Four players will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015: pitchers Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz, as well as 3,000 Hit Club member Craig Biggio. The results of voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America was announced Tuesday. It’s the first time since 1955 that four players were elected in a single class.
Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz earned induction on their first tries, and Biggio made it on the third attempt after falling two votes short in 2014. In order to qualify for the Hall, a player’s name must appear on at least 75 percent of ballots submitted.
Randy Johnson, who won five Cy Young awards, 303 games and had 4,875 strikeouts in his career, landed on 97.3 percent of ballots. Martinez, who had three Cy Young awards, led the major leagues in earned run average (ERA) in five years, winning more than two-thirds of his games with a 219-100 record.
John Smoltz was on 82.9 percent of ballots. He had the most unique pitching career since perhaps Dennis Eckersley. The 1996 Cy Young winner, Smoltz went 213-155 as a starter before converting into a dominating closer, notching 154 saves. He’s the only pitcher in baseball history with at least 200 wins and 150 saves.
Biggio is the only player elected to the Hall this year who played his entire career with one team, spending 20 seasons with the Houston Astros. He played practically every position of importance in the field, notching 3,060 hits along the way. He appeared on 454 ballot this year, 42 more than needed to qualify and one less than Smoltz.
Among the notable players that came up short in 2015 were Mike Piazza, a long-time catcher who fell 28 votes short of the 75 percent threshold. Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Barry Bonds fell more than 200 votes short of earning a place in Cooperstown. However, they’ll continue to remain on the ballot.
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