FORT MYERS, FLA. - Tony Oliva fell 15 votes short of being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as the 84-member Veterans Committee snubbed the entire field again.
Players need to be named on 75 percent of the ballots to be elected, and Oliva, the three-time batting champion with the Twins, received 47 votes, or 57 percent.
Ron Santo came the closest with 57 votes (70 percent), followed by former Twins righthander Jim Kaat (52, 63 percent), Gil Hodges (50, 61 percent) and Oliva.
Since the Veterans Committee was reconfigured in 2001 -- it now includes 61 Hall of Famers -- it has gone three consecutive elections (2003, '05 and again this year) without electing a player.
Hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark indicated changes could be made, telling the Associated Press: "We are disappointed that no one has been elected in the three voting cycles. We will be evaluating this process and its trends at our next meeting, which is March 13, and discussing whether there should be any changes."
Oliva received 56 percent of the vote in 2005 and 59 percent in 2003. He left the Twins complex Tuesday 30 minutes before the vote was announced and didn't expect good news.
"If it happens, it would be a surprise," Oliva said. "The way it's set up now, it's very hard."
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