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Bolton part of process

February 28, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

Todd Bolton helped turn the 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame inductions from a solo act into a full-fledged party.

Bolton, of Smithsburg, was part of the 12-member committee which elected 17 Negro Leagues and pre-Negro Leagues players to Hall of Fame status on Monday in Tampa, Fla. They will join Bruce Sutter, the only person selected to the induction class by baseball writers in January.

It's a heck of a class," Bolton said. "I'm looking forward to July 30. Bruce Sutter will have some company."

The Negro Leagues selections included 12 players and five executives, including Effa Manley, a former team owner who will become the first woman to enter the Hall.

"That's ground-breaking for the Hall," Bolton said. "Effa Manley ... she truly was one of the pioneering owners in black baseball. She was put to a high standard by the committee and she met the standards. She elevated her race with her work."

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The 17 newest inductees came from a ballot of 39 names, which included Minnie Minoso and Buck O'Neil, the only living members on the list. Neither were selected. Inductees needed 75 percent of the vote - or nine votes - to earn enshrinement.

"There was no quota or restrictions on how many made it in off the ballot," Bolton said. "We had a 39-person ballot and not even half were put in. It's large because it was the first time we had accurate records to examine because people all over are doing research.

"Now all the folklore of these people over the years, is reality. We have numbers and we can be certain the standard of excellence was upheld for the Hall and the integrity of our committee."

In it all, Bolton has one regret.

"This class will nearly double the Negro Leagues members enshrined over the last 35 years," Bolton said. "Most of them are gone. Too bad we didn't do it sooner so they could have the chance to smell the roses."

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