Of course, Fox would pass away just 10 years after he finished his playing career in Houston. 1975 would be just five years into his HOF eligibility. He received just 21% of the writers' vote during the 1975 election. After his death, he jumped up to 44.8% in 1976. Unfortunately, he was still well short of the 75% required to gain induction. He would average 40 something percent until the 1984 vote where he received 61 %. He had just one more season left if eligibility in 1985 and by the votes it was obvious the writers knew about it. They seemed determined to get him induction, as he received 74.7% of the vote, just 2 votes shy of what was needed to get in.
After 1985, Fox was no longer eligible and needed to be elected on a special ballot by the veterans committee. A player compared very much to the likes of Fox was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1989, Red Schoendienst. Though Schoendienst was a very good player, he never received more than 42.6% of the vote while he was eligible. He did, however, win two World Series (1946 with St Louis and 1957 with Milwaukee) and one NL Pennant in 1958 with the Braves. Red also had 2449 hits, 78 3B and 606 walks for his career, all considerably less than what Fox had. His 346 Ks proved that he was a hitter who avoided the strikeout, but it was nowhere near what Fox did. Schoendienst also never won a Gold Glove and made the All Star team 10 times, as opposed to Fox who made it 12 times.
It was very wise for the Veterans Committee to finally come around and induct Fox in 1997. It was well overdue. He belongs in the Hall of Fame. While a lot of players who get in now on the VC are borderline, Fox is not. Especially if Schoendienst is. And I am not denouncing the fact that Schoendienst is also.