Bill Veeck, the owner who gave baseball exploding scoreboards, giveaway days and even sent a midget to bat, and Tony Lazzeri, second baseman for the New York Yankees during the Babe Ruth era, were elected today to baseball's Hall of Fame by the veterans committee.
The 18-man panel met for more than five hours before settling on Veeck, the maverick owner of the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Indians, and Lazzeri, one of the key players on six Yankee championship teams.Lazzeri, who died in 1946, was elected from a list of 15 former major league players submitted by a screening committee that determined a preliminary ballot.
Veeck's name was included among a group of 15 managers, executives, umpires and former Negro League stars recommended for consideration on a separate ballot. Veeck died in 1986.
Veeck and Lazzeri will be inducted at Cooperstown along with Rod Carew, Ferguson Jenkins and Gaylord Perry on July 21.
The full veterans committee was restricted to electing one person from each category, a change from the past when the panel was able to consider as many candidates as it wanted.
After failing to elect anyone in two of the last three years, the panel came under attack a year ago. At that time, the panel met for several hours at a Tampa hotel but failed to give any candidate the required 75 percent vote needed for election to Cooperstown.