Today's Game Era ballot for Hall ready for vote
Voting for the Today's Game Era ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame -- which was revealed last month -- will take place Sunday at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. The results of the vote will be announced live on Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com.
Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, Davey Johnson, Charlie Manuel, Lou Piniella, Lee Smith and George Steinbrenner are those receiving consideration for the class of 2019. Baines, Belle, Carter, Clark, Hershiser and Smith are included for their contributions as players, while Johnson, Manuel and Piniella are included for their roles as managers. Steinbrenner, who is the only candidate that is no longer living, is nominated for his role as former Yankees owner.
A 16-member Hall of Fame Board-appointed electorate is charged with the review of the Today's Game Era ballot. The Today's Game Era Committee is one of four Eras Committees -- along with Modern Baseball, Golden Days and Early Baseball -- that provide an avenue outside voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America for Hall of Fame consideration to managers, umpires and executives, as well as players retired for more than 15 seasons. Specifically, the Today's Game Committee encompasses candidates who made the most indelible contributions to baseball from 1988 to the present.
The Today's Game ballot, along with Modern Baseball, is considered twice over every five-year period. The last electees from the Today's Game ballot were John Schuerholz, the architect of the '90s Braves, and Bud Selig, the former MLB Commissioner and Brewers owner, in 2016. Last year, Alan Trammell and Jack Morris were elected to the Hall of Fame via the Modern Baseball Era Committee.
Here's a rundown of the 10 Today's Game candidates for 2018:
Baines amassed 2,866 hits, 384 home runs and 1,628 RBIs in a 22-season Major League career that spanned from 1980-2001. After the White Sox drafted him No. 1 overall in 1977, Baines became a star in Chicago. The right fielder and designated hitter earned four of his six career All-Star nods with the White Sox in the 1980s, as well as a Silver Slugger, and twice placed in the top 10 of AL MVP voting.
Belle was one of the most fearsome sluggers of the 1990s. In a four-year run with the Indians from 1993-96, Belle averaged 43 home runs and 126 RBIs, led the league in RBIs in three of those four seasons and finished in the top three of MVP voting three times. In 1995, the left fielder crushed an MLB-best 50 home runs and 52 doubles -- making him the only player in history with a 50-homer, 50-double season -- while leading the Tribe to a World Series appearance. Belle also starred with the White Sox and Orioles -- including a 200-hit, 49-homer, 152-RBI season with Chicago in 1998 -- in his 12-year career.
Carter provided one of the most iconic moments in World Series history -- his series-winning walk-off three-run homer in Game 6 of the 1993 Fall Classic, which gave the Blue Jays back-to-back titles and made Carter the second player ever to end the World Series with a home run. The outfielder was a five-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger with Toronto, and he finished his 16-year career with 396 home runs, 1,445 RBIs and 231 stolen bases.
One of MLB's best first basemen in his prime with the Giants, Clark made five straight All-Star teams in San Francisco from 1988-92. During his eight seasons by the Bay, Clark won two Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove, and had four top-five MVP finishes in five years from 1987-91. Clark was also an All-Star with the Rangers in 1994, his first of five successful seasons in Texas. Clark had a stellar .303 career batting average, .384 on-base percentage and .497 slugging percentage over his 15 big league seasons.
The Dodgers icon pitched 13 of his 18 seasons in Los Angeles, and he led the Dodgers to their most recent World Series championship in 1988. Not only did Hershiser win the NL Cy Young Award in '88 -- he went 23-8 with a 2.26 ERA while leading the league with 267 innings pitched, 15 complete games and eight shutouts -- but he was also the NLCS and World Series MVP. In the Fall Classic against the A's, Hershiser pitched a shutout in Game 2 and a complete game in the clinching Game 5. Hershiser won 204 career games and had a 2.59 ERA in his 22 playoff games.
Johnson led four different teams to the postseason in his 17 years as a big league manager while winning 1,372 games. He famously managed the 1986 Mets to 108 wins and a World Series championship over the Red Sox in one of the most thrilling Fall Classics ever played. Johnson was also a two-time Manager of the Year, winning the award in the AL with the Orioles in 1997 and in the NL with the Nationals in 2012 after leading the Nats to their first playoff appearance since moving to Washington.
Manuel won an even 1,000 games in his 12 years managing the Phillies and Indians. He presided over the Phillies' rise to the top of the NL East in the late 2000s, managing Philadelphia to five straight division championships from 2007-11, a World Series title in 2008 and a second straight NL pennant in '09. Manuel also led the Indians to the AL Central title back in 2001.
Piniella managed the 1990 Reds to the World Series title, the highlight of 23 seasons as a Major League skipper that spanned four different decades. He was a Manager of the Year three times, in 1995 and 2001 with the Mariners and in 2008 with the Cubs. That '01 season in Seattle was the year the Mariners tied the MLB record with 116 regular-season wins. Piniella won 1,835 games as a manager, 16th-most all-time, and led his team to the playoffs seven times.
When Smith retired after 18 seasons, his 478 saves were the most of any pitcher. Smith still ranks third all-time in that category, behind only Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman. Smith was a seven-time All-Star and three-time Rolaids Relief Man Award winner, and he finished in the top five of Cy Young voting three times. He led his league in saves four times, including a career-best 47 in 1991. Smith, Rivera and Hoffman are the only closers in Major League history with at least 10 seasons of 30-plus saves.
Under The Boss' ownership, which lasted 38 years from 1973 until his death in 2010, the Yankees won seven World Series and 11 AL pennants. That encompassed both the Yankees' back-to-back titles in 1977 and '78, and the late-'90s dynasty that brought four championships to New York in five years. Steinbrenner's success in bringing marquee players to New York established the Bronx Bombers' reputation as a big-spending force in free agency.
The Today's Game Era electorate includes Hall of Fame members Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, Pat Gillick, Tony La Russa, Greg Maddux, Joe Morgan, John Schuerholz, Ozzie Smith and Joe Torre; Major League executives Al Avila (Tigers), Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), Andy MacPhail (Phillies) and Jerry Reinsdorf (White Sox); and veteran media members/historians Steve Hirdt, Tim Kurkjian and Claire Smith.
This year's finalists, revealed in November, were selected by the Historical Overview Committee, which is appointed by the BBWAA. Veteran historians took part in determining this year's ballot, including Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, Jim Henneman, formerly of the Baltimore Sun, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Steve Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau, Bill Madden, formerly of the New York Daily News, Jack O'Connell of the BBWAA, Jim Reeves, formerly of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Tracy Ringolsby of Baseball America, Glenn Schwarz, formerly of the San Francisco Chronicle, Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune and Mark Whicker of the Los Angeles News Group.