Ken Griffey Jr. aka The Kid and Mike Piazza are elected into the Hall of Fame
The 2016 National Baseball Hall of Fame class, as voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of American, will consist of center fielder Ken Griffey Jr and one of the game’s greatest catchers, Mike Piazza.
“The Kid” as Junior was usually called was an icon in Washington playing for the Seattle Mariners for the first 11 seasons of his career. I remember during the 1995 playoffs I actually rooted for Seattle because I had a total crush (at 14) on the kid with the big smile, big bat and backwards cap.
During his time with Seattle he was elected to the All-Star team 10 times, he won ten straight Gold Gloves, nine Silver Slugger Awards and was unanimously named MVP of the 1997 season in which he led the league in home runs with 56 and RBI with 147. He put up very similar numbers in ’98, having back to back 56 homer seasons but finished fourth in the MVP voting.
Junior moved his career to Cincinnati, his home town, were he played for eight seasons making the All-Star team three more times. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox by the Reds in 2008 and signed with the Mariners again for the 2009 season. He retired voluntarily on June 2, 2010.
The vote for Junior was almost unanimous with only three ballots not containing his name. His 99.3% set a new record overtaking Tom Seaver who was elected into the Hall by 98.84% of the vote in 1992. There’s been much speculation in regards to there ever being a player unanimous elected. People have speculated that it could be Mariano Rivera or Derek Jeter but there is really no way of knowing.
Famous New York Mets’ catcher Mike Piazza began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1993 . He was a six-time All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner during his time in LA. He was traded to the then-Florida Marlins in May of 1998 and just a week later was flipped to the Mets. In New York, Piazza made six more All-Star appearances while winning four more Silver Slugger Awards.
Piazza returned hope to the city of New York when play resumed after the tragedy of September 11. 2001. He hit the first home run since the disaster, at Shea Stadium. It was a career making moment, likely the best of his career.
He finished his career playing in San Diego in 2006 and although I never got to see him live in his prime, he finished his career in 2007 with my Oakland Athletics. I now have ANOTHER bobblehead of a Hall of Famer! 😉
The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America’s Voting Results
The IBWAA had already voted Piazza into their Hall of Fame last season. This season I was quite pleased to see that alongside Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez was also on the list. There’s controversy surrounding Martinez because he spent the majority of the career as a designated hitter, one of the best the game has ever seen next to the also great Frank Thomas aka “The Big Hurt.”
But this story isn’t about The Big Hurt – it’s about the question that has come up each year as some people think that being a DH doesn’t count as a being a player. In my own mind, if closers are allowed into the Hall of Fame, designated hitters should be as well. They may not play out in the field but they can be a catalyst for their team and Martinez was most definitely one.
Beloved by all of Seattle (he has a street named after him) Martinez spent his entire 18-year career as a member of the Seattle Mariners. He won two batting titles hitting .343 in 1992 and .356 in 1995. Martinez made seven All-Star appearances and won five Silver Slugger Awards.
He is currently the Mariners hitting coach and the only member of the coaching staff that was kept on by new general manager Jerry Dipoto. It was a smart move by DiPoto as Martinez is a fantastic hitter and a Mariners’ legend.
It may be the IBWAA and not the BBWAA who voted in Martinez, but that makes me proud. Obviously, the Internet Baseball Writers of America are smart enough not to discriminate over the position he played. He was an important part of each Mariners team he played on and deserves a nod into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. For now however, he’s a member of the IBWAA’s Hall of Fame! Congrats Edgar! (I’m a big, big fan!)