It’s now official for the first time since 1971 there will be six living inductees to Major League Baseball’s Hall-of-Fame. This includes three players along with the three managers, Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussaand Joe Torre, who were voted into the hall in December 2013. The three players inducted into MLB’s HOF for the class of 2014 are pitcher Greg Maddux, pitcher Tom Glavine and first baseman and long-time designated hitter Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas.
Last year’s Major League Baseball Hall-of-Fame announcement came and went rather quickly, leaving the baseball world in shock. It was the first year in baseball history that absolutely no one, living or deceased, was elected into the hall at Cooperstown, NY. Of course it had to do with the issue of performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) and their rampant use during the 1990′s. Many of the eligible players had and still have that stigma attached to their names, that asterisk that will most likely haunt them forever regardless of their induction or not. In 2013, the only players to come close to the 75% of the vote needed for induction were Craig Biggio with 68.2% and pitcher Jack Morris with 67.7%. This year marks Biggio’s second year on the ballot and he came in just shy of induction with 74.8% of the vote. Morris actually lost votes from last year even with it being his 15th and final chance to become a member of baseball’s most elite club.
This morning all eyes were on Greg Maddux. There was talk, until MLB.com writer Ken Gurnick made his ballot public, that Maddux would make history by getting voted in unanimously. With that opportunity gone, Maddux still had a chance to make history by eclipsing Tom Seaver who was elected with 98.84% of the vote. Maddux, who played for the Chicago Cubs, most notably the Atlanta Braves, and the Los Angeles Dodgers over the course of his 22-year big league career, received 97.2% of the vote from the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). Maddux’s resume is most certainly incredible. He accumulated 355 wins, won 4 consecutive Cy Young Awards and was an eight-time All-Star. Maddux is one of only ten pitchers to have over 300 career wins and 3,000 strike outs. He also won a record-setting 18 Gold Gloves as well as being the only player ever to win at least 15 games over 17 straight seasons. Needless to say he will now be immortalized where he belongs, in Cooperstown, NY.
The second player elected to the HOF today was part of one of baseball’s greatest pitching duos on the Atlanta Braves, alongside Greg Maddux. Tom Glavine spent the majority of his career vying for Cy Young Awards with his teammate taking home two in 1991 and 1998. Glavine, a ten-time All Star, was also a four-time Silver Slugger. He was MVP of the World Series in 1995 with the Braves winning both games two and six of the series. In his game six performance he pitched eight innings of one-hit shutout baseball with the only run in that game coming off a home run by his teammate David Justice. Glavine also played in four other World Series (1991, 1992, 1996, 1999) with the Braves and achieved success as a member of the New York Mets, playing there from 2003-2007, making two of his All-Star appearances during that span. He returned to the Braves for his final season in 2008.
The third and final player receiving baseball’s highest honor is one of the only players to spend the majority of his career as a designated hitter (he also played first base), playing for the Chicago White Sox from 1990-2005, the Toronto Blue Jays in 2007-2008 and had two stints with the Oakland Athletics in 2006 and again in 2008. Nicknamed “The Big Hurt” because of his powerful swing and home run hitting abilities, Frank Thomas was a menacing presence in the batter’s box. Thomas was a five-time All-Star, two-time American League MVP (1993, 1994), four-time Silver Slugger, the AL batting champion in 1997 and the 2000 Comeback Player of the Year. But his real accomplishments lie in his overall numbers. He is tied for 18th all-time with 521 home runs and has a lifetime career batting average of .301. He is the only player to play seven consecutive seasons hitting over 20 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 walks while maintaining a .300 batting average. His final MLB game was played with the Oakland Athletics on August 29, 2008. He went 2-4 even after having spent most of the season on the disabled list.
This year’s Hall of Fame announcement far eclipses last year’s. With six living inductees, three managers and three players there is a lot to celebrate in the baseball world. The induction festivities and ceremony which will take place in Cooperstown from July 25-28 will be one for the ages.
For more on the MLB Hall of Fame Announcement check out MLB Nation.