Good Morning Minnesota Twins fans! The Golden Days Committee meets again today to vote on possible enshrinement candidates for the Hall of Fame, and this year, the Minnesota Twins have a pair of former stars on the list in Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat.
The Golden Days Committee, formally the Golden Era Committee, votes on players who played from 1950-1969 who are no longer eligible for BBWAA voting. The list currently includes Kaat, Oliva, Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Roger Maris, Minnie Miñoso, Danny Murtaugh, Billy Pierce and Maury Wills, staunch competition for the former Twins.
It’s going to be an uphill battle for any player to make it, as the committee is extremely stingy. It takes 12 of 16 votes to make the Hall, but in the two rounds of voting, only one player has made it past that line: Ron Santo, who got 15/16 votes.
Since then, there has only been one other vote, in 2014, when the committee denied everyone. The pair of former Twins do have an enormous advantage though as Kaat has earned 10 votes twice and Oliva earned 11 votes last time around.
They are both right on the edge of breaking into the Hall, but can this finally be the year they make it in? Well, there’s a real case that both can finally join the ranks of the elite and represent Minnesota well. We’ll start with Jim Kaat.
Kaat is only a three-time All-Star, but he has a lengthy career full of achievements that should really boost his case. Kaat has 15 Gold Gloves on the mound, an incredible number, and is 31st all-time in wins. He also has a world series ring that he won with St. Louis and is 25th in innings pitched. There’s reasons that he didn’t get in the first time around.
Kaat pitched for 25 years, but had just meh strikeout numbers, using boosted inning amounts and a lot of starts to make his career stat line look better. Of Baseball Reference’s four Hall of Fame Stats, Kaat only meets Hall standards in one of them. He’s also been stuck at 10 votes two years now, so there’s that working against him as well.
Tony Oliva’s case is even stronger. Despite never getting more than 47.2% of the Hall vote, Oliva is a Hall of Famer by three of Baseball Reference’s Hall metrics, was the Rookie of the Year in 1964, a three-time Batting Champ, and an 8-Time All-Star.
Despite never winning a World Series, which may be his biggest knock as a player, Oliva spent his whole career with one team and partnered with Rod Carew to form the face of some of the best Twins teams ever.
He didn’t make it in during the voting section, as writers didn’t like that he didn’t play as long as some would have liked, but the voters in the Golden Days Committee seem to be putting more respect on his name, as he jumped from 8 votes to 11 during the two rounds. Hopefully this year they put things right.
Being in the Hall of Fame is a momentous achievement, one that just seven Twins players (Washington Senators not included here) have ever accomplished. If the committee makes the right call tomorrow, Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat, and Dick Allen will clear up the top of the ballot and march into the Hall of Fame in 2022.