Baseball Hall of Fame Welcomes Historic Class of 2015 to Cooperstown

Posted: January 13, 2015 in News
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By Steven Inman Spring 2013 014

In what was considered to be one of the greatest hall of fame ballots in modern baseball history, four players were elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Pedro Martinez, Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz will all be inducted in a momentous celebration in Cooperstown on July 26th as part of the 2015 Hall of Fame class.

Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz each got into the Hall on their first try. Biggio was elected on his third attempt after falling just two votes shy last January. Biggio, who spent his entire career all over the diamond with the Houston Astros admitted he was worried about the verdict after getting so close last year. “I was a nervous dog this morning. I haven’t been this anxious in a long time,” Biggio said. “Maybe it does mean a little bit more this year.” Biggio said to the Buffalo News.

Randy Johnson goes into the Hall as the tallest player to ever get into Cooperstown, shattering the old benchmark made by the 6-foot-6 Dave Winfield. “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,” Johnson said in an article by the Buffalo News. “In order to do that, you have to be consistent with your release point and where you’re landing and your arm slot and all that. For someone 6-1, 6-2, there’s less body to keep under control, so it’s a lot easier.”

It’s ironic that Johnson will go into the Hall the same year that 5-foot-11 Pedro Martinez will. Martinez was told constantly as a young flame throwing prospect that he was too small and frail to handle the workload of a starting pitcher. After 18 big league seasons, all as a starter, it’s safe to assume the doubters were incorrect.

Martinez is only the second Dominican born player to ever get into the Hall of Fame. Only the great Juan Marichal hailed from the Dominican Republic and got into Cooperstown before Pedro.

John Smoltz will be reunited with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine when he joins the two former Braves in the Hall this July. Atlanta’s former “Big 3” helped form one of the most dynamic starting rotations of all time and were vital to the Braves 1995 World Championship over the Cleveland Indians.

The last time four players were inducted in one year was the class of 1955, headlined by Joe DiMaggio. This baseball story evolved throughout the day amongst fans, going from joy and excitement for these four players to anger and confusion on who didn’t make the cut.

The closest player who did not get in was former catcher Mike Piazza. Piazza, 46, was denied entrance into the Hall of Fame for the third straight year despite getting 69.9 percent of votes. To get into Cooperstown a player needs 75% of votes by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Piazza played in 16 big league seasons and hit the most home runs by a catcher in baseball history with 427 long balls. The former 62nd round pick also leads all catchers with a .545 SLG %.

Piazza needs at least 28 voters to change their mind on him if he wants to get in on next year’s ballot. Piazza’s chances have suffered due to allegations of performance enhancing drug use during his career.

Piazza isn’t the only player with Hall Of Fame numbers not to get in due to PED Allegations. Elite players such as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire’s chances to enter the Hall of Fame look very slim. First time vote getter Gary Sheffield, who hit over 500 homers in his career also received just 11.7% of votes due to allegations of PED use. Sheffield, a 9-time All Star, was listed in the Mitchell Report in 2007, which will cost him along with most alleged steroid users any chance to get into the Hall someday.

Despite an incredible career, Carlos Delgado did get much consideration for the Hall Of Fame

Despite an incredible career, Carlos Delgado did get much consideration for the Hall Of Fame

The most notable player to be exiled off the ballot for future years would be Carlos Delgado. Delgado, 42, enjoyed a strong career where he hit 473 dingers and drove in 1512 RBI across 17 seasons as a big leaguer. There weren’t allegations that the former first basemen took illegal substances. Delgado made just two All-Star teams in his career and only received 3.8% of votes. A player must get at least 5% of votes to stay on the following years ballot.

The class of 2016 should also be exciting as former stars such as Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman enter the ballot for the first time.

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