The number of American Legion Baseball alumni enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame will increase to 86 — at least — when Jim Leyland joins the Hall next July.
Leyland, who played Legion Baseball for Post 183 in Pemberville, Ohio, was the sole selection to the Hall of Fame by the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee for the Class of 2024. Leyland’s selection was announced Dec. 3 at Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn.
Leyland could be joined by two more Legion Baseball alumni in the Class of 2024 if Matt Holliday (Stillwater, Okla.) and Gary Sheffield (Post 248/Tampa, Fla.) are selected by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) on their ballot. Voting results for the writers’ ballot will be announced Jan. 23, with the induction ceremony taking place during Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y., July 21, 2024.
Leyland was one of eight former managers, executives and umpires on the ballot for consideration by the 16-member Contemporary Baseball Era Committee. Leyland appeared on 15 of the 16 ballots; 12 votes were needed for enshrinement.
Another Legion Baseball alumnus, Lou Piniella (West Tampa), came up one vote shy of joining Leyland in the Hall of Fame. Former National League President Bill White was the only other candidate to receive double-digit votes, with 10.
Also on the ballot were managers Cito Gaston and Davey Johnson; umpires Ed Montague and Joe West; and former general manager Hank Peters.
The eight candidates were selected by the BBWAA-appointed Historical Overview Committee from a pool of eligible candidates whose most significant career impact occurred after 1980.
Leyland told MLB Network, “It’s the highest honor you can get in our business, and I’m just thrilled, excited, surprised, flattered. All those words come into play when you’re thinking about this.”
Leyland won 1,769 games in 22 seasons as a manager with the Pirates, Marlins, Rockies and Tigers, winning the 1997 World Series in the Marlins’ fifth year of existence. He also managed Team USA to the 2017 World Baseball Classic title — four years after retiring from major league managing. Leyland was a three-time Manager of the Year, with Pittsburgh in 1990 and 1992 and with Detroit in 2006.