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 Four with ties to Tigers among Hall nominees

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PostSubject: Four with ties to Tigers among Hall nominees   Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:36 pm

Four with ties to Tigers among Hall nominees
By Chris Iott
November 10, 2009, 10:00PM

Two baseball managers and two executives with strong ties to the Detroit Tigers are among 20 being considered for 2010 induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by two veterans committees that will vote Dec. 6 at the game's winter meetings in Indianapolis.

John Fetzer, a broadcasting pioneer who had radio stations in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and other Michigan cities, led a syndicate that bought the Tigers from the Briggs family in 1956 for $5.5 million. Fetzer became full owner in 1961 and sold the club in 1983 to Ann Arbor's Tom Monaghan for $53 million.

Fetzer owned the Tigers when they won the 1968 World Series and built one of the best farm systems in the game.

Fetzer, who died in 1991 at age 89, also was active in negotiating broadcast contracts for Major League Baseball, including baseball's initial national TV contract in 1967.

John McHale Sr., a reserve first baseman for the 1945 World Series champion Tigers who went onto become the club's general manager in 1958 after serving as its director of minor league operations, also was nominated.

He moved on to become general manager of the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos, and died in 2008 at age 86. His son, John Jr., served as president and CEO of the Tigers while Comerica Park was being built.

Billy Martin, who managed Detroit to a division title in 1972, and Steve O'Neill, manager of Detroit's championship team in 1945, are among those nominated in the managers and umpires group.

Martin spent 16 seasons managing the Twins, Tigers (1971-73), Rangers, Yankees (five different stints) and A's, compiling a 1,253-1015 record (.552). His teams finished in first place five times, winning two American League pennants and one World Series with 1977 Yankees. He was 61 when he died in 1989.

O'Neill managed the Indians, Tigers (1943-48), Red Sox and Phillies for 14 seasons and never had a losing record. His teams were 1,040-821 (.559), good for the 15th-best winning percentage among managers with at least 1,000 games. He was 70 when he died in 1962.

In 1958, three of the four nominees were with the Tigers. Fetzer was the owner, McHale the general manager and Martin an infielder.

Other managers being considered are Charlie Grimm, Whitey Herzog (a Detroit infielder-outfielder in 1963), Davey Johnson, Tom Kelly, Gene Mauch and Danny Murtaugh.

Umpires Doug Harvey and Hank O'Day also were nominated.

Other executives or pioneers nominated were Gene Autry, Sam Breadon, Bob Howsam, Ewing Kauffman, Marvin Miller, Gabe Paul, Jacob Ruppert and Bill White.

Nominees must receive 75 percent of the committee votes to be selected.

Tigers Hall of Famers Al Kaline (who played for Martin) and Jim Bunning are among 16 voting in the manager-umpire category.

“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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