Twenty-five Hall of Famers returned to Cooperstown for the induction of BBWAA selections Catfish Hunter and Billy Williams, and Veterans Committee selection Ray Dandridge. The July 26, 1987 induction also saw St. Louis Cardinals announcer Jack Buck receive the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence and New York based writer Jack Lang win the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.
CATFISH HUNTER: A third ballot Hall of Famer named on 76.3 percent of ballots cast, Hunter won 224 games in 15 big league seasons spent with the Kansas City and Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees. He threw the ninth perfect game in baseball history on May 8, 1968 when Oakland beat the Minnesota Twins 4-0. A five-time World Series champion, Hunter won nine postseason games and posted a 3.26 playoff earned run average. Hunter won 21 or more games five times, winning the American League Cy Young Award in 1979 after he went 25-12 with a 2.49 ERA. Only one pitcher has more than 25 games in a season since Hunter. He died in 1999 at age 53 as a victim of ALS, the same disease that cut short the life of Lou Gehrig.
BILLY WILLIAMS: Williams was elected by the BBWAA and received 85.7 percent of the votes in his sixth year on the ballot. The National League Rookie of the Year in 1961, Williams hit 25 home runs that season to begin a stretch of 13 consecutive 20-homer seasons. The six-time All-Star finished second in NL MVP voting twice and held the National League record for consecutive games played at 1,117 until it was passed by Steve Garvey. Williams tallied 2,711 career hits, 426 hit home runs and 1475 runs batted in.
RAY DANDRIDGE: Veterans Committee inductee Ray Dandridge was one of the best defensive third basemen in the history of the Negro National Leagues. A contact hitter who consistently batted .300 or better, Dandridge played seven years with Newark of the Negro National League and also spent eight summers in the Mexican League and 11 winters in the Cuban Winter League. After the color barrier fell, he played four years with the Giants' Triple-A affiliate in Minneapolis, batting .318 overall and winning the American Association MVP in 1950.