Baseball Hall of Fame balloting, 1996

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L-R: Earl Weaver, Jim Bunning, and Ned Hanlon were inducted in 1996 along with Bill Foster.

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1996 followed the system in use since 1995. The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players but no one tallied the necessary 75% support.

The BBWAA had petitioned the Hall of Fame Board of Directors on January 5, 1995, to reconsider the eligibility of Larry Bowa, Bill Madlock, Al Oliver and Ted Simmons, each of whom had failed to receive at least 5% of ballots cast in each of their first years of eligibility (Bowa and Oliver in 1991, Maddlock in 1993 and Simmons in 1994). The Board approved, but before the ballot was released, the BBWAA decided not to include them on the ballot after all.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions and selected four people from multiple classified ballots: Jim Bunning, Bill Foster, Ned Hanlon, and Earl Weaver.

The BBWAA election[edit]

The BBWAA was authorized to elect players active in 1976 or later, but not after 1990; the ballot included candidates from the 1995 ballot who received at least 5% of the vote but were not elected, along with selected players, chosen by a screening committee, whose last appearance was in 1990. All 10-year members of the BBWAA were eligible to vote.

Voters were instructed to cast votes for up to 10 candidates; any candidate receiving votes on at least 75% of the ballots would be honored with induction to the Hall. The ballot consisted of 35 players; 470 ballots were cast, with 353 votes required for election. A total of 2,687 individual votes were cast, an average of 5.72 per ballot.Those candidates receiving less than 5% of the vote (24 votes) will not appear on future BBWAA ballots, but may eventually be considered by the Veterans Committee.

Candidates who were eligible for the first time are indicated here with a †. Candidates who have since been selected in subsequent elections are indicated in italics. The ten candidates who received less than 5% of the vote, thus becoming ineligible for future BBWAA consideration, are indicated with a *.

Vada Pinson, Curt Flood, and Tony Oliva were all on the ballot for the 15th and final time.

Key to colors
     Players who were elected in future elections. These individuals are also indicated in plain italics.
     Players not yet elected who returned on the 1997 ballot.
     Eliminated from future BBWAA voting. These individuals remain eligible for future Veterans Committee consideration.
Player Votes Percent
Phil Niekro 321 68.3
Tony Pérez 309 65.7
Don Sutton 300 63.8
Steve Garvey 175 37.2
Ron Santo 174 37.0
Tony Oliva 170 36.2
Jim Rice 166 35.3
Bruce Sutter 137 29.1
Tommy John 102 21.7
Jim Kaat 91 19.4
Dick Allen 89 18.9
Curt Flood 71 15.1
Luis Tiant 64 13.6
Dave Concepción 63 13.4
Minnie Miñoso 62 13.2
Vada Pinson 51 10.9
Joe Torre 50 10.6
Ron Guidry 37 7.9
Graig Nettles 37 7.9
Bob Boone 36 7.7
Mickey Lolich 33 7.0
Fred Lynn 26 5.5
Bobby Bonds 24 5.1
Keith Hernandez 24 5.1
Rusty Staub 24 5.1
Dan Quisenberry* 18 3.8
Frank White* 18 3.8
Bill Buckner* 10 2.1
Jerry Reuss* 2 0.4
John Tudor* 2 0.4
Chet Lemon* 1 0.2
Bob Knepper* 0 0.0
Jeffrey Leonard* 0 0.0
Johnny Ray* 0 0.0
Claudell Washington* 0 0.0

The newly-eligible players included 20 All-Stars, eight of whom were not included on the ballot, representing a total of 51 All-Star selections. Among the new candidates were 9-time All-Star Fred Lynn and 5-time All-Star Keith Hernandez. The field included two MVPs, Hernandez and Lynn, who was the first player ever to win an MVP in the same year as winning Rookie of the Year.

Players eligible for the first time who were not included on the ballot were: Don Aase, Doug Bair, Thad Bosley, Tom Brookens, Ernie Camacho, Mark Clear, Dave Collins, Jody Davis, Richard Dotson, Jim Dwyer, Terry Francona, Mickey Hatcher, Rick Leach, Larry McWilliams, Greg Minton, Paul Mirabella, Tom Niedenfuer, Dickie Noles, Mike Norris, Ron Oester, Ken Phelps, Joe Price, Domingo Ramos, Ed Romero, Wayne Tolleson, Alex Trevino, Ozzie Virgil, Jr., and Gary Ward.

The Veterans Committee[edit]

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to elect as many as two executives, managers, umpires, and older major league players—the categories considered in all its meetings since 1953. By an arrangement since 1995 it separately considered candidates from the Negro Leagues and from the 19th century with authority to select one from each of those two special ballots.

The committee elected four people again, the maximum number permitted: pitcher Jim Bunning from the 1960s, manager Earl Weaver from the 1970s, pitcher Bill Foster from the Negro Leagues, and manager Ned Hanlon from the 19th century .

J.G. Taylor Spink Award[edit]

Joe Durso received the J. G. Taylor Spink Award honoring a baseball writer. (The award was voted at the December 1995 meeting of the BBWAA, dated 1995, and included in the summer 1996 ceremonies.)

Ford C. Frick Award[edit]

Herb Carneal received the Ford C. Frick Award honoring a baseball broadcaster.

External links[edit]