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Hall of Fame will take close look at Yankees' Steinbrenner, Torre

Yankees team owner George Steinbrenner, left, and manager

Yankees team owner George Steinbrenner, left, and manager Joe Torre get emotional after being presented with the trophy after the Yankees swept the Padres to win the World Series at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. (Oct. 21, 1998) Credit: AP

Cooperstown could feel very much like the Bronx this summer, given the possibility that George Steinbrenner and Joe Torre could be inducted into the Hall of Fame together, depending on Monday's vote by the Expansion Era committee.

Steinbrenner failed to receive the necessary 75 percent from the 16-member panel in 2010. This will be Torre's first time on the ballot, which also includes Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, Billy Martin, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Dan Quisenberry, Ted Simmons, Dave Parker and the late players' union chief Marvin Miller, the driving force behind free agency.

Miller fell short by only one vote in 2010, appearing on 11 of the 16 ballots (68.75 percent). Steinbrenner garnered fewer than eight, but the exact number was not released by the committee.

This year, former managers Torre, Cox and La Russa are believed to be virtual locks for Cooperstown -- as does Miller, after getting so close.

But Steinbrenner -- who took over the Yankees in 1973, remains a polarizing figure, and despite presiding over seven world championships with the Yankees, his questionable behavior during nearly four decades as owner still might give voters pause.

The Yankees have 51 former players and executives enshrined in Cooperstown, including World Series-winning managers Miller Huggins, Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel. Jacob Ruppert, who owned the Yankees from 1915-39, was elected by the veterans committee last December.

Unlike the Hall of Fame's general election, which had 563 ballots cast by eligible BBWAA voters last December, the Expansion Era candidates are scrutinized by a more select group. This year's panel includes eight Hall of Famers: Rod Carew, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Herzog, Tommy Lasorda, Joe Morgan, Paul Molitor, Phil Niekro and Frank Robinson.

Rounding out the committee are major-league executives Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), Jerry Reinsdorf (White Sox) and Andy MacPhail and Dave Montgomery, both from the Phillies, along with four baseball historians: Steve Hirdt, Bruce Jenkins, Jack O'Connell and Jim Reeves.

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