by ANDREW HORN
The Baseball Writers Association of America released the results for the 2015 Hall of Fame elections. Pitchers Randy Johnson, John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez, along with former second baseman Craig Biggio are now officially hall of famers.
The four new members are part of the largest class since 1955. It is also the first time three pitchers have been elected in the same year. Each player, a legend in his own respect, was elected for more than being good. Here is a brief description on each player elected today.
Randy Johnson – LHP with Expos, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Yankees and Giants, 97.3% of vote
The “Big Unit” is now the big vote-getter. Johnson led all inductees in 2015 with 534 out of the 549 ballots cast in his name. Johnson’s percentage is good for eighth all-time and third for pitchers.
The result of Johnson’s 22-year career was possibly the greatest ever by a left handed pitcher. Johnson finished second in career strikeouts, only trailing Nolan Ryan. Johnson is also fifth all-time among left handed pitchers in wins. He led the MLB in strikeouts nine times, won five Cy Young awards, a perfect game in 2004 and exploded a bird during his time in the league.
Pedro Martinez – RHP with Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox, Mets and Phillies, 91.1% of vote
The former Red Sox standout was elected with 500 of 549 ballots, a slightly lower total than expected. The number is not that important because Martinez easily cleared the 75 percent threshold needed.
Martinez was the pitching version of Ken Griffey Jr. with a smooth delivery and a world of talent. Martinez posted two of the most prolific statistical seasons in history in 1999 and 2000.
In 1999, Martinez went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts. He also finished second in the MVP voting behind future Hall of Fame voter Ivan Rodriguez. The next year, Martinez went 18-6 with an astounding 1.74 ERA.
John Smoltz – RHP with Braves, Red Sox and Cardinals, 82.9% of vote
The former starter turned closer turned starter again will now add another accolade to his illustrious career: Hall of Famer. Smoltz garnered a solid 455 of the 549 ballots, a good total for a man who had a very good career.
Smoltz is the only pitcher in history with at least 200 wins and 150 saves. Smoltz was part of the three-headed pitching rotation for the Braves in the 1990’s. Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. Smoltz’s best season was by far 1996, when he led the league in wins (24), strikeouts (276) and K/9 (9.8). Smoltz is currently an analyst with Fox Sports.
Craig Biggio – Second Basemen for the Astros, 82.7% of vote
Alas, justice has been served. Biggio is elected to the Hall of Fame with 454 of the 549 ballots. Biggio is the only member of the 2015 class who is not a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Despite the controversy surrounding Biggio not being elected the previous two years, he was elected with relative ease this time around.
Biggio is 20th all-time in career hits with 3,060. Also in his 20 years with the Astros, Biggio was an all-star seven times, won four Gold Gloves and five Silver Slugger awards.
Biggio leads the Astros organization in career games played, at-bats, runs scored, hits, doubles and extra-base hits. Biggio is also second all-time in hit by pitches with 285. Another odd stat for Biggio is that he holds the record for most games played before first World Series appearance with 2,564.
All four of the aforementioned players are worthy of their inductions; however there are still many players eligible for election who will probably never receive the 75 percent needed.
The players who fit that category include Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. All four of these players, along with thousands of others who played during the 1990’s and 2000’s, are confirmed or at least suspected of using performance enhancing drugs at some point during their career.
Former pitcher Andy Pettite, a former teammate of Clemens, Biggio and Bagwell, is one of many pitchers to admit to using PED’s to recover from an injury while in Houston. Biggio has conquered the PED suspicions, but Bagwell has not eclipsed 60 percent in any vote. With a potentially crowded 2016 ballot headlined by Ken Griffey Jr., time is running thin for players suspected of using PED’s.
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