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Cepeda, Mazeroski Await Hall

Baseball's Hall of Fame Class of 1999 already includes three players elected on their first try. On Tuesday, the Veterans Committee is expected to add several honorees who patiently have waited their turn.

The Veteran's Committee will meet to consider those players who fell short during their 15 years of eligibility in voting by baseball writers. The leading candidate appears to be Orlando Cepeda, a former National League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player who fell seven votes shy of induction in his last year on the ballot in 1994.

Results of the voting will be announced at 2 p.m. EST.

Eight-time Gold Glove winner Bill Mazeroski, six-time All-Star outfielder Dom DiMaggio and first baseman Gil Hodges are other former major leaguers expected to receive votes.

Dick Williams, who managed the Oakland Athletics to a pair of World Series titles, is the top candidate in the category of executive/managers, pioneers and managers. The committee also will consider candidates in the 19th century and Negro Leaguers categories.

Those selected will join Nolan Ryan, George Brett and Robin Yount, the first trio of first-year candidates to be elected by the writers since the five-member inaugural class of 1936.

The committee has met annually since 1961 and has elected 92 members in 38 elections. They failed to elect a candidate just three times -- in 1988, 1990 and 1993.

The Veterans Committee is made up of Hall of Famers, executives and media representatives and normally consists of 15 members, but just 12 will vote on Tuesday. Buzzie Bavasi resigned earlier this year, Leonard Koppett is ill and Pee Wee Reese will be unable to attend due to a hip injury.

Other voting members of the committee include Yogi Berra, Stan Musial and Ted Williams. A new member is Juan Marichal, who is expected to support Cepeda, a fellow Latin-American.

In order to be elected, a candidate must appear on 75 percent or the ballots cast, or nine of 12. As many as four electees -- one from each category -- can be selected.

Cepeda's numbers are of Hall of Fame quality, but his candidacy likely was crippled by a 1975 arrest for smuggling marijuana in his native Puerto Rico. He was convicted and spent 10 months in prison.

Nicknamed the "Baby Bull" and "Cha Cha," Cepeda posted a .297 average over 17 seasons while hitting 379 homers and driving in 1,365 runs. He hit over .300 nine times and remains the only player unanimously selected as both Rookie of the Year and MVP. He won the rookie award for San Francisco in 1958 and MVP for St. Louis in 1967.

Plagued by injuries late in his career, Cepeda also played for Atlanta, Oakland, Boston and A HREF=''>Kansas City before retiring in 1974 at 36.

Mazeroski is considered among the greatest defensive second baseman. He played all 17 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and hit .260 with 138 homers before retiring in 1972.

Mazeroski hit one of the famous homers in baseball history, a blast in the bottom of the ninth to win Game Seven of the 1960 World Series against the New York Yankees.

The younger brother of Joe DiMaggio, Dom DiMaggio hit .298 in 11 seasons for Boston.

Hodges played for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets and hit .273 with 370 homers and 1,274 RBI. He also managed the Washington Senators and the Mets, leading New York to a World Series title in 1969.

Williams, currently an advisor with the Yankees, amassed a 1,571-1,451 managerial record in 21 seasons with Boston, Oakland, California, San Diego and Seattle. He managed in four World Series and won with Oakland in 1972 and 1973.

Doug Harvey and Nestor Chylak are umpires who could receive consideration. The 19th century candidates will include Frank Selee, who managed five National League pennant winners for Boston.

Smokey Joe Williams and Norman "Turkey" Stearnes received support in the Negro Leaguers category last year.

Hall of Fame ceremonies will be July 25 in Cooperstown, New York.

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