For the first time since 1971 the BBWAA did not elect anyone, but a crowd of approximately 10,000 turned out to out see four Veterans Committee selections inducted on August 4, 1996. Jim Bunning, Bill Foster, Ned Hanlon and Earl Weaver made up the 58th induction class in Hall of Fame history. Joe Durso of the New York Times received the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing and Minnesota Twins broadcaster Herb Carneal took the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence.
JIM BUNNING: The first pitcher to win 100 games and record 1000 strikeouts in each league, the Veterans Committee inducted Bunning into the Hall of Fame. He pitched 17 seasons for the Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers, throwing the seventh perfect game in baseball history for Philadelphia on June 21, 1964 as he blanked the New York Mets 6-0. A seven-time All-Star, Bunning finished second in the 1967 NL Cy Young Award voting after going 17-15 with 253 strikeouts and a 2.29 ERA. He won 224 games and recorded a career ERA of 3.27.
BILL FOSTER: Selected by the Veterans Committee, Foster played for seven different teams during his 14 year career, 12 of them in the original Negro National League. On the last day of the 1926 season, he won both ends of a crucial doubleheader to clinch the pennant for the Chicago American Giants. Then, in the ensuing World Series, he posted a 1.27 ERA. He was the leading vote-getter and winning pitcher in the inaugural East-West All-Star Game in 1933. Foster later coached baseball for 18 years at his alma mater, Alcorn State College. His half-brother was fellow Hall of Famer Rube Foster.
NED HANLON: A Veterans Committee selection, Hanlon was the leader of the raucous, intelligent and dominant Baltimore teams of the 1890s. His Orioles won three consecutive pennants from 1894 to 1896 by employing strategies such as the hit-and-run and Baltimore chop. He later managed in Brooklyn, where he won league titles in 1899 and 1900. Many of Hanlon's players - including John McGraw, Wilbert Robinson and Hugh Jennings - adopted his aggressive philosophy and later became great managers in their own right.
EARL WEAVER: Elected in the same year as another former Baltimore Orioles manager, Weaver was a Veterans Committee selection. Known for his colorful arguments with umpires, he managed the Orioles for 17 years, leading the team to five 100-win seasons, six American League East championships, four pennants and the 1970 World Series. Weaver retired with a career record of 1480-1060 for a career winning percentage of .583.