On August 3, 1980, the BBWAA inducted Al Kaline and Duke Snider, while the Veterans Committee selected Chuck Klein and former Boston Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey for induction in front of 25 of the 47 living Hall of Famers. The J.G. Taylor Spink award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing was shared by Bob Broeg, sports editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and New York-based writer Tommy Holmes. Russ Hodges was posthumously honored with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence.
AL KALINE: By being named on 88.3 percent of ballots cast in his first year on the ballot, Kaline became the tenth player in history to be elected in his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility. Playing all 22 of his big league seasons for the Detroit Tigers, Kaline led the Tigers to the 1968 World Series title, hitting .379 in the fall classic. In second big league season at the age of 20 he led the American League with a .340 batting average, 200 hits and 321 total bases. Kaline hit 20 or more home runs nine times, on his way to being named an All-Star 15 times. A winner of 10 Gold Glove Awards, Kaline hit .297 for his career with 399 home runs and 1,583 runs batted in.
DUKE SNIDER: Snider was named on 86.5 percent of ballots cast in his 11th year of eligibility after an 18-year career spent with the Brooklyn-Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants. The eight-time All-Star hit more home runs than anyone in the 1950s, thanks to five straight 40 home run seasons. Snider hit better than .300 seven times, more than 20 home runs ten times and the led the American League league in runs scored three straight seasons (1953-55). The Dodgers won six NL pennants and two World Series during Snider’s tenure, including their first title in Los Angeles in 1959. He retired with a .295 career average, 407 home runs and 1,333 RBI.
CHUCK KLEIN: Elected by the Veterans Committee, Klein played a 17 year career almost entirely with the Philadelphia Phillies, but included stops with the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates. The 1932 National League MVP, Klein hit .348 that year with 38 home runs and 137 runs batted in. A year later he won the Triple Crown with a .368 batting average, 28 long balls and 120 RBI. The Phillies made one World Series during Klein’s career, but lost to the Detroit Tigers in 1935. For his career, Klein hit .320 with 300 home runs and 1,201 RBI.
TOM YAWKEY: A Veterans Committee selection, Tom Yawkey purchased the struggling Boston Red Sox in 1933 and dedicated his time and finances for the next 44 years to building winning teams. His teams' best seasons occurred in 1946, '67 and '75 when the Red Sox captured the American League pennant, and then went on to lose each World Series in seven games. The popular owner was a generous man and a leader among big league owners. Yawkey also served as American League vice president from 1956 to 1973.