The doors to baseball's Hall of Fame remained shut to this year's Golden Era committee candidates.

Nine players and one executive whose primary contributions were from 1947-72 all failed to receive the 75 percent of the vote needed for election.

"The results today are a reminder that election to the Hall of Fame is incredibly difficult and the highest honor an individual can receive in baseball," Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark said after the voting was announced Monday at the annual winter meetings.

Tony Oliva and Dick Allen came closest, each receiving 11 of 16 votes, just one shy of the 75 percent needed for election. Jim Kaat appeared on 10 ballots, Maury Wills nine and Minnie Minoso eight.

Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Billy Pierce and Luis Tiant each received three or fewer votes, as did the late Cincinnati Reds general manager, Bob Howsam.

Each voter was allowed to choose up to four candidates in a secret ballot, meaning there were 64 possible votes in all.

Voters who deliberated at Sunday's confidential committee meeting included Hall of Famers Jim Bunning, Rod Carew, Pat Gillick, Ferguson Jenkins, Al Kaline, Joe Morgan, Ozzie Smith and Don Sutton; baseball executives Jim Frey, David Glass, Roland Hemond and Bob Watson; and media members Steve Hirdt, Dick Kaegel, Phil Pepe and Tracy Ringolsby.

"It was a very, very difficult decision for each and every member of the committee in this process," said Gillick, an executive in the Hall. "I think there were very, very healthy conversations on each candidate — the pros and and cons — and most of the conversation yesterday was on the very, very positive of these candidates. It's just unfortunate that one or two didn't get in. I am disappointed, but again it points out how very, very difficult it is to earn a plaque in Cooperstown."

The Golden Era committee met for the second time since the Veterans' Committee was reformatted in 2010 panels to consider three distinct eras. In 2011, Chicago Cubs great Ron Santo was elected by the Golden Era panel. Managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa were unanimously elected last year by the Expansion Era committee.

The pre-Pre-Integration Era committee, which considers candidates whose primary contributions were through 1946, gathers at next year's winter meetings in Nashville, Tennessee. The Expansion Era committee (1973 and later) votes again at the 2016 winter meetings in Washington, D.C.

The Hall is constantly evaluating its procedures. Last summer it cut a player's eligibility from 15 years to 10 on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot, just the second change in voting rules since 1985. The BBWAA failed to elect a player in 2013.

Don't expect a knee-jerk reaction to no one being elected by a Veterans' committee for the first time since 2007.

"I think we need to take the results of not only this year but the past elections under this format and go back and have time to look at it and see if it still addresses the purpose of the Veterans' committee as it's laid out by era — by how the ballot's composed of players, managers, umpires and see if it's still viable," Clark said.

"The board never takes for granted that our procedures are perfect going forward," she added. "We are always looking, we are always trying to make it better and we are always trying, most importantly, to uphold the standard of the National Baseball Hall of Fame."

The BBWAA will announce its vote Jan. 6. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz are the top newcomers. Craig Biggio, who fell two votes short of the 75 percent needed in the 2014 balloting, tops holdovers that include Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines.

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