23 Names on Hall of Fame Ballot

Just 23 players are on the ballot, the smallest group ever. Holdovers include Harold Baines, Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson. Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Lee Smith and Alan Trammell. Career steals leader Rickey Henderson, who played for the Dodgers in 2003, heads 10 first-time candidates on this year's Hall of Fame ballot

. Other Dodgers players on the ballot include Tommy John (1972-1978), Jesse Orosco (1988, 2001-2001) and Dodgers batting coach Don Mattingly. Stretching things a bit, the grandson of Brooklyn outfielder Bert Griffith (1922-1923), Matt  Williams, is also on the ballot.

 2008 HALL OF FAME BALLOT
• Harold Baines
• Jay Bell
• Bert Blyleven
• David Cone
• Andre Dawson
• Ron Gant
• Mark Grace
• Rickey Henderson
• Tommy John
• Don Mattingly
• Mark McGwire
• Jack Morris
• Dale Murphy
• Jesse Orosco
• Dave Parker
• Dan Plesac
• Tim Raines
• Jim Rice?
 •Lee Smith
• Alan Trammell
• Greg Vaughn
• Mo Vaughn
• Matt Williams
Jim Rice received 392 votes (72.2 percent) in 2008, 16 short of the 75 percent needed.

Reporters who have been in the BBWAA for 10 or more consecutive years are eligible to vote, and the totals will be announced Jan. 12. Inductions, which will include anyone elected by the Veterans Committee, are scheduled for July 26 at Cooperstown, N.Y. The Veterans Committee vote will be announced Dec. 8.

The last voting by the Veterans Committee for the National Baseball Hall of Fame resulted in another shutout as none of the candidates on the players or composite ballots received the 75 percent plurality required for election.

The former Cubs third baseman received the most votes on the players ballot with 57 (69.5 percent), followed by former pitcher Jim Kaat with 52 (63.4), former Brooklyn Dodgers first baseman Gil Hodges with 50 (61.0) and former Twins outfielder Tony Oliva with 47 (57.3), the only players to be named on half of the 82 of 84 ballots cast with 62 votes needed for 75 percent.

Santo and Hodges were also the leading vote getters in 2005 with 52 apiece, or 65 percent. In 2003, Hodges was first with 50 votes (61.7) and Santo third with 46 (56.8).

In 2007, shortstop Maury Wills received 33 votes (40.2%), Joe Torre 26 votes (31.7%), and Don Newcombe 17 votes (20.7%).

The committee, which is comprised of living Hall of Famers, Ford C. Frick Award winners for broadcasting and J.G. Taylor Spink Award winners for writing totaling 84 voters, has not elected anyone since the current process went into effect in 2003. This was the third players' ballot, which is voted on every other year, and the second composite ballot of executives, managers and umpires, which is voted on every four years.

The Veterans Committee vote capped the Hall of Fame's election season and finalized the Class of 2007. Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn, elected by the baseball writers in January, will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 29. They will be joined by Spink Award winner Rick Hummel and Frick Award recipient Denny Matthews.

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