Baines, Belle, McGwire up for Hall of Fame consideration

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Harold Baines (right) looks at his bronze statue with daughter, Courtney, and Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf in 2008. (Getty Images)

Former White Sox Harold Baines and Albert Belle, as well as former Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire and Cubs manager Lou Piniella, are among 10 players, executives and managers on the Today’s Game Era ballot to be considered for election to the Hall of Fame.

Will Clark and Orel Hershiser, executives Bud Selig, George Steinbrenner and John Schuerholz and manager Davey Johnson round out the class of 2017 candidates on the new ballot, to be considered for election to Cooperstown in December.

The ballot is part of changes to the election process announced by the Hall’s board of directors in July. It includes five players, three executives and two managers who made their biggest impact from 1988 on.

“It’s flattering. It’s fantastic. I mean, thank you,” McGwire told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “It’s very flattering to have another opportunity to possibly get into the Hall of Fame. It’s exciting.”

Selig served as baseball’s acting commissioner from September 1992 to July 1998 and then as commissioner until January 2015. He oversaw an era of immense change that included expansion, wild cards and interleague play.

Voting is Dec. 5 at the winter meetings in Maryland. Candidates need votes on at least 75 percent of the ballots cast by the 16-member Today’s Game Era Committee for enshrinement.

McGwire ranks 11th on the career list with 583 home runs. Tainted by performance-enhancing drugs, however, he never came close to getting elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and dropped off that ballot this year after his 10th and final chance.

Baines, a six-time All-Star, played for the Sox, Orioles, A’s, Rangers and Indians over a 22-year career, batting .289 with 384 home runs and 1,628 RBI.

Belle was a five-time All-Star during a 12-year career with the Indians, Orioles and Sox. He led the American League with 50 homers in 1995, when Cleveland reached the World Series. In 1998, his second and final year with the Sox, he batted .328 with 49 homers and 152 RBI.

Contributing: Associated Press

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