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Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame

Jan 8, 2014, 2:05 PM EDT

Cooperstown

The 2014 induction class of the Baseball Hall of Fame was announced Wednesday afternoon and Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas are on their way to Cooperstown.

Players must be named on 75% of the Baseball Writers Association of America’s ballots to get in. Maddux was named on 97.2%, Glavine 91.9% and Thomas 83.7%. The highest total for a non-electee went to Craig Biggio who fell just short at 74.8%. The full results can be seen here.

This summer’s induction will mark the first time since 1999 that three players were selected by the baseball writers. That year saw George Brett, Nolan Ryan and Robin Yount make the cut. The last time as many as four made it in via the writers’ ballot was 1955, when Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Dazzy Vance and Ted Lyons made it in.  In all, six men will be on the stage in Cooperstown, as Maddux, Glavine and Thomas will be inducted alongside Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre, all of whom were unanimously selected by the Veteran’s Committee in December.

MORE: The PED Eight — players who continue to be denied induction

But while this year’s induction class will be big by historical standards, the names of the players who did not gain induction are pretty big themselves. Craig Biggio had over 3,000 hits in his career and did everything one can do on a baseball diamond, yet somehow continues to be on the outside looking in. Baseball’s all-time home run leader, Barry Bonds, is in the cold as well, as is seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens. Mike Piazza, perhaps the greatest hitting catcher in the game’s history will have to face the voters again next winter, as will Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Jeff Kent and several others who, if you go by historical standards, fit in quite well alongside current inductees and dwarf the accomplishments of a great many of them.

Of course, historical standards are no longer operative given that the players currently under consideration plied their trade during the so-called Steroids Era and thus either took performance enhancing drugs (e.g. Bonds at 34.7% and Clemens at 35.4%) or, in the case of some, are merely suspected of doing so, often based on little if any evidence other than the number of home runs they hit or the company they kept (e.g. Jeff Bagwell, at 54.3% and Piazza at 62.2%). In the case of others, such as Tim Raines (46.1%) and Mike Mussina (20.3%), the ballot logjam occasioned by so many strong candidates lingering on the ballot for many years combined with the fact that voters can only select ten players, is squeezing them out. We will be discussing the particular cases of these players and the role of PEDs in the Hall of Fame process later today at HardballTalk.

MORE: Who was BBWWA member who sold vote to Deadspin?

But better to be overlooked or squeezed out than to fall off the ballot entirely. Such is fate for Jack Morris, who received 61.5% of the vote on his fifteenth and final time up for election. Multiple other players fell short of 5% of the vote and, per Hall of Fame rules, will not be eligible for election by the baseball writers again. Of these, only Rafael Palmeiro, who received 4.4%, actually had arguable Hall of Fame credentials. Morris and the rest will now be fodder for the Veteran’s Committee in future years.

But oversights and eliminations notwithstanding, this year’s induction class is strong by any measure. And given that last year’s induction class included absolutely no one who had been alive since 1930, it looks especially strong with reference to recent precedent.

131 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. jimmyt - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    I love the way writers and fans that admire cheaters are calling it “the so-called Steroids Era” instead of “the Steroids Era” like it did not happen. It did, and all these old timers are going to stick to their guns and not let them in. I bet the players themselves don’t really care all that much.

    • stex52 - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      they call it the “So-called Steroids Era” because it was the 90’s. The actual Steroids era was the 50’s to the 90’s, including most if not all of your favorite “old timers.”

      • tominma - Jan 8, 2014 at 3:06 PM

        Documentation???

      • grumpyoleman - Jan 8, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        tominma – Hank took a greenie once and several players were caught drinking mountain dew.

      • cur68 - Jan 8, 2014 at 4:31 PM

        tominma (and you too, grumpy): Use the words “steroids in sports, history”. Also, “development of anabolic steroids”. Throw that in a google browser and read all day. There’s so much freely available information that corroborates PRECISELY what stex said that to be unaware of it is to be either lazy or wilfully ignorant.

  2. sportsdrenched - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    Oh sweet! Some baseball news to talk about.

    • tominma - Jan 8, 2014 at 9:23 PM

      I STILL don’t see documentation!! In my view, the maker of the statements is bound to produce the proof. I am aware that “speed” was used, especially on the road. Travel was FAR more difficult and tiring. So the used Amphetamines to give them a thee necessary energy. It really didn’t affect their performance but it did give them the energy to perform. That’s a lot different the anabolic steroids!

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:00 PM

        It really didn’t affect their performance but it did give them the energy to perform. That’s a lot different the anabolic steroids!

        And now you are making a claim that there was a large difference. [citation needed]

  3. jrob23 - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    Three well deserved HOFers. Congrats to them. Bonds should be in, but that is it. Now I have to look up who should join Bonds from the new 2015 electees.

    • cohnjusack - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      Huh? I get the “Bonds should be in” part, but not the “but that is it”. What arguments merit Bonds that don’t also apply to Clemens?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 8, 2014 at 4:09 PM

        Clemens was a horrible hitter and Bonds was one of the best ever? Sorry, it’s all I got.

  4. wogggs - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    At least some people got in. It is still sad that Bagwell, Piazza, Biggio, Kent and others I am probably forgetting will have to wait another year, at least.

