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Criteria


CRITERIA

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Criteria


CRITERIA

 
 

The Six Criteria for Election

According to the Rules for Election to the Hall of Fame, the Golden Era Committee voting is based upon the candidate’s:

  1. Record
  2. Ability    
  3. Integrity
  4. Sportsmanship
  5. Character
  6. Contribution to the game

 

Previous photo: October 1955, celebrating the Dodgers’ first World Series championship with Don Newcombe’s father James (L) and Roy Campanella.

 
 
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Record


RECORD

Record


RECORD

 
 

Record

Bavasi’s impact on the three clubs he served was dramatic and transformational.

  • Under Bavasi the Dodgers won their first World Series in 1955. During his 17 seasons with the club, the Dodgers won a total of 4 World Series championships and 8 National League pennants—two-thirds of the Dodgers’ total World Series championships and nearly half (8 of 18) of their pennants.
  • Bavasi’s reputation and influence helped secure a franchise for San Diego in 1968. “I doubt there’d be baseball in San Diego without Buzzie,” said Roger Craig, a former Dodgers player and Padres manager. “He was the big guy who’d done it in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. When Buzzie Bavasi talked, you listened.”
  • The Angels went 18 seasons without winning their division. Under Bavasi they won their first two American League West titles (1979 & 1982).
  • Among Hall of Fame MLB executives:
    • Only Ed Barrow (10), George Weiss (7), and Connie Mack (5) won more World Series championships.
    • Bavasi’s 4 World Series championships and 8 pennants tie Branch Rickey’s record.
    • Bavasi’s record places him ahead of Pat Gillick (3 World Series championships, 3 pennants).
  • Among Hall of Fame Golden Era executives, in particular, Bavasi’s record is second only to George Weiss.
  • Among Golden Era executives not in the Hall of Fame, Bavasi’s record is approached only by Charles Finley (3 World Series championships, 3 pennants).
 
 
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Ability


ABILITY

Ability


ABILITY

 
 

Ability

Competitive and versatile. 

Bavasi was uncommonly skilled in both the business and baseball sides of the front office. Operating at the highest levels of baseball, he successfully navigated the waves of change that came to the game—integration, expansion, and free agency. His 60-year career demonstrates his ability to creatively adapt in each of Major League Baseball’s economic eras.

  • With Bavasi as general manager (1951-1967), the Dodgers, both in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, dominated the National League, finishing first (8 times), second (4 times), and third (once) in 13 out of 17 seasons. He built his teams with intense scouting, a highly productive farm system, and savvy trades—all with a much smaller budget than George Weiss’ Yankees. “He did a thoroughly brilliant job with the Dodgers, running an organization that was top-to-bottom excellent, for nearly 20 years,” said baseball historian Steve Treder.
  • As founding president/part-owner of the San Diego Padres (1968-1977), Bavasi built a strong front office while fostering community acceptance of the new franchise.  
  • In the early years of free agency, as executive vice-president/general manager of the California Angels (1977-1984), Bavasi transformed a struggling franchise into a contender that won the American League West (1979 & 1982). “Buzzie was one of those rare baseball icons.  His energy and enthusiasm were always contagious. It was a cherished opportunity to have been around him,” said Bobby Grich, the Angels’ All-Star second baseman.
  • In the 1990s Bavasi championed statistics-based technologies for evaluating player performance and consulted for ESPN’s SportsTicker’s groundbreaking baseball stats feed.

 

Previous image: March 1966, with two of his top stars, Don Drysdale (L) and Sandy Koufax. Bavasi’s intervention ended one of the most dramatic holdouts of the reserve clause era. Until Bavasi met with the pitchers, they reportedly planned to sit out the season to star in Hollywood films.

 

 
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Integrity


INTEGRITY

Integrity


INTEGRITY

 
 

Integrity

Doing the right thing. 

Branch Rickey handpicked Bavasi for a key role in the integration of Major League Baseball. Early in 1946, as Jackie Robinson was preparing to begin the season in Canada, Rickey signed additional promising black players and charged Bavasi with establishing a new farm club in the United States. As business manager of the Nashua (N.H.) Dodgers (Class B, New England League) Bavasi had mere weeks to prepare for the arrival of catcher Roy Campanella and pitcher Don Newcombe.

