Managers, Umpires, and Executives Get Their Hall of Fame Shot Via 2024 Contemporary Baseball Ballot

Joe West
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more positive outcomes of the Hall of Fame’s latest round of restructuring its Era Committees in 2022 was the creation of a ballot limited to managers, umpires, and executives, removing them from directly competing with players for votes and positioning them within a triennial election cycle. On Thursday, the Hall unveiled its slate of eight candidates for the 2024 Contemporary Baseball Era Committee Managers/Executives/Umpires ballot, dedicated to candidates in those categories who made their greatest impact from 1980 to the present. The candidates will be voted upon at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee on December 3, with the results announced live at 7:30 p.m. ET on MLB Network’s MLB Tonight.

The eight-member ballot includes four managers, two executives, and two umpires. Five of the eight are first-time candidates, and seven of the eight are still alive:

2024 Contemporary Baseball Era Committee Managers/Executives/Umpires ballot
Candidate Category Most Recent Ballot Appearance
Cito Gaston Manager None (1st time)
Davey Johnson Manager 2019 Today’s Game Era Committee
Jim Leyland Manager None (1st time)
Lou Piniella Manager 2019 Today’s Game Era Committee
Ed Montague Umpire None (1st time)
Joe West Umpire None (1st time)
Hank Peters* Executive None (1st time)
Bill White Executive 2010 Veterans Committee, Executives/Pioneers
* = deceased

While these candidates aren’t entirely without controversy — West in particular — weighty topics such as segregation and performance-enhancing drugs won’t dominate the discussions, which comes as a welcome relief. To be eligible for inclusion, managers and umpires need to have compiled 10 or more major league seasons and been retired for at least five years, though candidates 65 years or older are eligible six months following retirement. Executives need to have been retired for at least five years, though active executives 70 years or older are eligible “regardless of the position they hold in an organization and regardless of whether their body of work has been completed,” according to the Hall’s rules.

The ballot was assembled by a Historical Overview Committee, comprised of 10 veteran BBWAA members: Bob Elliott (Canadian Baseball Network); Jim Henneman (formerly Baltimore Sun); Steve Hirdt (Stats Perform); David O’Brien (The Athletic); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA secretary/treasurer); Jim Reeves (formerly Fort Worth Star-Telegram); Tracy Ringolsby (; Glenn Schwarz (formerly San Francisco Chronicle); Susan Slusser (San Francisco Chronicle); and Mark Whicker (Los Angeles News Group).

A separate committee of 16 people, appointed by the Hall of Fame board of directors and comprised of Hall of Famers, executives, and writers/historians, will discuss and vote on the candidates; they”ll be announced closer to election time. Each voter can include up to three candidates on his or her ballot (down from four in the previous Era Committee format, which included 10 candidates). Election to the Hall requires 75%, meaning votes from 12 of the 16 committee members.

Of the three repeat candidates, Piniella missed election by a single vote on the 2019 Today’s Game ballot, the one via which Lee Smith was elected unanimously and Harold Baines received 75%; two years earlier, Piniella received 43.8%. Johnson was among the seven candidates who received “five or fewer” votes on the 2019 ballot, and likewise for the ’17 one, though it’s reasonable to surmise he was at or near the head of the pack among the also-rans, given that he keeps getting picked for ballots ahead of alternatives who recently gained eligibility, such as Leyland in 2019 and Mike Scioscia this year.

White received “fewer than three votes” on the 2010 Veterans Committee ballot for Executives and Pioneers; nobody was elected via that group, though Marvin Miller and Jacob Ruppert subsequently gained entry. Managers and umpires were considered separately that year, the final one before the Veterans Committee was restructured into the original trio of Era Committees. White was also considered twice via the expanded Veterans Committee ballots voted upon by all living Hall of Famers (and various and sundry others), receiving 28.4% in 2003 and 29.3% in ’07; nobody was elected via either of those ballots.

That 2010 Veterans Committee was the last time non-players were considered separately from players, though even with the recent restructuring, pre-1980 candidates of all types are lumped together. The mixing generally satisfies nobody, as it can create backlogs of overly qualified candidates and make it tougher for other candidates to get a shot. No manager has been elected since 2014, when Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, and Joe Torre were all unanimously elected, with the nine other candidates (including Miller, Steinbrenner, and manager Billy Martin) each receiving six or fewer votes; since then, post-integration managers are 0-for-6. Contemporary executives have had more recent success, with John Schuerholz and Bud Selig elected via the 2017 Today’s Game ballot and Miller via the 2020 Modern Baseball ballot. Hank O’Day was the last umpire elected via the 2013 Pre-Integration ballot.

I’ll have more to say about all of these candidates at some point after the World Series, but here’s a brief overview of the eight.

Cito Gaston

After an 11-year major league career (1967–78) that included time in the Braves outfield with Henry Aaron and Dusty Baker (separately, alas) and an All-Star appearance with the Padres, Gaston became a hitting coach and then manager of the Blue Jays for two separate stints (1989–97, 2008–10). During the first one, he led Toronto to four division titles and became the first Black manager to win a World Series in 1992, then led the franchise to a repeat in ’93.

Jim Leyland

In a 22-year career following seven years as a light-hitting catcher in the minors, Leyland managed the Pirates (1986–96), Marlins (1997–98), Rockies (1999), and Tigers (2006–13) to a total of eight postseason appearances. He won three division titles with the Barry Bonds-era Pirates and the 1997 World Series with the Marlins, and after a six-year retirement following a dismal year with the Rockies, he came back to lead the Tigers to four playoff appearances, including pennants in 2006 and ’12. His 1,769 wins as a manager rank 18th all-time.

Davey Johnson

Johnson only managed 14 full seasons and parts of three others with the Mets (1984–90), Reds (1993–95), Orioles (1996–97), Dodgers (1999-2000), and Nationals (2011-13) but finished below second in a full season just once. From among his six division titles and one Wild Card berth, he’s best known for leading the Mets to the 1986 World Series win and the Nationals to their first playoff berth in 2012. Among AL/NL managers whose careers crossed into the 20th or 21st century and who managed at least 1,000 games, his .562 winning percentage ranks 10th.

Lou Piniella

After an 18-year major league career that spanned from 1964 to ’84 and included World Series rings with the 1977 and ’78 Yankees, Piniella spent 21 full seasons and parts of two others managing the Yankees (1986–87, ’88), Reds (1990–92), Mariners (1993–2002), Devil Rays (2003–05), and Cubs (2007–10). He led the Reds to a 1990 championship but could not get any of his other teams — including the 116-win 2001 Mariners — back to the World Series despite five additional division titles and a Wild Card appearance. He’s 17th all-time with 1,835 wins.

Ed Montague

Montague spent 35 seasons as an umpire, working exclusively in the NL (1974, ’76–99) and then in both leagues (2000–10) once they were combined into a common pool. He worked in seven World Series and is one of just four umpires who served as crew chief for at least three World Series and as home plate umpire for at least three All-Star Games. His 4,369 regular-season games as an umpire rank 13th all-time.

Joe West

A polarizing figure who was involved in numerous confrontations and controversies with players and managers, West spent 24 years as an NL umpire (1976–99) and then another 20 as a major league umpire (2002–21), working in six World Series. Despite missing two seasons in between those stretches after participating in a mass resignation during a labor dispute, he set all-time records with 43 seasons and 5,460 games umpired, breaking marks previously held by Bill Klem. He’s the first umpire to reach the ballot from a period where we can track his performance thanks to instant replay and Statcast, which may not work in his favor.

Hank Peters

In a career that spanned over four decades, from 1946 to ’91, Peters helped lay the groundwork for two powerhouses: the mid-1970s A’s as an executive with their Kansas City forerunners, and the mid-1990s Cleveland squad as the team’s president and general manager from ’87 to ’91. In the latter capacity, he drafted Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez, and traded Joe Carter in a blockbuster that brought back Sandy Alomar Jr. snd Carlos Baerga. His main claim to fame, however, was as the GM of the Orioles from 1975 to ’87. During that time, he navigated the dawn of free agency and made key trades that helped the team win at least 90 games six times, highlighted by a pennant in 1979 and a championship in ’83.

Bill White

After a 13-year playing career (1956–69) that included five All-Star appearances and a championship with the Cardinals, White spent 18 years as a broadcaster for the Yankees and for national networks; he was the first regular Black play-by-play announcer for a major league team. His pioneering continued when he was elected to become the National League president in 1989, making him the first high-ranking Black executive in any major sport. He served in that post through 1994.

Of the group, I favor Leyland among the managers, viewing his credentials as the strongest, but wouldn’t be surprised if Piniella builds upon past support to gain entry. For all of the negativity that is likely to surround West’s candidacy as far as the public goes, I suspect his longevity will be rewarded with election as well.

Brooklyn-based Jay Jaffe is a senior writer for FanGraphs, the author of The Cooperstown Casebook (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017) and the creator of the JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score) metric for Hall of Fame analysis. He founded the Futility Infielder website (2001), was a columnist for Baseball Prospectus (2005-2012) and a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated (2012-2018). He has been a recurring guest on MLB Network and a member of the BBWAA since 2011, and a Hall of Fame voter since 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jay_jaffe... and BlueSky

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7 months ago

It would be nice to see Leyland & Pinella get in. I think both are deserving & it would also clear up a potential backlog with older managers like Francona, Dusty Baker, Bochy, etc likely hitting the ballot the next time or 2 around.

Mike Scioscia is still hanging around, is possibly Joe Maddon.

I think Davey Johnson is just short. Just not enough years.

I’d vote for Bill White as a trailblazer. Hank Peters is interesting, not sure what to make of him, though he certainly had a long career. & again there are a bunch of older guys that could start popping up soon- Beane, Dombrowski, Schuerholz, etc.

I can’t see voting for an umpire, but, that’s just me.

7 months ago
Reply to  PC1970

I’d vote for umpires but then I’d also vote for stadium architects, groundskeepers, pitching and hitting coaches, analysts, designers of batting machines and all the other people who made a big impact. I think all of the greatest at these jobs are more deserving than Trevor Hoffman, Jim Rice or Tommy McCarthy. I’d vote for Sadaharu Oh and Lourdes Gurriel Sr and Ross Barnes. But that’s just me and don’t expect any significant numbers of people to agree

7 months ago
Reply to  Ivan_Grushenko

If you’re going down that path, Bill James is the 1st person that should be in.

In fact, he should be in anyway. Tough to think of anyone over the last 40+ years that has done more to increase the understanding of the game, changed how people view what is important, etc. than he has.

7 months ago
Reply to  Ivan_Grushenko

You are so right! Let me be the first to cast a vote for Joe Mooney.

7 months ago
Reply to  Ivan_Grushenko

I’d even vote for Ukrainian to Vietnamese to French. Changing baseball through especially funny comments on FanGraphs.

7 months ago
Reply to  PC1970

I’m a huge Davey Johnson fan. It didn’t matter where you put him, his teams won a lot. Only one ring but he was very innovative, a proto-analytics guy. Really, the second proto-analytics guy after Earl Weaver (who was his manager).

I would absolutely vote for him. I know Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox get all the love in the 80s and 90s but I would take Johnson over either one.

The Duke
7 months ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

I agree. His teams were always good.