Wait was worth it for baseball's three new Hall of Fame electees

A disparate trio of former players were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week. There was shortstop Luis Aparicio, a nimble defensive genius whose speed and quickness made him a terror on the basepaths; first and third baseman Harmon Killebrew, a powerfully built slugger who walloped 40 or more home runs eight times; and pitcher Don Drysdale, a rangy right-hander with a side-arm delivery that kept batters back on their heels.

To be eligible for the annual election, a player must be retired at least five years. To gain entry to the Cooperstown, N.Y. shrine, he must be named on 75 percent of the ballots cast by baseball writers.

Aparicio, who received 341 of the necessary 303 votes, was elected in his sixth year of eligibility; Killebrew, with 335 votes, in his fourth year; and Drysdale, with 316 votes, in his 10th year. ''If it had been 40 years, it would have been worth the wait,'' said Killebrew expressing a mutual sentiment.

A Venezuelan, Aparicio spent his 18-year American League career with the White Sox, Orioles, and Red Sox. He led the league in stolen bases nine times.

Despite a .256 lifetime average, Killebrew holds the AL home run record for right-handed batters with 573, most of which were hit with Washington and Minnesota. Drysdale joined Sandy Koufax to form a tremendous 1-2 hurling punch for the Los Angeles Dodgers. During the 1968 season he set a major league record with six straight shutouts and 58 consecutive scoreless innings.

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