  • Bavasi, along with player/manager Walter Alston and scout Clyde Sukeforth, built a supportive clubhouse climate for the two players.
  • Bavasi worked closely with the community, the press, and the league to ensure acceptance of the club. He invited local war veterans to tryouts; he named Fred Dobens, managing editor of the Nashua Telegraph newspaper, as president of the club; and he stood up for his players, once challenging the manager—and the entire team—of the Lynn Red Sox over their racist bench jockeying.
  • Bavasi himself ensured that Campanella and Newcombe felt welcome. Newcombe never forgot the man who became a lifelong friend. (He named his first daughter after Buzzie’s wife, Evit).  “When Buzz went to Montreal, he took great care of me there, and in Brooklyn, too,” Newcombe said. “He was always in my corner. When my career was over, he gave me my first office job.  If it weren’t for Buzzie Bavasi, I’d have had nothing in baseball.”

Bavasi’s Nashua club thus became the first professional baseball team of the 20th century to field a racially integrated lineup in the U.S. The season proved a success. Campanella hit .291 with 13 home runs, and was voted MVP of both the team and the league; Newcombe went 14-4 with a 2.21 ERA; and the Nashua Dodgers won the New England League Governor’s Cup.

 

Previous image: 1956, with Don Newcombe.  Bavasi’s friendship with the pitcher transcended baseball.

 
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Sportsmanship


SPORTSMANSHIP

Sportsmanship


SPORTSMANSHIP

 
 

Sportsmanship

Built organizations known for their strong work ethic, longevity, and collegiality.

Bavasi worked as an at-will executive throughout his career, considering a handshake as good as a written contract. His legendary story telling built team spirit. “He made the game fun,” said Tom Villante, former Major League Baseball executive and longtime Dodgers associate. “Every ballplayer, scout, manager, coach or front office staffer who came in contact with him has a colorful Buzzie story.”

He was a very good baseball man who thoroughly knew the game and contributed a great deal to both the organizations he worked for, as well as the game itself,” said Hall of Fame first baseman Rod Carew, whom Bavasi brought to the Angels in 1979. “The organizations he worked for always came first in his mind, and he always tried to do the right thing for each of them.”

Throughout the Golden Era, Bavasi assembled a host of talent—from Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Ron Perranoski, Johnny Podres, and Don Sutton to Tommy Davis, Willie Davis, Ron Fairly, Jim Gilliam, Frank Howard, John Roseboro, and Maury Wills, including several Hall of Famers. He also encouraged countless players who went on to careers in other areas of baseball:

  • Major-league managers — Walter Alston, Sparky Anderson, Bob Boone, Bobby Cox, Roger Craig, Dave Garcia, Preston Gomez, Roy Hartsfield, Gil Hodges, Tom Lasorda, Jim Lefebvre, Jeff Torborg, Bobby Valentine, and Don Zimmer
  • Coaches — Jim Gilliam and Johnny Podres
  • Broadcasters — Don Drysdale, Wes Parker, Duke Snider, and Don Sutton
  • Executives — Bob Fontaine Sr., Bob Fontaine Jr., Gene Michael, and Mike Port

Bavasi’s four sons continue their father’s service to the game.  

  • GM, San Diego Padres; president, Toronto Blue Jays; president, Cleveland Indians — Peter Bavasi
  •  Executive vice-president and GM, Seattle Mariners and California/Anaheim Angels; player development director, Los Angeles Dodgers; co-chairman, U.S. Olympic Steering Committee; co-general manager, U.S. Olympic Baseball Team, Gold Medal; and currently VP of Scouting, Player Development and International Operations, Cincinnati Reds — Bill Bavasi
  • Longtime mayor of Flagstaff, Ariz.; member of the Cactus League Baseball Committee and the Arizona Baseball and Softball Commission — Chris Bavasi
  • Successful owners of minor league clubs, including the Everett AquaSox and the Marysville Gold Sox, and founders of the Horizon Air Summer Series — Margaret and Bob Bavasi

 

Previous image: 1962, announcing Walter Alston’s return for his 10th season as Dodger manager. The two paired as the club’s GM/field manager for 14 consecutive seasons.

