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Will Steinbrenner be voted into Hall today?

STAMFORD, Conn. - Brian Cashman hopes this year's Hall of Fame Veterans Committee sees it as being as much of a no-brainer as he does.

"He belongs in," the Yankees' general manager said of George Steinbrenner last night. "He belongs in the Hall of Fame, no question about it. It's only a matter of time."

Steinbrenner's time could come this morning. The late Yankees owner, along with the manager he's most associated with, the late Billy Martin, are on the committee's ballot for consideration for Hall of Fame induction.

Results will be announced at 10 a.m. today. To be elected, a candidate must appear on at least 75 percent of the ballots of the 16-person committee comprising former players, current and former executives and media members.

This year, the Veterans Committee's ballot considers players and executives whose greatest impact was from 1973 on.

Former Yankees pitchers Ron Guidry, still a Yankees spring training instructor, and Tommy John are on the 12-man ballot, as are former union head Marvin Miller and retired Blue Jays, Orioles and Phillies general manager Pat Gillick. The other players are Vida Blue, Dave Concepción, Steve Garvey, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub.

Under Steinbrenner's watch, which began in 1973, the Yankees won seven World Series, 11 pennants and 16 American League East titles. "He's a Hall of Famer already," Cashman said. "They just have to make that stamp official here at some point. The sooner the better."

Steinbrenner hired Martin five times, fired him four times and let him resign once.

"We are honored that our father has been named to the Expansion Era ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame,'' the Steinbrenner family said in a statement Nov. 8 when the ballot was announced. "We know he would be deeply moved in being considered for entry into baseball's most hallowed institution. We also want to congratulate former Yankees Ron Guidry and Tommy John, along with the family of Billy Martin, for their inclusions. All three wore the pinstripes proudly and left indelible marks on the game.''

Shortly after Steinbrenner's death at age 80 on July 13, the Yankees honored their owner with a plaque in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park. This morning could bring the announcement of a second plaque, this one in Cooperstown.

Anyone elected by the committee will be inducted into the Hall on July 24, along with any players chosen in January by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

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