Former Brooklyn Dodgers pitching star Don Newcombe is among 12 first-time candidates for election to the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals.
The Shrine of the Eternals is similar in concept to the annual elections held for the Baseball Hall of Fame, but differs philosophically in that statistical accomplishment is not a criterion for election, according to Terry Cannon, the executive director of the Baseball Reliquary, a Southern California-based organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history.
The Shrine’s ballot is comprised of individuals — from the obscure to the well-known — who have altered the baseball world in ways that supersede statistics.
Newcombe was the National League MVP in 1956 and won the inaugural Cy Young Award that season when it covered all of Major League Baseball. Separate awards for the top pitchers in both the American and National League began being presented in 1967.
Newcombe was 27-7 in 1956, leading the National League in victories, winning percentage (.794) and fewest walks and hits per inning (0.989) as the Brooklyn Dodgers won their second consecutive pennant and sixth in 10 years.
Newcombe was the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 1949, and was the only player to be an MVP, Cy Young Award winner and Rookie of the Year until 2011 when Justin Verlander was selected as the American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner, five years after he was the league’s Rookie of the Year.
Another first-timer on this year’s ballot is David Tracy, a Manhattan psychologist who boasted that his novel relaxation and focusing techniques could turn the perennially woeful St. Louis Browns into winners.
Tracy was hired to instill confidence, through hypnosis, in the woeful team. In the first game after Tracy’s initial sessions, June 6, 1950, the Browns lost to the Boston Red Sox, 20-4. The Browns lost 29-4 the following day, marking the end of Tracy’s work with the team.
The three candidates receiving the highest percentage of votes from the Baseball Reliquary’s membership gain automatic election.
Sportscaster Bob Costas, who finished fourth in the voting for the 2015 Shrine of the Eternals class, is again on the ballot.
—City News Service