The four newest inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame were announced on Tuesday, and it’s the biggest class to be welcomed into Cooperstown in 60 years.
Pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz join second baseman Craig Biggio in the class of 2015. This was the first year that the trio of pitchers were eligible for the hall, and Biggio received enough votes this year (his third year eligible) after coming up just two votes short in last year’s vote. In order to be inducted, a player needs to garner a 75 percent vote share among ballots cast by the Baseball Writers Association of America. There were 549 votes cast this year, so a player needed to obtain 412 votes to enter the hall.
Randy Johnson, one of the most physically imposing pitchers of all time at 6 feet 10 inches tall, obtained the highest vote tally in this year’s hall of fame vote. The five-time Cy Young Award winner received 534 votes out of the 549 votes cast, a share of 97.3 percent (the eighth highest in hall of fame history). Though he was one of baseball’s most successful pitchers throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Johnson remained quite modest in the wake of the announcement.
“The Hall of Fame was never something that I surely ever thought about. I don’t think people quite understand how difficult it is to be 6-foot-10 and be throwing a ball 60 feet, 6 inches away.”
Pedro Martinez received the second largest sum of votes in this year’s hall of fame balloting, with an impressive 500 votes or 91.1 percent share. Best remembered as the ace pitcher on the 2004 World Series champion Boston Red Sox, the three-time Cy Young winner dedicated his hall of fame nod to his home country, the Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic...this is for you!!!!!! Dominicanos esto es para ustedes!!! pic.twitter.com/zYEsPrS6aZ— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) January 6, 2015
Rounding out this year’s hall of fame class were John Smoltz and Craig Biggio. Smoltz, a 1995 World Series champion with the Atlanta Braves and 1996 Cy Young Award winner, is the only pitcher ever with over 200 wins and 150 saves. He was inducted to the hall on 455 ballots (82.9 percent vote share). Smoltz told the MLB Network of his initial reaction to the hall of fame news.
“I’m honored, I’m humbled, and when the phone call came I was, for the first time ever, speechless.”
Biggio, the only non-pitcher inducted in this year’s hall of fame class, was voted in on 454 ballots (82.7 percent vote share). Something of an anomaly in an era of free agency, Biggio played all 20 seasons of his MLB career for the Houston Astros. The new inductee tallied 3,060 hits during a career that included five Silver Slugger awards and 4 Gold Glove awards.
For those curious, sluggers Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and pitcher Roger Clemens again failed to acquire the votes needed for induction, with Clemens coming the closest at 206 votes (a 37.5 percent vote share, far below the 75 percent needed).
This year’s new inductees will be enshrined at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, on July 26.
[Photo via SBNation]