Four New Inductees To Baseball Hall Of Fame

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Photo By EricEnfermero (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor

Four new inductees into baseball’s Hall of Fame were announced on Tuesday, the first time that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America elected four players in one year. The last time four players were elected in the same year was 1955, before the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWA) voting era. Among this year’s class of inductees are three pitchers who dominated throughout their careers and a member of the 3,000 hits club.

Randy Johnson, also known as “The Big Unit”, was elected in his first year on the ballot. He earned 97.3 percent of votes, the eighth-highest percentage in history. The left-hander won 303 games and racked up 4,875 strikeouts in his 22 seasons in the league. He was named World Series MVP in 2001 when he helped the Arizona Diamondbacks to their first ever title in their fourth year of existence. Johnson won five Cy Young Awards and made the All-Star Game 10 times while also pitching a no-hitter (6/2/90) and the MLB’s 17th perfect game (5/18/04).

Pedro Martinez, a right-handed pitcher who spent 18 seasons in the league with five different teams, was also elected in his first year on the ballot. He earned 91.1 percent of votes from baseball writers. The three-time Cy Young Award winner spent seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox, helping the team to a World Series title in 2004. His 219 wins are just one impressive aspect of a career that saw him make eight All-Star Games. Martinez is just the second player from the Dominican Republic to be named a Hall-of-Famer, joining Juan Marichal, who was enshrined in 1983.

Another pitcher being inducted in his first year on the ballot (82.9 percent) is John Smoltz, an eight-time all-star. Smoltz spent 20 of his 21 seasons with the Atlanta Braves, winning 213 games and picking up 154 saves. He is the only pitcher in MLB history to amass 200 wins and 150 saves in a career. “Smoltzie” owned a 15-4 record in the playoffs, reaching the World Series five times with the Braves, winning one in 1995. The next year, he won his only Cy Young Award.

The final 2015 inductee is Craig Biggio, who spent his entire 20-year career with the Houston Astros, playing second base, catcher and outfield. He enters the hall in his third year on the ballot (82.7 percent) after falling just two votes shy of the honor in 2014. Biggio is one of 28 players in the 3,000 hit club, ranking 21st with 3,060 hits. He played in the All-Star Game seven times, as well as winning five Silver Slugger Awards and four Gold Glove Awards (all at second base).

Stars with careers tainted by steroids such as Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and the all-time home runs leader Barry Bonds all earned less than 50 percent of votes, furthering the harsh reality that they may be left out of the Hall of Fame altogether. McGwire has just one year left on the ballot while Sosa, at 6.6 percent, only earned 1.6 percent more than required in order to stay on the ballot next year. Clemens and Bonds have plenty of time left on the ballot, but as of now, they are well short of the required 75 percent. It appears that the BBWA takes these performance-enhancing drug allegations into heavy consideration while casting their votes.

The four inductees will be officially inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York on July 26.