    • braxtonrob - Jan 8, 2014 at 8:47 PM

      @wogggs, I agree with you, and I’m guessing you don’t watch much American League baseball, lol.

      • wogggs - Jan 8, 2014 at 9:00 PM

        I actually watch tons of AL ball. My two favorite teams? Oakland and KC…

  5. wpjohnson - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    Excellent. The writers showed a lot more respect for the true greats and knowledge of the game than do most of the posters on here. This is the Hall of Fame and not the Hall of Good Players. Too many medi9ocre players are in there already. Why add more?

    As for Maddux’s vote total, it is fine. Ruth, Cobb, Wagner, Johnson, and Mathewson weren’t unanimous. Maddux didn’t need to be unanimous.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      Again, you think Frank Thomas isn’t worthy of the HOF. I’d watch who you call idiots after saying that.

    • cohnjusack - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      This is the Hall of Fame and not the Hall of Good Players. Too many medi9ocre players are in there already. Why add more?

      Because it would be a really weird Hall of Fame is it honored the best 1.5% of players from 1890-1980, but only the top 0.1% of players from 1981-forever.

  6. bat42boy - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    Congratulations to all three of these players. They desire this supreme recognition of there accomplishments on the field as well as off the field. My only sad note on this honor is that Pete Rose is not joining them. Rose is by far the one with the best credentials to join the Hall of Fame. My grand kids will not know of his accomplishments and what he brought to game of baseball. If Ty Cobb is in so should the great Pete Rose, Mr. Hustle!!!

    • cohnjusack - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      My grand kids will not know of his accomplishments and what he brought to game of baseball.

      Is the only source of your grandchildren’s baseball knowledge the plaque room at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown? Because that is the only circumstance in which this sentence makes any sense at all.

      • snarkk - Jan 8, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        Pete bet on baseball games as a manager. He violated the Number One, unbreakable rule in baseball. Then lied about it for well over a decade, until time to sell a book. You can’t potentially be in hock for $100Gs to Tony Soprano when you’re a manager of a MLB team, and can control how your team plays. Period. He’s out, and must stay out…

    • jaturso - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:53 PM

      umm.. it’s ‘Charlie Hustle’. I don’t know who this ‘Mr. Hustle’ you’re talking about is, but it ain’t Pete Rose.

      • aceshigh11 - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        Umm, his name is CHARLIE ROSE. He works for PBS.

        You’re thinking of defensive back Pete Hunter.

        Sheesh. You people.

        (I’m kidding, before I get a bunch of thumbs downs)

  7. sabatimus - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Reprieve, Reprieve! Curfew shall not ring tonight, Mr Morris!

  8. phantomspaceman - Jan 8, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    You know what’s funny? Before this year the last starting pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame was Nolan Ryan in 1999. Now, here we are 15 years later with 2 going in. Next year Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson will be on the ballot and I have to believe they’re also going in. Through all of the “X-Batter’s steroids infused numbers destroyed the game and thus should be forgotten about” talk, we have 4 pitchers who each dominated the game in their own way during the same era. I feel like there’s something to be said about that. I’m not sure what, but something…

  9. scmorg1974 - Jan 8, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    ED-GAR!!! ED-GAR!!! I know too early and he was mainly a DH, but look at his stats and tell me he is not deserving.

  10. threatlevelxmidnight - Jan 8, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    Seriously!?! No votes for Richie Sexon? WTF?

  11. schmedley69 - Jan 8, 2014 at 7:50 PM

    I hope that Glavine thanks the Umps during his acceptance speech. Without them giving him the pitches 3 inches off the plate, he doesn’t sniff the HOF.

  12. naturalwonders - Jan 8, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    The manifest problem with Bonds, Clemens, and the other steroid users is that that wasn’t THEM out there, it was a chemically souped up version. Therefore any records they compiled are illusory…and who wants illusions of greatness in the Hall of Fame.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:07 PM

      PED use has been prevalent in baseball since the 60s. Do you have the same feelings towards Mays, Aaron, Mantle, et al?

      • naturalwonders - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:35 PM

        “They all did it” is a silly and rather rickety argument. Do you have the same feelings towards a man who – when he was a child – once pocketed a candy bar without paying for it as you do towards an armed robber? It’s a difference of kind and degree. When people saw Koufax, Aaron, Mantle, Musial, Williams, and DiMaggio on the field I’m pretty sure it was really THEM they were seeing, and not some chemically-enhanced version. We all need heros, but Bonds and Clemens don’t fit the mold. Forget about them, and let them languish in the obscurity they so richly deserve.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:56 PM

        When people saw Koufax, Aaron, Mantle, Musial, Williams, and DiMaggio on the field I’m pretty sure it was really THEM they were seeing, and not some chemically-enhanced version.

        Considering amphetamines are a chemical enhancement, I’d say you’re wrong.

    • cur68 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      Dude, you have some real logic fails here. You castigate Bonds et al for PEDS yet gloss over older players who DID THE SAME THING. WTF?

  13. baseballlifestyle101 - Jan 9, 2014 at 6:46 AM

    Reblogged this on Baseball Lifestyle101.

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