39 future Hall of Famers on BBWAA ballot

Written by: Craig Muder

It was a rare day in baseball history: Feb. 4, 1960. The Baseball Writers' Association of America announced that day that no candidate had received the necessary 75 percent of the vote to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

However, no one could say there weren't qualified candidates on the ballot. In fact, there may have been so many that the writers couldn't help but splinter their vote.

The 1960 BBWAA election marked the fifth time in 24 years that the writers didn't elect a Hall of Fame candidate. Since then, however, the annual BBWAA election has resulted in just four shutouts: 1971, 1996, 2013 and 2021.

All of which makes the 1960 election even more unusual. Edd Roush received the most votes: 146 of the 269 cast, earning 54.2 percent of the vote where 75 percent is needed for election. Meanwhile, Sam Rice got 143 votes and Eppa Rixey received 142, leaving the top three vote-getters with at least 52 percent of the vote.

Historically, it's not unusual for the top two or three candidates who are not elected in any one election to be subsequently inducted to the Hall of Fame. But in 1960, the top 12 vote-getters – 27 of the top 34 – all eventually found a home in Cooperstown.

Roush, Rice and Rixey were each elected by 1963. Over the next two decades, the next nine highest vote-getters – Burleigh Grimes, Jim Bottomley, Red Ruffing, Red Faber, Kiki Cuyler, Luke Appling, Hack Wilson, Tony Lazzeri and Lefty Gomez – were all inducted.

But the story doesn't end there. Twenty-seven more members of that BBWAA ballot eventually earned election to the Hall of Fame, either through the writers or the Veterans Committee. In total, 134 players received votes.

Amazingly, the 39 men eventually elected to the Hall of Fame on the 1960 BBWAA ballot do not represent the high-water mark for that statistic. In 1958, 42 future electees received votes.

Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.