Writers Elect Four to the Hall for the First Time in 60 Years
Three pitchers who combined to win nine Cy Young Awards and a member of Major League Baseball’s 3,000 Hit Club were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in balloting by the BBWAA verified by Ernst & Young.
Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz became the first trio of pitchers honored by the BBWAA in the same election. Each was on the ballot for the first time, which created a precedent with three first-ballot candidates elected in consecutive years, following that of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas in 2014. Craig Biggio, who missed election last year by two votes, gained entry in this year’s election in his third time on the ballot. They will be inducted July 26 as part of the Hall’s Induction Weekend July 24-27 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Johnson, a five-time Cy Young Award winner with the Seattle Mariners in 1995 and with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002, was the leading vote getter with 534 of the 549 ballots, including one blank, cast by senior members of the BBWAA, writers with 10 or more consecutive years of service. It represented 97.3 percent of the vote, the eighth highest plurality in the history of balloting, topped only by Tom Seaver (98.94), Nolan Ryan (98.7), Cal Ripken Jr. (98.5), Ty Cobb (98.2), George Brett (98.2), Hank Aaron (97.8) and Tony Gwynn (97.6).
Candidates must be named on 75 percent of ballots submitted to gain election. Martinez, who won the Cy Young Award with the Montreal Expos in 1997 and with the Boston Red Sox in 1999 and 2000, received 500 votes (91.9). Smoltz, the 1996 National League Cy Young Award winner with the Atlanta Braves, got 455 votes (82.9), one more than Biggio (82.7), all of whose 3,060 career hits were with the Houston Astros.
The previous time four players were elected in the same year was 1955 (Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Dazzy Vance, Ted Lyons). The only other year four players were chosen by the writers was in 1947 (Lefty Grove, Carl Hubbell, Mickey Cochrane, Frankie Frisch). The class of 1939 had four players, but only three (George Sisler, Eddie Collins, Willie Keeler) were in the BBWAA election. Lou Gehrig, forced to retire because of illness, was selected by the writers in acclamation in a special election at that year’s Winter Meetings.
This year was the first time since 1954-55 that three or more players were elected in consecutive years. In 1954, Bill Dickey, Bill Terry and Rabbit Maranville were elected. The first vote in 1936 was the only time five players (Cobb, Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson) were elected. In addition to the past two years and the first election, the only other time three players made the grade in their first year on the ballot was in 1999 (Nolan Ryan, George Brett, Robin Yount).
Falling 28 votes shy of the 412 required for election this year was catcher Mike Piazza, whose vote total represented 69.9 percent. The only other players to be named on more than half the ballots were first baseman Jeff Bagwell (55.7) and outfielder Tim Raines (55.0). Players may remain on the ballot provided they receive at least five percent of the vote for up to 10 years.
Others who qualified for future consideration were pitcher Curt Schilling (39.2), pitcher Roger Clemens (37.5), outfielder Barry Bonds (36.8), relief pitcher Lee Smith (30.2), infielder-designated hitter Edgar Martinez (27.0), shortstop Alan Trammell (25.1), pitcher Mike Mussina (24.6), second baseman Jeff Kent (14.0), first baseman Fred McGriff (12.9), outfielder Larry Walker (11.8), outfielder Gary Sheffield (11.7), first baseman Mark McGwire (10.0), outfielder Sammy Sosa (6.6) and shortstop Nomar Garciapiarra (5.5). In his final year on the ballot, first baseman Don Mattingly received 50 votes (9.1) and will be eligible for consideration by the Expansion Era Committee in two years.
The Hall of Fame now has 310 elected members, including 215 players, of which 119 have come through the BBWAA ballot.
Randy Johnson 534 (97.3), Pedro Martinez 500 (91.1), John Smoltz 455 (82.9), Craig Biggio 454 (82.7), Mike Piazza 384 (69.9), Jeff Bagwell 306 (55.7), Tim Raines 302 (55.0), Curt Schilling 215 (39.2), Roger Clemens 206 (37.5), Barry Bonds 202 (36.8), Lee Smith 166 (30.2), Edgar Martinez 148 (27.0), Alan Trammell 138 (25.1), Mike Mussina 135 (24.6), Jeff Kent 77 (14.0), Fred McGriff 71 (12.9), Larry Walker 65 (11.8), Gary Sheffield 64 (11.7), Mark McGwire 55 (10.0), Don Mattingly 50 (9.1), Sammy Sosa 36 (6.6), Nomar Garciaparra 30 (5.5), Carlos Delgado 21 (3.8), Troy Percival 4 (0.7), Aaron Boone 2 (0.4), Tom Gordon 2 (0.4), Darin Erstad 1 (0.2), Rich Aurilia 0, Tony Clark 0, Jermaine Dye 0, Cliff Floyd 0, Brian Giles 0, Eddie Guardado 0, Jason Schmidt 0.
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