On January 29, 1936, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and a special Veterans Committee selected Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson in the first-ever Baseball Hall of Fame elections. The enshrinement of these five greats, however, would have to wait until 1939, since the museum’s construction in Cooperstown had not yet begun.
On January 21, 1953, Cardinals pitcher Dizzy Dean and A’s outfielder Al Simmons were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Notably, Joe DiMaggio, who was in his first year of eligibility, was not elected and would instead have to wait until 1955, his third year on the ballot.
On January 10, 1945, it was announced that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) did not elect any new members for the Hall of Fame that year. The top vote-earners were Frank Chance (72.5%), Rube Waddell (62.3%), and Ed Walsh (55.5%). Though they fell short of the necessary three-fourths of the ballots to be selected, all three would become inductees when chosen by the Veterans’ committee in 1946.
On November 30, 1961, Billy Williams of the Chicago Cubs was selected as the National League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The outfielder hit 25 home runs and drove in 86 runs that year, and was selected on 10 of the 16 ballots cast by the writers. The runner-up in the voting, Braves catcher Joe Torre, received five votes from the writers.
On January 8th, results for 1996 Hall of Fame voting revealed that for the first time since 1971, no one was elected by the BBWAA to enter the Hall of Fame. Phil Niekro came the closest to election with 68 percent of the writers’ votes, falling short of the 75 percent needed to be selected. Niekro was selected for the Hall of Fame the following year.
Roger Angell was born on September 19, 1920 in New York, New York, and he is considered one of the best baseball writers of all time. And while my exposure to Angell’s writing is admittedly limited, I’ve read enough to know that I need to read more. His pieces contain a significant amount of detail and his passion for the game shines through with every line.
Angell has received a number of awards for his writing, including the George Polk Award for Commentary in 1980, the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement in 2005, and the inaugural PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing in 2011. He was inducted into the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals in 2010, and in 2014 he was awarded the J. G. Taylor Spink Award by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Angell.
The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voted, via mail, to select from major league players retired less than 25 years for the Hall of Fame class of 1950. On February 16 of that year, the organization ended up selecting no one for induction. The top vote-getters in the balloting were former Giants Mel Ott (69%) and Bill Terry (63%), however, this fell short of the 75% of the writers’ ballots required for induction. Ott would get elected the following season, and Terry entered the Hall of Fame in 1954.
On November 19, 2001, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) determined in a landslide vote to award the NL Most Valuable Player Award to Giants slugger Barry Bonds. Bonds won 30 of 32 first place votes, winning his fourth career MVP award — the most by any single player to that point. Bonds went on to accumulate a total of seven MVP awards in his career, which remains the most for any given player.
On November 5, 1976, for the second consecutive season (and third ever), Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer won the Cy Young Award. In the voting cast by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), Palmer won 19 of 24 first place votes. That season, Palmer finished with a record of 22-13, a 2.51 ERA, and an average of 4.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
On November 6, 1969, two pitchers tied in the voting for the Cy Young award for the first time in baseball history. Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers finished the season with a 24-9 record and a 2.80 ERA. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles’ Mike Cuellar finished with a 23-11 record and an ERA of 2.38. Both men received ten votes from the BBWAA (Baseball Writer’s Association of America) as being the best pitcher in the American League.