 
 
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Character


CHARACTER

Character


CHARACTER

 
 

Character

Character may be the most complex criterion of all to evaluate.

 A candidate’s record, ability, integrity, and sportsmanship add up over time to his contribution to the game. Character, though, is difficult to quantify. The most reliable index of character is how one treats people, particularly under adversity. During World War II, Bavasi’s character was profoundly tested.  His citation for the Award of the Bronze Star reads, in part:

“Sergeant Bavasi has been an ever-inspiring influence to those with whom he worked, repeatedly distinguishing himself. During the counterattack of Mt. Battaglia (Italy), when the gun that he was operating had expended its ammunition, he voluntarily crawled fifty yards through fierce enemy mortar and small arms fire to another position where he secured the much needed ammunition and returned to his position in time to ward off another attack.

“On another occasion, he demonstrated his deep concern for his men when an enemy artillery barrage trapped the platoon. Sergeant Bavasi saw a seriously wounded man unable to move and boldly carried him through the deadly fire to safety. Sergeant Bavasi has won for himself the respect and admiration of all who know him.”
—James C. Fry, Colonel, Infantry, Commander

From Bavasi’s return to baseball in 1946 and throughout his career, he continued to demonstrate the character that was refined by his experiences on the battlefield. During their 14 seasons together, Bavasi’s confidence in Dodgers Manager Walter Alston never wavered, even when periodic calls for Alston’s dismissal reached fever pitch.

This was especially true in 1962, when the Dodgers blew a four-game lead to lose a playoff to the Giants. Bavasi so strongly believed in his field manager’s abilities that he stood behind him. Alston remained, went on to become one of baseball’s most successful managers, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1983.

 

Previous image: Bavasi Sports Partners, a family of baseball people, was founded in 2001. Pictured with Buzzie are (clockwise) Margaret, Bill, Bob, Peter and Chris Bavasi.

 
 
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Contribution


CONTRIBUTION TO THE GAME

Contribution


CONTRIBUTION TO THE GAME

 
 

Contribution to the Game

An enduring legacy.

Bavasi was profoundly involved with the evolution of organized baseball over the last half of the 20th century. He championed the integration of black players in Nashua, N.H., in 1946. He guided the Dodgers to their first four World Series championships and oversaw the club’s successful move to Los Angeles in 1958. He continued MLB’s expansion by establishing the Padres in San Diego in 1968.

Those entrusted with baseball’s past, present, and future hold Bavasi’s contributions in high regard.

“Buzzie was one of the game’s greatest front-office executives during a period that spanned parts of six different decades. In his years with the Dodgers, San Diego Padres and California Angels, Bavasi was enmeshed in enormous change. He championed the acceptance of black players in organized baseball, helped take Major League Baseball to California, put together an expansion team in San Diego and saw power shift from management to the players with the arrival of free agency.  He loved the game and he loved talking about it. Buzzie was a wonderful friend.  He always gave me good advice and had an excellent perspective on the issues of the day.”
—Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig

“His passion for and dedication to the game were unsurpassed, and I know he took great pride in seeing it prosper. He was an icon in Brooklyn as one of the architects of its only World Series title, and he took those winning ways west. He was a tremendous friend to the Hall of Fame on many levels, and I will personally miss our deep conversations about the game he loved so much.” —Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson

“Baseball,” Bavasi concluded at age 92, “is a game of friendships.” He never forgot that its people are why the game endures. His sense of family extended beyond blood ties.

“He was like a father to me. From the time I was 19 years old ... all my life, really.  I can’t describe how much he meant to me.”
—Don Zimmer, senior advisor, Tampa Bay Rays.

“Buzzie was everything to Don and to me—a confidant, a friend, and a surrogate father. When I took the GM’s job with the Phoenix Mercury, Buzzie was there for me. To be able to go to someone like him, who had been through the wars—that was huge.”
—Don Drysdale’s widow, Basketball Hall of Famer and broadcaster Ann Meyers Drysdale.

 

Previous image: Buzzie and Evit at their home in La Jolla, Calif., 2006. They were married 68 years at the time of Buzzie’s death on May 1, 2008, at age 93. Evit died February 10, 2011. She was 94. (Photo
by Haley Bavasi, granddaughter)