Around the League: 2015 Hall of Fame Class Announced
By Mike Franz
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
On Tuesday morning, the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame election class was announced as voted by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. This year’s induction class is sure to go down as a memorable one. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio are part of the the first four-man election class since 1955.
The three pitchers were elected in their first time on the ballot, while Biggio was elected in his third year.
Randy Johnson received most of the vote from the BBWAA at 97.3 percent. During his 22 years in the Majors, Johnson owned a career 3.29 ERA with 4875 strikeouts. He has 303 career wins with 100 complete games and 37 shutouts.
Johnson won five Cy Young Awards (1995, 1999-2002). He was also a 10-time All-Star and the 2001 World Series MVP. During his only World Series appearance, he maintained a 1.04 ERA in 17 1/3 innings pitched with a 3-0 record.
Pedro Martinez received 91.1 percent of the vote from the BBWAA. Despite his 5′ 11” stature, Martinez was arguably the most intimidating pitcher in the League. He was never afraid to throw inside on a batter to back him off the plate.
Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Not only was Martinez intimidating, but he was also an effective pitcher. The three-time Cy Young Award winner owned a 2.93 ERA with a 1.054 WHIP and 3154 strikeouts. The eight-time All-Star also threw 46 complete games and 17 shutouts.
In his 18 years in the Major Leagues, Martinez spent seven seasons in Boston with the Red Sox (1998-2004). While with the Red Sox, Martinez owned a career-best 2.52 ERA with a 117-37 record with the Sox.
John Smoltz received 82.9 percent of the vote from the BBWAA. In his 21-year career, Smoltz owned a 3.33 career ERA with 213 career wins and 3084 strikeouts.
Smoltz played 20 of his 21 seasons in the Majors with the Atlanta Braves. When he is inducted in July, he will join former Braves, Bobby Cox, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, in the Hall of Fame.
The 1996 Cy Young Award winner threw 53 complete games and 16 shutouts. From 2002-2004, Smoltz did not start one game and became the Braves’ closer. In those three seasons, he saved 144 games with a League-leading 55 saves in 2002.
In 1997, Smoltz won the Silver Slugger Award among pitchers. That season he batted .228/.307/.266 with three doubles and four RBI. Smoltz was also a eight-time All-Star and helped the Braves win their second World Series title in 1995.
Craig Biggio received 82.7 percent of the vote from the BBWAA. Biggio played his entire 20-year Major League career with the Houston Astros.
Biggio was the ultimate utility player. In his career, he played in the outfield (.980 fielding percentage), behind the plate as catcher (.989 fielding percentage), and at second base (.984 fielding percentage).
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Biggio was also a phenomenal batter. With 3,060 career hits and a career .363 on-base percentage, he was any team’s ideal lead-off hitter. Biggio was a career .281 hitter as well.
Along with these stats, