The Baseball Writers Association of America announced that they have elected four player to the Baseball Hall of Fame today to serve as the 2015 class.
Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio all surpassed the 75% voting threshold, and will represent the largest number of players elected from the BBWAA to the Hall in a single class since the BBWAA elected four in 1955, 60 years ago.
Mike Piazza (69.9%), Jeff Bagwell (55.7%), and Tim Raines (55%) were the first there players that did not reach the 75% threshold. In my mock Hall of Fame ballot, I voted for all three.
Johnson, Martinez, and Smoltz are three first-ballot Hall of Famers, while Biggio, who received 68.2% and 74.8% of the vote the last two seasons, will go in after three years on the ballot. Overall, the BBWAA chose the best four candidates for the Hall of Fame, and pretty easily as well.
Randy Johnson's name appeared on 97.3 percent of BBWAA ballots submitted, which is the eighth-highest percentage in the history of the balloting, behind Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr., Ty Cobb, George Brett, Hank Aaron, and Tony Gwynn. Martinez got 91.1 percent of the vote, while Smoltz and Biggio received 82.9 and 82.7 percent, respectively.
The 51-year-old Johnson won 300 games over his career, and has posted the highest career K/9 rate in MLB history. He struck out 4,875 hitters (2nd All-Time) in 22 big league seasons, spent mostly with the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks, both of whom may retire his number. Johnson is a five-time Cy Young award winner, four-time ERA champion, and nine-time strikeout champion.
The 43-year-old Martinez won 200 games over his brilliant career, while helping the Boston Red Sox win their first title since 1918 in 2004. Martinez boasts a 2.93 career ERA, while being crowned ERA champion five times, including a career best 1.74 ERA in 217 innings in 2000. Martinez is a three-time Cy Young award winner and lead the league in strikeouts thrice.
The 47-year-old Smoltz is the only player in MLB history with over 200 wins and 150 saves. Smoltz won a Cy Young award in 1996 as a starter, going 24-8 with a 2.94 ERA in a league-high 253 2/3 innings pitched. After being injured and having to sit out the 2000 season, Smoltz was converted to a relief pitcher, first taking on the closing role full-time in 2002, saving a league-high 55 games.
The 49-year-old Biggio is perhaps the best Astros player in the history of the organization, playing with the club from 1988 to 2007, his entire career. Biggio was a good player, but was good for a long time, totaling 3,060 hits, 1,844 runs, and a career 112 Adjusted OPS+ in 20 seasons. Biggio only totaled less than 100 hits in a season in 1988, when he went 26-for-123 in a short MLB stay. Rafael Palmiero, Derek Jeter, and Pete Rose remain as the only members of the 3,000 hits club not in the Hall of Fame.