Bronx, NY—Three former Yankee hurlers, Jim Kaat, Allie Reynolds and Luis Tiant were among the 10 baseball greats listed on the inaugural Golden Era ballot, that was promulgated by the BBWAA appointed Historical Overview Committee and announced to the public on November 3. A 16 member electorate will vote on the candidates on December 5. Any one candidate named on at least 12 of the ballots will be inducted into the Baseball HOF as a member of the Class of 2012.
Each of the 10 named for the ballot is worthy of HOF consideration. The repeated rejection of some such as Gil Hodges and Ron Santo has caused great anger among the supporters of each. All of the others on the ballot-Buzzie Bavasi, Ken Boyer, Charlie Finley, Minnie Miñoso and Tony Oliva have large numbers of backers.
Allie Reynolds signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1939 and came up to the majors in 1942. The Native American pitched for the Tribe in his first five seasons in the big leagues. He was traded to the Yanks after the 1946 season for second baseman Joe Gordon, now in the Hall of Fame.
Reynolds made an important contribution to the Yanks in his eight years with club. He won at least 15 contests in each of his first six seasons with New York. In addition to becoming one of the Big 3 starters with Ed Lopat and Vic Raschi, manager Casey Stengel was able to rely on Reynolds in the bullpen as well as in the starting rotation. The versatile hurler was elected to the American League All-Star team six times.
Reynolds was especially effective in the crucial games of the World Series. In 15 games of the Fall Classic, Reynolds went 7-2 with four saves. The Yankees were victorious in all the six World Series in which Reynolds was a member of the team.
Reynolds retired after the 1954 season because of a serious back injury that he suffered in the summer of 1953 when the team bus had an accident in Philadelphia. He died in 1994.
Jim Kaat and Luis Tiant had lengthy and very successful careers in the majors. Interestingly, they were teammates on the Yankees in 1979 and 1980, the only two years either wore the New York pinstripes. Both are personable and good humored and thus are greeted warmly at any appearances they make in the metropolitan area. Kaat’s popularity among Yankees fans was augmented by the years he spent in the Yankee broadcast booth.
Each was a 20 game winner three times in their long careers. Tiant achieved a 229-172 mark with a 3.30 ERA in 19 seasons. He still remembered gratefully in Boston for his success in the memorable 1975 World Series, when he won two games and the Babe Ruth Award. Kaat notched 283 victories and 237 losses with a 3.45 Era in 25 years across four decades. Kitty was agile as a cat. He was probably the greatest fielding pitcher ever, the winner of 16 straight Gold Gloves. Their baseball contact was not limited to their times in New York as they were teammates on Minnesota in 1970.
Tiant, a native of Cuba, is a second generation pitching great. His father, Luis, was a star hurler in his native land and in the Negro League. The younger Tiant began his career as a pitcher ion Cuba and Mexico before playing in the majors.
On the same night that the list was released to the public, Kaat was being honored by the MLBPAA with the Lifetime achievement Award. In September, at a conference sponsored by the Cuban Cultural Center at the Fordham University Law School, Cincinnati Reds first sacker Tany (Tony) Pérez, a previous Hall of Fame inductee said of the two on the Golden Era ballot (Tiant and Miñoso), “There are people here today who should be in the Hall of Fame.” His remarks were greeted with cheers from the audience of knowledgeable baseball enthusiasts.