Ron Santo, Jim Kaat, Marvin Miller and all the other candidates were left out yesterday when the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee admitted no new members for the third straight election.

The blank slate could lead to changes before the next vote in 2009. "We're being blamed because something hasn't happened," Hall member and vice chairman Joe Morgan said. "If you're asking me, 'Do we lower our standards to get more people in?' my answer would be no."

Santo came the closest to the required 75 percent. A nine-time all-star, the former Cubs third baseman was picked on 57 of 82 ballots (70 percent).

Kaat, a 283-game winner and strongly backed by Hall member Mike Schmidt, drew 52 votes. Gil Hodges, who hit 370 home runs, got 50 votes and three-time AL batting champion Tony Oliva had 47. Players needed 62 for election.

Umpire Doug Harvey received 52 of the necessary 81 votes on the ballot for managers, umpires and executives. Miller, the union head who led players to free agent riches, showed a strong increase in getting 51. The committee was revamped after charges of cronyism when it elected Bill Mazeroski in 2001. That marked the eighth straight year the 15-member panel sent someone to Cooperstown.

After that, the panel was expanded to include all living Hall of Famers. The new committee votes every other year for players and every four years for the others.

"We are disappointed that no one has been elected in the three voting cycles," Hall Chairman Jane Forbes Clark said. "We will be evaluating this process and its trends at our next meeting, which is March 13, and discussing whether there should be any changes."

· OLYMPICS:Gymnasts will have a second chance to qualify for the Olympics starting with the 2012 London Games.

Currently, gymnasts can only qualify for the Summer Games at the world championships in the year preceding the Olympics.

But following a directive from the International Olympic Committee to provide athletes with a second opportunity, the International Gymnastics Federation put together a proposal, under which the 2011 world championships would still serve as the main qualifying competition for the 2012 Olympics. But the FIG also wants to use test events the year before the games as a second qualifier for London. . . .

Americans Keauna McLaughlinand Rockne Brubakerwon the short program at the Junior World Figure Skating Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany.

Skating to "Somewhere in Time," McLaughlin and Brubaker completed a double twist with great height, side-by-side double axels, a one-armed lift with a change of holds and strong spins to earn 57.00 points. The U.S. junior champions only missed on a throw triple salchow.

· TRACK:At the U.S. indoor track and field championships in Boston last weekend, Hayfield High graduate Nikeya Green won the women's 800 meters in a U.S.-leading time of 2 minutes 2.68 seconds. Keira Carlstrom (Oakton) finished fourth in the women's mile with a time of 4:38.74. Monica Hargrove(Georgetown) finished second in the 400 in 52.26.

-- From News Services

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