Hall of Fame Class of 2017

It is the most exclusive team in sports, and it now features two new members.

Today's Game Era candidates, John Schuerholz and Allan H. “Bud” Selig were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, Dec. 4, becoming members 313 and 314 of the Cooperstown shrine.

They will join any members from the BBWAA ballot who can gain election on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. The Class of 2017 will be inducted on July 30 in Cooperstown as the Class of 2017 as part of the July 28-31 Hall of Fame Weekend. The Weekend festivities will also feature the presentation of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award to Claire Smith for writers and the presentation of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence.

Since the inaugural Class of 1936, the National Baseball Hall of Fame has honored the game’s legendary players, managers, umpires and executives. Included in the 314 Hall of Famers are 217 former major league players, 30 executives, 35 Negro Leaguers, 22 managers and 10 umpires. The BBWAA has elected 121 candidates to the Hall while the veterans committees (in all forms) have chosen 165 deserving candidates (96 major leaguers, 30 executives, 22 managers, 10 umpires and nine Negro Leaguers). The defunct “Committee on Negro Baseball Leagues” selected nine men between 1971-77 and the Special Committee on Negro Leagues in 2006 elected 17 Negro Leaguers.

There are currently 71 living members.

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Class of 2017

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Voting Results

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12 Votes Needed for Election

  • John Schuerholz
    16 votes, 100%
  • Bud Selig
    15 votes, 93.8%
  • Lou Piniella
    7 votes, 43.8%

Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, Davey Johnson, Mark McGwire and George Steinbrenner each received fewer than five votes.

John Schuerholz

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Born Oct. 1, 1940, Schuerholz was raised in Baltimore. His father, John, was a minor league second baseman in the Philadelphia A’s organization before a broken leg derailed his career.

Schuerholz followed his father’s footsteps in high school as a second baseman, but received no offers after graduating and instead enrolled at nearby Towson University. There, Schuerholz was an all-conference selection in both baseball and soccer and was named Athlete of the Year during his senior season.

With his degree in hand, Schuerholz became a junior high teacher in the Baltimore suburb of Dundalk. But in 1966, Schuerholz took one last shot at a baseball career – sending a letter of inquiry to Jerold Hoffberger, the president of the National Brewing Company and chairman of the Orioles.

The letter found its way to Orioles president Frank Cashen, who personally replied to every letter he received. That brought Schuerholz to the attention of Orioles director of player development Lou Gorman, who hired Schuerholz as a personal assistant.

Two years later, Gorman joined the front office of the expansion Kansas City Royals, and Schuerholz went with him.

“The very first day I started in that job (with the Orioles), my goal was to become a general manager of a Major League Baseball team,” Schuerholz said. “I gave myself five years, after which I would assess where I was in my career – because I felt I could always go back to teaching if I didn’t succeed.”

Five years into his baseball career, Schuerholz was still working for Gorman – helping lay the foundation for the talented Royals teams of the late 1970s that featured homegrown stars Frank White, Al Cowens and future Hall of Famer George Brett. Gorman was named the Royals’ general manager in the fall of 1975, and Schuerholz became the team’s farm director.

Unless you’ve ever been on the inside and worked with him, there’s no way you can appreciate (Schuerholz’s) baseball intelligence

Former Braves executive Paul Snyder

Then in early 1976, Gorman left to run the expansion Seattle Mariners – and Schuerholz was promoted to director of scouting and player development for the Royals. In 1979, Schuerholz was named Vice President of Player Personnel.

In 1981, Schuerholz took over for Joe Burke as the Royals’ general manager when Burke was promoted to team president.

“Unless you’ve ever been on the inside and worked with him, there’s no way you can appreciate (Schuerholz’s) baseball intelligence,” said former Braves executive Paul Snyder.

Schuerholz took over a Royals franchise that won four American League West titles in five years (1976-78, 1980) and an AL pennant (1980), but seemed to be in transition. By 1985, Schuerholz had re-tooled much of the team with younger talent – especially pitchers like Bret Saberhagen, Danny Jackson and Bud Black. In 1985, the Royals won their first World Series title – defeating the Cardinals in a classic seven-game battle.

Following the 1985 season, Schuerholz was named the Executive of the Year by the Sporting News.

John Schuerholz spent 17 years as the Braves’ general manager, then took over as team president following the 2007 season – a position he still holds. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

“I want to be here. I like it here,” said Schuerholz in 1985. “I have a lot of my blood and sweat in this organization.”

But by 1990, Schuerholz – who signed a “lifetime” contract with the Royals in 1985 – was looking for a different challenge. He found one with the Braves, who had posted losing records from 1984-90 and were searching for a new general manager when Bobby Cox went back to the dugout after a stint as GM. Schuerholz immediately helped the Braves go from worst to first, winning the National League pennant in 1991 after finishing last in the NL West the year before.

