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Baines Almost Bounced From Ballot

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 14, 2008 3:12PM

2008_01_sports_baines.jpgWho among us hasn't accidentally forgotten to do something that we then really feel guilty about? Like maybe failing to call our Mom on her birthday? Or forgetting to include one of our favorites on our Hall of Fame ballot and almost seeing him forever dropped from the ballot?

OK, so maybe we don't yet have to worry about the former quite yet, but Phil Rogers wasn't so lucky. The Tribune baseball columnist felt the need to issue a mea culpa after realizing he accidentally left former White Sox star Harold Baines off his ballot this year.

As expected, Baines was nowhere close to being elected to the Hall of Fame this year. But he needs to be named on at least five percent to remain on the active ballot for the following year's vote. In his inaugural year on the ballot in 2006, he received 29 votes -- including Rogers'. That 5.3 percent vote kept him alive for the '07 vote. But between the time the ballots were mailed in and the new inductees were announced, Rogers realized he'd included one name fewer than intended and feared he'd be responsible for Baines' banishment from future ballots.

Fortunately for Baines (and Rogers), he received 28 votes and slipped by with the slimmest of possible margins. He may never ultimately be deemed HOF worthy, but at least Phil Rogers can breathe a little easier knowing it's not his fault.

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