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Steinbrenner also was suspended by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn following a guilty plea to conspiring to make illegal contributions to the re-election campaign of President Richard Nixon. The suspensions, and jealousy at the Yankees‘ wealth, could have been factors in the decision.

“It’s kind of like, if Glass had $200 million a year in Kansas City, he’d probably be a winner, too,” Bench said.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman thinks Steinbrenner’s election only is a matter of time.

“He’s a Hall of Famer,” he said. “They just haven’t made it official yet.”

Gillick was GM of Toronto, Baltimore, Seattle and Philadelphia, winning World Series titles with the Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993, and with the Phillies in 2008. He thanked all the people he’s worked with over the years.

“It all goes back to the players they have on the field,” he said. “I could stand in the middle of the field and 4 million people aren’t going to show up.”

Gillick will be inducted into Cooperstown during ceremonies on July 24 along with any players chosen next month by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Roberto Alomar, who helped Gillick’s Blue Jays win two World Series, also could be inducted. Alomar fell eight votes shy last January in his first season of eligibility.

Gillick is the 32nd executive elected but only the fourth who was primarily a team architect, according to the Hall, joining Ed Barrow, Branch Rickey and George Weiss.

“His skill for identifying talent and knowing how to build a successful roster is exceptional,” Selig said. “Pat has always believed in scouting and player development, and I know that he will accept this extraordinary honor on behalf of all the scouts he has worked with throughout his career.”

Now 73, Gillick is the son of minor league pitcher Larry Gillick. Pat Gillick pitched in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization from 1959-63. Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog, a member of this year’s Veterans Committee, remembered Gillick as “a wild lefty.”

Gillick started with the Houston Colt .45s-Astros from 1963-73, then was the Yankees scouting director from 1974-76. He served as GM of Toronto (1977-94), Baltimore (1996-98), Seattle (2000-03) and Philadelphia (2006-08). He currently is a Phillies senior adviser.

Gillick rejected the statistical Sabermetric approach used by some current GMs.

“I think you have to watch the game,” he said. “The statistics tell you one thing and they don’t want anything happening emotionally on the field or anything on the field to really tinker with those statistics sometimes. So I think you have to use both. … I think you have to see the player and you have to see him on the field _ how he plays the game. Is he intense? Does he have passion? Get his body language. See how he interacts with the other players on the team.”