ure-fingered third baseman Brooks Robinson and high-kicking right-hander Juan Marichal were elected to the Hall of Fame today by the Baseball Writers Association of America. They will be enshrined officially at Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 31.
Robinson, in his first year of eligibility, received 344 votes and Marichal, who missed by only seven votes of election last year, got 313 in a balloting of 374 10-year members of the BBWAA. Seventy-five percent, or 281 votes, were necessary to gain election.
Robinson becomes only the 14th player in history to gain election in his first year on the ballot.
Harmon Killebrew finished third in the balloting with 269 votes followed by Luis Aparicio (252), Hoyt Wilhelm (243), Don Drysdale (242) and Gil Hodges (237). It was Hodges' final year on the ballot.
"This is the utmost thing that can happen to you as a player," said Robinson. "So many of the players in the Hall of Fame were idols of mine growing up in Little Rock. When I thought about the Hall of Fame I thought it was unattainable."
Robinson said his election was a boost for defensive players.
"Most of the players in the Hall of Fame have offensive statistics that are awesome and that worried me a little," he said.
Marichal, who was angry last year when he missed election, was smiling today and said all his bad feelings were buried in the past.
"When I was eligible the first time I didn't make it and when I was eligible the second time I didn't make it, but nobody is happier than I am right now," he said.
Marichal added he didn't know why he wasn't voted in sooner, but said the one black moment in his career, when he hit catcher John Roseboro with a bat, was something that had been patched up between the two men over the years.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Marichal won 243 games in 16 seasons, most of them with the San Francisco Giants. He had a 2.89 earned run average, was a 20-game winner six times, twice led the National League in complete games and twice led in shutouts. He pitched a no-hitter against Houston on June 15, 1963.
Known for his ability to scoop up everything within his reach, Robinson won 16 Gold Glove Awards during a 23-year career with the Baltimore Orioles and also accumulated 2,896 hits, 1,357 RBI and 268 home runs.
He was the most valuable player in the American League in 1964, the MVP of the All-Star Game in 1966 and the MVP of the 1970 World Series. A member of 18 consecutive AL All-Star teams from 1960-74, Robinson holds career fielding records for third basemen in percentage, putouts, assists, chances and double plays.
Killebrew, who hit 573 home runs for the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins, placing him fifth on the all-time list, said from his insurance firm in Boise, Idaho, "Naturally I'm disappointed. Not bitter, just disappointed. I certainly was hopeful this might be the year. I think I'm more disappointed this year than in the past.
"One of the things that concerns me is that maybe some of the writers have not seen some of the players play; maybe some don't use all the votes they can and maybe some vote for somebody who was a friend.
"I think they (the writers) should vote exactly on what the players' stats show . . . I agree with what Don Drysdale said last year, that it's not the baseball hall of fame, that it's the baseball writers' hall of fame."