Canadian Hall of Fame coming up on decision time

 Photo: Peter Power

Photo: Peter Power

By: Danny Gallagher

Canadian Baseball Network

It's getting down to crunch time for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

The St. Marys institution is about to announce the newest members to be inducted in June. The selection date is Feb. 2, which so happens to be the 141st birthday of the National League.

There are many nominees on the list this year, close to 45, so the voting gets to be interesting. Holdovers from last year will be considered along with new nominees, several of whom were put forth by me. They were Canadian-born scouts Bill MacKenzie and Wayne Morgan, former international amateur executive Cas Pielak of Regina and Expos pitchers Steve Renko and Bryn Smith.

The odds-on favourites among the retired players being considered would have to be former Blue Jays pitching ace Roy Halladay and Expos superstar outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, who almost made it into Cooperstown earlier this month.

Long overlooked is Jays pitching icon Jimmy Key, who retired in 1998, almost 20 years ago. Voters surely admit that the exclusion of Key so far is a grave injustice. If you really look at it, Key should be selected next week instead of Halladay. There is no hurry for Halladay to be inducted. He can wait. I'm assuming someone has nominated a player of Key's stature.

There are 24 people on the hall of fame's selection committee, which includes inductees, media members, baseball historians and Baseball Canada executives.

Any member of the public can nominate a candidate. This means that the list of candidates in any year can be of any length. A nominee remains on the ballot for nine years maximum, unless he/she receives zero votes in two consecutive years, in which case the name is removed from the list. Each of the 24 voters receives a package of material describing each nominee, including the original nomination forms.

The first round of voting is done via email. Each voter submits a list consisting of any number of approvals, including possibly zero. Preliminary votes are tallied and the results are redistributed to the voters. A conference call of all voters is then held, conducted by the committee chair, and each voter is given a chance to express his/her opinions.

This call is the vehicle by which a voter can make a special argument on behalf of or against a particular candidate. A second email vote follows the conference call. Eighteen of 24 votes (75%) are required for election.

There have been a flurry of new submissions in the past year, swelling the ranks but there is no limit to the number of possible inductees, regardless of the length of the list.

Danny Gallagher

Danny was born in Ted Lindsay's hometown of Renfrew, Ont. but his roots are in nearby Douglas. He played 27 consecutive seasons of top-level amateur baseball in the senior ranks in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec and thrived on organizing events himself, the major one being the highly successful 1983 Canadian senior men's tournament in Sudbury. He began covering the Montreal Expos in 1988 when he joined the Montreal Daily News. Later, he was the Expos beat writer for the Ottawa Sun and Associated Press. He has written four baseball books, including Remembering the Montreal Expos, which he co-authored with Bill Young of Hudson, Que. Gallagher and Young are currently working on a book about the ill-fated 1994 Expos squad. Gallagher can be reached here: