Tribe great Eddie Murray elected to baseball's Hall of Fame

By BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - Eddie Murray, the only switch-hitter with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, was elected Tuesday to baseball's Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Gary Carter finally made it on his sixth try.

Murray, who made his mark as a first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, became the 38th player picked as a first-timer. He easily exceeded the 75 percent necessary for election, getting chosen on
85 percent of the ballots (423 of 496).

No one else came close in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Carry-over candidates Bruce Sutter, Jim Rice and Andre Dawson got about 50 percent, and first-timers Ryne Sandberg and Lee Smith didn't reach that mark. Darryl Kile, the St. Louis pitcher who died last season, got token support.

Murray, currently the Cleveland Indians' hitting coach, was an eight-time All-Star and finished with 504 homers and 3,255 hits in 21 seasons. He batted .287 overall and hit 19 career grand slams,
second in major league history to Lou Gehrig's 23.

In 1983, he homered twice for the Orioles in the clinching Game 5 of the World Series against Philadelphia.

Murray (pictured, above) never led the league in hitting, homers or RBIs in a full season, was never an MVP and never was friendly with the media, the people who do the Hall voting. Still, his sheer numbers -- posted mostly before baseball's offensive outbursts -- made him an automatic pick.

Carter, an 11-time All-Star catcher, got in with 78 percent (387). He fell 11 votes short last year at 72.7 percent.

He played his first 11 seasons with Montreal and became the first person to have spent a significant portion of his career with the Expos to be elected.

Carter played five seasons with the New York Mets and helped lead them to the 1986 World Series title. A three-time Gold Glove winner, Carter got the two-out hit that started the Mets' incredible three-run rally in the bottom of the 10th inning to beat Boston in Game 6 of the Series. The Mets won the championship in Game 7.

He hit .262 with 324 homers and 1,225 RBIs in 19 seasons.

Induction ceremonies will be July 27 in Cooperstown, the village in upstate New York. Murray and Carter bring the Hall's total to 256 members.

The reconfigured Veterans Committee, which is considering former manager Whitey Herzog, former players' union head Marvin Miller and many others, will announce its voting results Feb. 26.

Pete Rose, ineligible for the ballot because he's on baseball's permanently banned list, received 18 write-in votes -- the same as last year. Rose and commissioner Bud Selig's aides have been negotiating terms of a possible reinstatement for the career hits leader.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)