Major League Baseball announced at 2 p.m. EST on Tuesday that four former players will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in July. The new inductees include Mariners and Diamondbacks great Randy Johnson, Red Sox great Pedro Martinez, Braves ace John Smoltz, and Astros great Craig Biggio. It is the first time that four players were honored by the BBWAA in the same year since 1955, a year highlighted by Joe DiMaggio. It is also the first time three pitchers will be enshrined together and three first-ballot players are honored in consecutive years.
Randy Johnson led the way with 534 of 549 votes (97.3%), followed by Pedro Martinez with 500 votes (91.1), then John Smoltz with 455 votes (82.9), and finally Craig Biggio with 454 votes (82.7). Johnson received the eighth-highest percentage of votes behind Tom Seaver (98.9%), 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).
Randy Johnson was a ten-time All Star and a five-time Cy Young award winner with the Seattle Mariners in 1995 and the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. The Big Unit went 303-166 during his career with a 3.29 ERA and 4,875 strikeouts (2nd most all-time). He hurled no hitters and won Cy Young awards in both leagues. He played 23 seasons with the Montreal Expos, Mariners, Diamondbacks, New York Yankees, and San Francisco Giants, winning the 2001 World Series with the D-Backs. Johnson was on all but 15 ballots, leaving the question, "Who didn't vote for him and why?" It is unlikely we will see a player on 100% of the ballots, but fans can definetely make a case for Johnson.
Pedro Martinez was an eight-time All Star and a three-time Cy Young award winner with the Montreal Expos in 1997 and the Boston Red Sox in 1999 and 2000. Martinez went 219-100 in his career with a 2.93 ERA and 3,154 strikeouts. He also has the lowest WHIP of any starting pitcher during the live-ball era (1.05 WHIP). Martinez won one World Series in 2004 with the Red Sox. He played 18 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox, New York Mets, and Philadelphia Phillies. Martinez received 91.1% of the votes, which is surprising, with many believing he would be somewhere in the mid to high 90s.
John Smoltz was the third-highest vote getter as an eight-time All Star and one-time Cy Young award winner with the Atlanta Braves in 1996. "Smoltzie" had a 213-155 career record with 3.33 ERA, 3,084 strikeouts, and 154 saves, becoming the only pitch in MLB history with more than 200 wins and 150 saves. In 2002, he became only the second pitcher in MLB history with 20 wins and 50 saves in a season (the other is Dennis Eckersley). He was a part of the Braves' pitching core of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and himself. That trio led the Braves to a World Series title in 1995 among four other World Series appearances. Smoltz pitched 21 seasons, all but one for the Braves. In his final season of 2009, he split time with the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.
Craig Biggio is the final person to make the cut; he is also the only position player this year. Biggio recorded 3,060 hits, 291 HR, 1,175 RBIs, and 414 stolen bases. Biggio is a seven-time All Star who also won four Gold Glove awards and five Silver Slugger awards. Biggio started his career as a catcher and later converted into a second baseman and then an outfielder. Biggio ranks fifth on the All-time doubles list with 668. He also has the most doubles as a right-handed hitter and is the only player in the history of baseball with 3000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases, and 250 home runs. Biggio got the call to the Hall on his third year on the ballot after finishing just two votes short last year.
Some notable players that did not receive the minimum 75% of the necessary votes to be enrishined are Mike Piazza (who got 69.9%, missing the cut by 5.1%), Jeff Bagwell (55.7%), Tim Raines (55%), and Curt Schilling (39.2%). Former Yankee great and current Dodgers manager Don Mattingly received just 10% in his 15th and final year of eligibility, but he will be eligible for consideration in two years by the Expansion Era Committee.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemons, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa -- all players that have been linked to steroid use -- finished well short with 36.8%, 37.5%, 10%, and 6.6%, respectively. McGwire's final year on the ballot will be next year because of the 15-year limit dropping to just 10 years.
Some notable players falling completely off the ballot for failing to receive the minimum 5% are Aaron Boone and Tom Gordan (2 votes, 0.4%), Carlos Delgado (21 votes, 3.8%), and Jermaine Dye, Cliff Floyd, and Jason Schmidt (0 votes). Nomar Garciaparra just barely stayed on the ballot receiving 30 votes or 5.5%.