NEW YORK, JAN. 12 -- Willie Stargell, who inspired the Pittsburgh Pirates to two World Series titles, tonight became the 17th player to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
He was named on 352 of 427 ballots -- 82.4 percent -- returned to the Baseball Writers Association of America. In order to be elected, a player must be named on 75 percent of the ballots, which this year was 321.
"All that hard work and sacrifice. I never thought it would feel like this," said Stargell, who played all of his 21 major league seasons with the Pirates. "I never thought I would have a day like this. I'm overwhelmed."
It was another disappointing year for Jim Bunning. After missing by 21 votes last year, he fell four votes short this year, his 12th year of eligibility.
Tony Oliva received 202 votes, Orlando Cepeda 199 and Roger Maris 184. It was Maris' 15th and last year of eligibility.
Induction ceremonies are scheduled for July 31 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Nine writers returned signed ballots without votes. Fourteen of the 45 eligible players failed to receive a vote, and their names will not be on next year's ballot.
Stargell, who batted .282 in his career, hit 475 home runs and had 1,540 RBI. He was a leader on the field and off.
He is the only batter to hit a ball out of Dodger Stadium -- and he did it twice. He cleared the right-field roof at Pittsburgh's old Forbes Field seven times and hit four balls into the upper deck in right field at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium.
When he learned of his induction, Stargell's eyes filled with tears.
"I don't know where I'm at. I've lost that big ol' composure," he said. "To be in the same room as Babe, Hank and Ernie, what a feeling. What an honor."
Stargell now coaches for the Atlanta Braves and is interested in managing in the majors.
The other players to have been elected in their first years of eligibility are: Jackie Robinson, Bob Feller, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Sandy Koufax, Warren Spahn, Mickey Mantle, Ernie Banks, Willie Mays, Al Kaline, Bob Gibson, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Lou Brock and Willie McCovey.
Luis Tiant and Sparky Lyle, the other first-year players on the ballot, received 132 and 56 votes, respectively.
Voting tabulation on Page B7.