The 2015 Baseball hall of fame class showed the way for Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio the way in, in a class dominated by three pitchers who all made it in on their first year of eligibility.
It was a bit more special for the 49-year old Biggio, playing quite a lot of positions throughout his 20-year career, making the All-Star game seven times, spending all of it with the Astros in Houston. Biggio makes it in on his third attempt, and was only two votes shy of making it in last year.
I haven’t been this excited or antsy or nervous in any baseball game I’ve ever played. I was real anxious and very grateful and humble to be able to be elected into the Hall of Fame. … I was so excited. I was crying, I ain’t going to lie. I’m 49 years old — I was an emotional mess when it happened. Then I asked them if it was a prank phone call.
Randy Johnson didn’t have a lot of trouble getting in. A five-time Cy Young winner and 10-time All-Star who led his league in strikeouts nine times during his career. He also had the best ERA four times, and received 97.3% of the votes, the 8th highest in the history of voting for the induction.
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. 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.
Pedro Martinez didn’t have the long career (22 seasons) Johnson had. He had 18 seasons, but not a lot of playing time in 1992 or in his final years, with injuries getting in the way. He managed to make the All-Star game eight times and a Cy Young winner in the American League with the Red Sox three times, leading Baseball in ERA five times, including a 1.74 season in 2000. He got in with 91.1% of the votes.
So many people in the Dominican Republic and so many people all over the world got to know me as a player but not as a person. What I mean to the Dominican Republic — it was a great honor to just have the opportunity to go on the first ballot.’
Smoltz had the same career span Johnson had, spending almost all of it with the Braves in Atlanta, part of a famous pitching trio that is now all in the hall of fame. He’s an 8-time All-Star and one-time Cy Young winner, becoming a relief pitcher after a year-long injury before returning to the starter role when getting close to his 40’s and beyond. He got 82.9% of the votes.
I’m honored, I’m humbled, and when the phone call came I was, for the first time ever, speechless. The only thing I think that all of us regret a little bit is that we didn’t execute enough to deliver enough championship rings, especially for our manager.
But not everyone is happy. Roger Clemens got 37.5% of the votes. Barry Bonds even less, voted by 36.8% of the voters. There seems to be a big chunk of voters who don’t want these players contaminating the hall of fame. They are punished for a certain era of baseball. We can’t know for sure who juiced during the 1990’s and who didn’t. The perception is that more than just those who were caught were dirty. But they seem to be moving on to the promised land, while Clemens, Bonds, Sammy Sosa and eventually also Alex Rodriguez will continue to be left out. Is it fair, when we’re quite sure a lot of other players weren’t “clean”? Not quite sure, but it’s not going to change any time soon.