Griffey, Piazza honored by Hall election
While no individual has ever been elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA as a unanimous choice, Griffey, in his first year eligible of eligibility, came the closest this year and set a new record by receiving 99.32 percent of the vote (received 437 votes out of 440 ballots cast). The previous mark belonged to pitcher Tom Seaver with 98.84 percent (received 425 votes out of 430 ballots cast) in 1992.
I am thrilled that Ken broke my record. I played with his dad and when I did, Junior was always running around the clubhouse. He had Hall of famer written all over him then.
“My thing is for somebody to do something for you, that says a lot about the guys who voted for me. I can’t be upset with the three writers who didn’t vote for me,” said Griffey on a conference call soon after the election results were made public. “It is truly an honor to be elected, and to have the highest percentage is definitely a shock because I don’t think that way. I was just hoping to get in the Hall of Fame. As long as you get in.”
As for Seaver’s reaction to the news, the righty stalwart said: “I am thrilled that Ken broke my record. I played with his dad and when I did, Junior was always running around the clubhouse. He had Hall of famer written all over him then."
While Griffey becomes the 51st player elected in their first year of eligibility, Piazza, in his fourth year on the BBWAA ballot, received votes on 83.0 percent of the ballots after getting 69.9 percent of the vote last year.
“I’m excited, nervous,” said the 46-year-old Griffey after being asked to deliver an opening statement to the media on the conference call. “It’s truly an honor. It was one of those things where I can control how I play but I can’t control what other people do for you. It was just a waiting game. But to get the call is unbelievable.”
Griffey would add that because he’s really superstitious, “I played two times at the Hall of Fame Game and I never stepped foot in the Hall of Fame. I said if I went in I’m going to go in as a member – and now I get to do it.”
“It’s just been an amazing run for me coming through the Dodgers and then New York. What an amazing life I’ve had in baseball. It’s truly a blessing. I’m very, very grateful to the writers for honoring me.”
Piazza was a 12-time All-Star who won the most Silver Slugger Awards (10) and hit the most home runs (396) of any catcher in big league history. A unanimous 1993 National League Rookie of the Year, he went on to finish in the Top 10 of NL MVP voting seven times.
The two new Hall of Famers started their professional careers with divergent expectations. Griffey was selected by the Mariners in the first round with the first overall pick in the 1987 amateur draft, the first Hall of Fame electee chosen with the No. 1 overall selection.
Bill Francis is a Library Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame