Scrooge has sneaked into the act this holiday season and we'll never know how many votes newly eligible Frank Howard, Milt Pappas, Ron Perranoski and 19 others might have drawn for 1979 induction into baseball's Hall of Fame.
That's Howard with 382 homers, among the top 20 in the game's history; Pappas with 209 wins, as many as Don Drysdale, more than Bob Lemon and several other Hall hurlers; Perranoski, as of the 1976 Baseball Encyclopedia the No. 4 reliever of all time (wins plus saves).
Players become eligible for election by 75 percent approval of the Baseball Writers Association of America five years after their last active service. Annually, we get a peek and a chuckle out of a smattering of votes for comparative journeymen -- assuming some longevity in the majors -- almost automatically put on the BBWAA ballot.
But this time, a screening committee has winnowed the new eligibles on the ballot circulating this month to just two: Willie Mays and Luis Aparicio.
Wait till next year?
Those bypassed must wait 15 years to be reconsidered for nomination.
Says screening committee member Charlie (Pallie) Feeney of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "(Our) purpose is to keep Humpty Dumpties off the ballot and, when compared to real Hall of Famers, guys like Pappas are Humpty Dumpties."
Stand up to 6-7, 320-pound Hondo Howard and say that, Pallie.
The grabby N.Y. Yankees are denying a Minnesota report they are trying to deal for future Hall of Famer Rod Carew -- but Yank President Al Rosen admits, "You'd have to be out of your mind not to be interested." Other reports have the Roseless Reds dangling players and cash to take Carew off Cal Griffith's hands. All kinds of baseball trade talk is rife, of course, with the winter meetings beginning Monday in Orlando, Fla. -- and all kinds of trades are likely to come off.
Jim Stanley, the ousted Oklahoma State football coach, obtained a temporary federal restraining order yesterday prohibiting the Big Eight from acting against him or the school on the basis of hearsay testimony. As a result, the conference postponed a scheduled session this week involving slush-fund allegatious at OSU... Joe Paterno visited New York to accept the Lambert Trophy for Penn State and pleaded with the Big Apple media to let up on the speculation he might succeed John McVay -- "who is still the Giants' coach and doing a good job," Paterno said...
The pro bowlers' tour returns to the area March 5-10 with an $80,000 open at Fair Lanes University in Adelphi...
... Scott McConnell, senior runing back from Bowie, helped Appalachian State to status as one of NCAA's most-improved teams (2-9 in '77 to 7-4 in '78) by leading Southern Conference scorers (14 TD, 88 points) and finishing second in SC all-purpose running (1,152 yards).
They laughed when WTT Commissioner Butch Buchholz said World Team Tennis would go on despite collapse of eight of its 10 franchises last month. Now Buchholz announces that Dallas, Los Angeles and San Diego will field teams next year along with survivors Golden Gate and Phoenix -- and five more applications to be accepted later... The International Tennis Federation, as promised, is out with its inaugural women's world champion (selected by a committee of Margaret Court, Ann Haydon Jones and Margaret du Pont). And the winner is -- not Martina Navratilova but Chris Evert. Navvy won 11 of 17 tournaments, including Wimbledon, and had a 74-6 match record for a.925 percentage; Evert took five of nine tourneys, including the U.S. Open, and went 45-3 for a match record of.938... Golfers of the year, as picked by the Golf Writers Association of America: Nancy Lopez, 175 of 182 votes cast, and Tom Watson, tripling the tally for all other male competitors.
Last call: M Club banquet Saturday evening, Maryland's Center of Adult Education; Mal Campbell, U-Md. '49, emcee.