Dec. 6, 2018 (UPI) — Six Negro Leagues legends, Buck O’Neil and Minnie Minoso were elected to the 2022 class of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame president Josh Rawitch announced the news.
Rawitch announced the election results Sunday on MLB Network. Gil Hodges and Tony Oliva were also elected. Jim Kaat was also elected. Kaat and Oliva will be the only remaining members of the class. They will be enshrined July 24, in Cooperstown (N.Y.).
Oliva said that being able to receive the call at 83 was a great feeling. It also means a lot to me to be alive to say thank-you to you,” MLB Network.
On the same day, additional Hall of Fame members will be inducted through the ballot of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Kaat stated that he didn’t believe this day would come. It’s more of a gift for me. I am so grateful to the men I played against and with that I believe the Hall of Fame rewards durability and dependability as well as dominance.
Fowler O’Neil, Minoso and O’Neil are the first to be inducted into the Hall of Fame according to new rules that honor Negro Leagues contributions. MLB announced in December that it would reclassify Negro Leagues into a major league and add the statistics of approximately 3,400 players to the record book.
The Golden Days Era Committee elected Oliva, Kaat and Minoso Hodges. The committee considered a 10-person vote of players whose primary contributions were from 1950 to 1969.
Fowler, O’Neil and others were elected by the Early Baseball Era Committee. This committee considered a 10-person ballot that included candidates whose primary contributions date before 1950.
Sunday was the meeting of the committees in Orlando.
“Buck O’Neil, a great baseball player and one of the greatest human beings ever to walk the earth, is a remarkable man.”
O’Neil, an All-Star firstbaseman in the Negro Leagues, went on to become the first Black MLB coach. He was a Negro American League batting champ twice as a player.
He led the Kansas City Monarchs’ four Negro American League championships as a manager. As a player, he never made it to the Major Leagues but he joined the Chicago Cubs coaching staff as a coach in 1962.
O’Neil was also the founder and chairman of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. At 94, he died.
Minoso was also a two-time All-Star for the Negro Leagues. Minoso, a left fielder and third baseman, went on to be a seven-time All-Star with the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians. Minoso was the first Black player in White Sox’s history, in 1951.
Havana’s native, the “Cuban Comet”, hit over.300 eight more times and led the American League with stolen bases three times. He won three Gold Gloves in right field.
Minoso was 89 when he died.
Fowler is a former pitcher and second-baseman who is widely recognized as the first Black professional baseball athlete. Fowler played for many teams in the late 1800s. He also helped to form the Page Fence Giants in 1894, a legendary Black barnstorming team.
He died at the age of 54 in 1913.
Hodges was an All-Star eight times and a three-time Gold Glove Award recipient. Hodges was a former first baseman who spent 18 seasons with both the Los Angeles Dodgers (and New York Mets) combined. He was awarded three Gold Glove Awards as well as two World Series titles. He had 370 career home runs before he retired in 1963.
Hodges led the New York Mets to their 1969 World Series championship. When he died at 47 from a heart attack, he was still the Mets manager.
Over a 25-season MLB season, Kaat pitched for six MLB teams. He was a three-time All-Star and 16-time Gold Glove Award recipient. He also played for the 1982 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. His career record was 3.45 ERA with a 283-237 record.
After his retirement, Kaat was a broadcaster. After his retirement, he worked as an analyst at MLB Network and New York Yankees.
Oliva, a three-time American League batsman champion, played for the Minnesota Twins between 1962 and 1976. Over his 15-year career, Oliva hit.304 and had 220 home runs.
Twins CEO Dave St. Peter released a statement saying that the Pohlad family, and all Minnesota Twins organizations, would like to congratulate Tony Oliva (and Jim Kaat) on their long-awaited nomination to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“From his remarkable on-field career to his broadcast booth and in the hearts and minds of fans all over the region, Tony O represents what it means to be a Minnesota Twin. He has been the greatest ambassador for the organization since his arrival to the upper Midwest.
The same goes for ‘Kitty’ [Kaat], who has had an indelible effect on our organization, our fans, and his 15-year tenure with the Twins/Senators team to his time in broadcasting.
Dick Allen, the long-serving first baseman of the Philadelphia Phillies, was one vote shy of being elected into the Hall of Fame. The 1964 National League Rookie-of-the-Year was a seven-time All-Star, and the 1972 American League MVP.
Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, first-time Hall of Fame nominees, join Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling in voting for the ballot of the Baseball Writers Association of America. The results of the ballot’s voting will be announced on Jan. 25.