COOPERSTOWN — In an effort to get younger, even when it comes to long retired players, the Hall of Fame is changing the Veterans Committee setup. Starting next year, it will introduce new “era” categories to allow more consideration of modern players.
The current format has categories for three eras, including one that lumps together everyone who played from 1973 to the current time. The new format will have these groupings: Early Baseball (1871-1949), Golden Days (1950-1969), Modern Baseball (1970-1987) and Today’s Game (1988-2016).
Jeff Idelson, the Hall’s president, said that the Hall now includes twice as many players who debuted before 1950 than those who broke in after that year. “When you start to study the numbers . . . I guess analytics have hit the Hall of Fame, too, at this point,” he said. “We felt that perhaps the past 50 years weren’t quite as well represented as the previous decades.”
He also announced that Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith has been added to the board of directors.
Fingers likes Yanks’ pen
Rollie Fingers knows a good bullpen when he sees it, and the Hall of Fame reliever is impressed by the Yankees’ collection of closers.
“If the Yankees are winning after the sixth inning, they’ve got a pretty good chance of winning. They’ve got three arms down there and the guys have got a pretty good idea of what they’re doing, too. They throw the ball hard, they’ve got great stuff,” he said. “But they’ve got to be getting up and throwing one inning, doing that six or seven days in a row, they might get a little worn out.
“I’m surprised some of them don’t go a couple innings. If they strike out the side, let them go out there and strike out the side again,” he said. When he was asked about the workload in the Oakland A’s pen in his day, he said, “I was a mop-up guy, the short guy, the long guy. Alvin Dark brought me in in the fifth inning of the first game of the 1974 World Series and I pitched all the way to the ninth. It’s a little bit different nowadays.”
Under Charles O. Finley, it wasn’t a matter of managers continually replacing the relievers, it was more of the owner replacing the manager. “I played for 14 managers in 17 years,” Fingers said. “I kept on having good years and they kept on getting fired.”