The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced their newest members today. For the second year in a row, former New York Mets' catcher Mike Piazza will not be invited to the party. Piazza was not elected to the Hall of Fame again, receiving 62.2% of the vote. The Hall of Fame will admit former Braves' pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as well as Chicago White Sox' first baseman Frank Thomas. Maddux received 97.2% of the vote, falling 16 votes shy of unanimous election. Maddux was believed to have a chance to threaten former Met Tom Seaver's record for highest percentage of votes, but he finished with the eighth best percentage of all time.
Glavine, who spent five years with the Mets from 2003-2007, was the second person elected and received 91.7% of the vote. Glavine and Maddux become the first pitchers who began their careers after 1970 to be elected into the Hall of Fame. Thomas, a member of the 500 home run club, appeared on 83.7% of ballots to complete the class of players. The three will be joined by managers Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, and Tony La Russa at baseball's Hall of Fame weekend July 25th-28th in Cooperstown, New York.
As far as Piazza is concerned, it is disappointing news for him. Piazza denied use of steroids in his autobiography and hoped that would boost him into the Hall this year, but he appears to have been done in by two factors. The first of which is a strong first time class, which saw three players get elected ahead of him. Piazza also gets hurt by writers who don't feel that more than a certain number of players should be added to the Hall of Fame each year. The Hall of Fame had not had three players inducted off the writer's ballot since 1999 and hasn't had four players inducted off the ballot since 1955. Piazza is trending upward, which is encouraging, but he faces a tall order next year when another trio of great pitchers (Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz) are on the ballot for the first time.
Here are some other notes from this year's ballot:
- Craig Biggio, who was presumed to be a lock for induction this season, missed out for the second consecutive year when he only got 74.8% of the vote. Biggio missed out on induction by two votes, and he will surely be inducted ahead of Piazza next season.
- Jack Morris slid down to 61.5% in his last year of eligibility and will have to hope for induction by the Hall of Fame's expansion era committee in the future.
- Jeff Bagwell, a candidate with similar steroid rumors as Piazza, fell to 54.3% of the vote.
- Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens both lost ground in the voting this season.
- Rafael Palmeiro fell off the ballot entirely with 4.4% of the vote, making him the first confirmed steroid user to slide off the Hall of Fame ballot. Sammy Sosa may be next as he only picked up 7.2% of the vote this season.
- Former Mets Armando Benitez and Kenny Rogers each received one Hall of Fame vote before being dropped from the ballot.
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