The Baseball Hall of Fame will grow by three this summer.
Former Atlanta Braves teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, as well as slugger Frank Thomas, easily reached the 75% threshold in the vote by baseball writers. Steroids-era players such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire all saw their support drop.
For only the second time since the first National Baseball Hall of Fame class in 1936, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America elected three players in their first year of eligibility to the Hall of Fame in balloting verified by Ernst & Young.
Maddux, Glavine and Thomas (IB/DH) all cleared the threshold to gain election to the Hall of Fame and will be inducted in ceremonies July 25-28 in Cooperstown.
So it appears to be a “Brave” summer as Maddux and Glavine will be joined by their former manager Bobby Cox, who was elected by the newly-formed veterans’ committee along with fellow managers Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre, a former Braves’ player (Milwaukee and Atlanta).
Maddux was the leading vote getter with 555 votes of the 571 ballots, including one blank, cast by senior members of the BBWAA, writers with 10 or more consecutive years of service. That represented 97.2% of the vote. Glavine received 525 votes (91.9%) and Thomas 478 (83.7%). It marked the first time that three first-ballot nominees were elected since Nolan Ryan, George Brett and Robin Yount in 1999.
Craig Biggio missed the 75% cutoff point of 429 by two votes, tying Nellie Fox in 1985 and Pie Traynor in 1947 for the smallest margin in balloting history. Traynor was elected in 1948. Fox was in his last year on the ballot and was subsequently elected by the Veterans Committee in 1997. It was Biggio’s second year on the ballot. Players may remain on the ballot for up to 15 years provided they receive 5% of the vote.
Pitcher Jack Morris received 351 votes (61.5%) in his final year on the ballot and will be eligible for the Expansion Era Committee consideration in the fall of 2016. Players receiving sufficient support to remain on the BBWAA ballot were 1B Jeff Bagwell (54.3%), OF Tim Raines (46.1%), RHP Roger Clemens (35.4%), OF Barry Bonds (34.7%), RP Lee Smith (29.9%), RHP Curt Schilling (29.2%), DH/3B Edgar Martinez (25.2%), SS Alan Trammell (20.8%), RHP Mike Mussina (20.3%), 2B Jeff Kent (15.2%), 1B Fred McGriff (11.7%), 1B Mark McGwire (11.0%), OF Larry Walker (10.2%), 1B Don Mattingly (8.2) and OF Sammy Sosa (7.2).
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Maddux and Glavine are the first pair of Hall of Fame classmates both to record voting percentages in the 90th-percentile since 2007 with Cal Ripken Jr. (98.5) and Tony Gwynn (97.6). Overall it is the fifth time in Hall of Fame voting history that classmates have recorded 90th-percentile totals, joining 1936 (Ty Cobb 98.2 Honus Wagner 95.1, Babe Ruth 95.1, Christy Mathewson 90.7); 1989 (Johnny Bench 96.4, Carl Yastrzemski 94.6); 1999 (Ryan – 98.8, Brett – 98.29) and 2007.
Thomas is the first Hall of Famer to have played a majority of games at the DH position. He appeared in 2,322 career games, with 1,310 coming as a DH, (56.4%). Paul Molitor, who was elected in 2004, played 44 percent of his games as a DH.
Maddux and Glavine are the first pair of 300-game winners elected in the same year since 1973 – Warren Spahn (363) and Mickey Welch (307). The only other time two 300-game winners were elected in the same year was in 1936 when the BBWAA chose Walter Johnson (417) and Christy Mathewson (373). Maddux and Glavine are the first pair of living 300-game winners elected to the Hall of Fame in the same year.
The election of Maddux and Glavine marks the first time since 1992 that two former big league starting pitchers entered the Hall in the same class. That year Tom Seaver was elected by the BBWAA and Hal Newhouser by the Veterans Committee. The last time two former big league starting pitchers were elected in the same year by the BBWAA was 1991 – Ferguson Jenkins and Gaylord Perry.
Jenkins and Perry were also prior members of the same rotation to be elected together, having pitched albeit for only part of each season with the Texas Rangers in 1975 and 1980. The last time two big league starters that pitched at least one whole season in the same rotation were elected to the Hall of Fame was 1946; Jack Chesbro and Rube Waddell took regular turns in the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation in 1900. Another member of the Class of 1946, Eddie Plank, was in the Philadelphia Athletics rotation with Waddell from 1902-07.
Greg Maddux 555 (97.2%), Tom Glavine 525 (91.9), Frank Thomas 478 (83.7), Craig Biggio 427 (74.8), Mike Piazza 355 (62.2), Jack Morris 351 (61.5), Jeff Bagwell 310 (54.3), Tim Raines 263 (46.1), Roger Clemens 202 (35.4), Barry Bonds 198 (34.7), Lee Smith 171 (29.9), Curt Schilling 167 (29.2), Edgar Martinez 144 (25.2), Alan Trammell 119 (20.8), Mike Mussina 116 (20.3), Jeff Kent 87 (15.2), Fred McGriff 67 (11.7), Mark McGwire 63 (11.0), Larry Walker 58 (10.2), Don Mattingly 47 (8.2), Sammy Sosa 41 (7.2), Rafael Palmeiro 25 (4.4), Moises Alou 6 (1.1), Hideo Nomo 6 (1.1), Luis Gonzalez 5 (0.9), Eric Gagne 2 (0.4), J.T. Snow 2 (0.4), Armando Benitez 1 (0.2), Jacque Jones 1 (0.2), Kenny Rogers 1 (0.2), Sean Casey 0, Ray Durham 0, Todd Jones 0, Paul Lo Duca 0, Richie Sexson 0, Mike Timlin 0.