Hall of Fame Class of 2015
|Ballots Cast: 549||Needed for Election: 412|
*All candidates in italics received less than 5% of the vote on ballots cast and will be removed from future BBWAA consideration
I never really liked to stand in front of all of you and talk about what I was doing. I enjoyed doing those things but that’s what I was getting paid to do, that’s what I worked hard to do, and so the Hall of Fame was never something that I surely ever thought about. I just really enjoyed playing the game. I truly did.
Johnson signed a four-year deal with the Diamondbacks, and the second-year club instantly gained credibility – not to mention a legitimate ace. From 1999-2002, Johnson captured four straight National League Cy Young Awards, three ERA titles and struck out at least 334 batters each season. The ultimate triumph came in 2001 when Johnson was 21-6 in the regular season, then posted a 3-0 record in the World Series – sharing the Most Valuable Player honors with Curt Schilling and leading Arizona to a seven-game series win over the Yankees.
Johnson remained with the Diamondbacks through the 2004 season before Arizona traded the 41-year-old fireballer to the Yankees. Johnson won 34 games in two seasons with New York before heading back to the Diamondbacks for two more seasons. He finished his career in 2009 with the Giants, where he won his 300th career game.
By some standards, 2000 was even better. Martinez went 18-6 that year with a 1.74 ERA and 284 strikeouts. He allowed just 128 hits in 217 innings pitched en route to a WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched) of 0.737 – by far the best single-season mark in big league history. He accomplished all this in one of the most prolific offensive eras in baseball history and pitching on a home field (Fenway Park) that ranks as one of the most hitter-friendly in the game’s history.
Martinez capped 2000 by winning his third Cy Young Award in four years. He battled shoulder problems in 2001, but rebounded in 2002 with a 20-4 record, again leading the AL in ERA (2.26) and strikeouts (239). He finished second in the Cy Young Award voting, becoming the first pitcher to lead his league in ERA, WHIP (0.923), strikeouts and winning percentage (.833) and not win the Cy Young.
I’m very honored and I dedicate it to every fan out there and every teammate that I played for.
After leading the league again in WHIP, ERA and winning percentage in 2003 en route to a 14-4 mark, Martinez began showing wear and tear in 2004 – posting a 3.90 ERA while going 16-9. But Martinez still finished fourth in the Cy Young Award voting – and helped the Red Sox end 86 years of frustration when they captured the World Series title for the first time since 1918. Martinez’s seven shutout innings in Game 3 on the road in St. Louis gave the Sox a commanding 3-games-to-0 lead and effectively wrapped up the title.
“This is an honor that I could not have anticipated when I started playing baseball and even today. I think it will hit me when I get there. I’m not comfortable with titles but I’m relishing this one and I will for the rest of my life.
After almost two seasons toiling in the Tigers’ minor league farm system, the 20-year-old Smoltz was acquired by Atlanta Braves general manager Bobby Cox for veteran pitcher Doyle Alexander on August 12, 1987. At the time of the transaction, Smoltz was 4-10 with a 5.68 ERA pitching for the Double-A Glens Falls Tigers of the Eastern League, while Alexander, 36, was a 16-year veteran with a 5-10 record and a 4.13 ERA in 16 starts for the Braves.
In 1987, Alexander went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA during his seven weeks with a Detroit team that would qualify for the postseason, but the Tigers would lose in the ALCS to the Twins in five games. By the next year, and after only a half-season at Triple-A Richmond, Smoltz was pitching in the majors, finishing with a 2-7 won-loss record. Only one season later, he was pitching in the All-Star Game.
Over his first five full seasons, from 1989 to 1993, Smoltz averaged 14 wins, 34 starts and 182 strikeouts with a 3.42 ERA. This stretch also included the Braves’ remarkable 1991 campaign, a worst-to-first season in which Atlanta lost an epic seven-game World Series title to the Minnesota Twins. The ’91 Fall Classic is arguably most remembered for Jack Morris’ 10-inning masterpiece in Game 7, shutting out the Braves, 1-0, where Smoltz tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings while earning a no-decision.
Smoltz’s pitching repertoire included a trio of exceptional pitches: an impressive fastball, a slider that veered away from right-handed batters, and a splitter that darted under the swings of left-handed batters.
After 159 wins as a stalwart starting pitcher for the Braves, the versatile Smoltz began anew as the team’s closer and the results were superb. Finishing out the 2001 season as the team’s new fireman, he had 10 saves in 11 chances with a 1.59 ERA.
In 2002, his first full season in the closer role, Smoltz set the NL record by converting 55 saves (tied by the Dodgers’ Eric Gagne in 2003). Similar to his success as a starting pitcher, he would dominate his new role in the bullpen by saving 154 games in 168 opportunities in his 3½ seasons as an elite closer. Injuries continued to be a concern during this period as well, as he suffered from right elbow tendinitis in 2003 and had right elbow surgery in October 2004 to clean up scar tissue.
This is something that is very overwhelming and humbling. To be part of an organization for 20 years is something for me that was really special and I loved being part of, so obviously getting to go in the Hall of Fame as an Astro is something that I’m very, very proud of for my family, the organization and most of all for the fans.
Biggio made the virtually unprecedented move look easy. From 1993-99, Biggio grew into more power at the plate without sacrificing his speed. He averaged better than 17 homers and 33 steals a year while averaging more than 116 runs scored per season as Houston’s leadoff hitter. He also continued to thump doubles at a record pace en route to 668 for his career – good for fifth on the all-time list.
Then in 2003, Biggio again changed positions – this time heading to center field when Jeff Kent came to Houston as a free agent. Biggio spent two years in the outfield before moving back to second base for the final three years of his career.