Schuerholz inherited talent like Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, but added to the mix by acquiring Greg Maddux, Terry Pendleton and Fred McGriff over the next few seasons.

“(Schuerholz) knows what he wants,” said former Indians general manager John Hart. “He’s always prepared (during trade negotiations), and he doesn’t mince words.”

Under Schuerholz, the Braves embarked on a run unseen in big league history. For 14 seasons from 1991-2005, the Braves finished first in their division in every completed season. Atlanta advanced to the World Series four times in that stretch, winning the 1995 Fall Classic title.

He became the first general manager to lead teams to World Series titles in both the American League and National League.

“We could have been a one-shot wonder,” Schuerholz said during the Braves’ run. “The consistency of or success is a great source of pride for me.”

Schuerholz spent 17 years as the Braves’ general manager, then took over as team president following the 2007 season – a position he still holds.

Allan H. “Bud” Selig

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Born July 30, 1934, in Milwaukee, Wis., Selig came of age as an ardent baseball fan, giving up the game on the field after “a guy…threw a curve at me and I backed two feet out of the box.” Selig attended games of the minor league Milwaukee Brewers and eventually the Braves when they moved to Milwaukee in 1953. By then, Selig was at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, majoring in American History and Political Science.

He graduated in 1956 and – after a tour in the U.S. Army – joined his father at his Ford dealership in nearby West Allis, Wisc.

“Joe Torre said he bought his first car from me in 1960,” Selig said of the former Braves catcher and future Hall of Famer. “That’s true.”

By 1963, Selig was the largest public stockholder in the Milwaukee Braves.

But by 1965, the Braves had announced they were moving to Atlanta for the 1966 season, ending their 13-year run in Milwaukee. Selig sold his team stock and began work on bringing baseball back to his hometown even before the Braves had left.

After organizing successful exhibition games with MLB teams in Milwaukee, hosting regular season White Sox games at County Stadium and nearly acquiring the White Sox in 1969, Selig finally met his goal when he led a group that purchased the American League’s Seattle Pilots out of bankruptcy court on March 31, 1970. Seven days later, the new Milwaukee Brewers began their 1970 AL schedule.

Under Selig’s ownership, the Brewers grew into a powerhouse, winning the AL pennant in 1982 with a team that featured future Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers, Paul Molitor, Don Sutton and Robin Yount. Selig quickly became one of baseball’s most influential owners, helping identify and hire Peter Ueberroth as commissioner in 1984.

“He should have been Senate majority leader,” said White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, describing Selig’s ability to lobby for his position and form alliances. That skill would be tested when on Sept. 9, 1992 – two days after commissioner Fay Vincent resigned – Selig was named the Chairman of MLB’s Executive Council, making him the de facto commissioner.

Bud Selig pictured above with former President George W. Bush. (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Selig was quickly thrust into the battle between labor and management, which culminated with the 1994 strike and the cancellation of that year’s World Series. But with Selig in command, baseball slowly returned to normal with the resumption of play in 1995 and several key events – like Cal Ripken’s chase of Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record – that restored the game’s popularity.

On July 9, 1998, the owners removed the “interim” tag and made Selig the game’s commissioner. Over the next 16 years, Selig – whose total tenure as commissioner was exceeded only by that of Kenesaw Mountain Landis – oversaw expansion in 1993 and 1998, the addition of two Wild Card teams, the creation of interleague play, MLB.com, the World Baseball Classic and the introduction of instant replay as a tool for umpires.

“I learned that the best interests of the game are the most important thing,” Selig said. “They transcend my best interests, your best interests and everybody else’s.”

A $1.2 billion industry in 1992, the game’s annual revenues had grown to $9 billion by the time Selig left office in early 2015. He worked tirelessly to create revenue sharing policies that would benefit all teams, recognizing early in his tenure as commissioner that the game was growing and that all teams should benefit. In 2005, he launched the Commissioner’s Initiative on Sustainable Ballpark Operations, becoming the first professional sports league commissioner to create an initiative dedicated to promoting responsible environmental stewardship, which has now become standard practice in sports leagues throughout the United States and the world.

Under Selig, MLB enjoyed 20-plus years of labor peace following the 1994-95 strike and experienced a ballpark boom that featured almost two dozen new stadiums. Selig retired Jackie Robinson's No. 42 throughout baseball in 1997, oversaw the league's expansion into three divisions per league and helped establish the toughest anti-drug measures in all of sport.

“First and foremost,” Selig said, “I’m a fan.”

Voting Information

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