs five times and 30 or more doubles seven times.

Now 70 and a cancer survivor, Garvey has been bypassed four times by the Veterans/Modern Era committees.

John also lasted the maximum 15 years on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot (peaking at 31.7% in his final year of consideration in 2009) before falling short in successive attempts in front of Veterans Committee electorates for the Classes of 2011, ’14 and ’18.

The Hall did honor John alongside Dr. Frank Jobe, the surgeon who performed the eponymous “Tommy John” surgery by repairing John’s torn elbow ligament and extending the hurler’s career, during its annual awards ceremony in ’13.

In his second season back from the operating table, John won 20 games with a 2.78 ERA and finished runner-up to Steve Carlton in the 1977 NL Cy Young Award vote. The lefty then logged three more top-10 Cy Young Award finishes in as many years, first with the Dodgers in ’78 and then with the Yankees in ’79 and ’80, while going 80-35 with a 3.12 ERA overall in that four-year stretch. The Dodgers and Yankees squared off in three out of five World Series from ’77-81, and John pitched in all three of those Fall Classics.

John retired with 288 career victories. Only six pitchers -- Carlton, Don Sutton, Phil Niekro, Tom Seaver, Gaylord Perry and Nolan Ryan -- won more games than John during the span of his career (1963-89), and all of them are in the Hall. So too are four of the next six pitchers behind him on that list: Fergie Jenkins (284), Bert Blyleven (271), Jim Palmer (268) and Catfish Hunter (224). Roger Clemens (354) is the only modern-era pitcher with more wins than John who is not enshrined in Cooperstown.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.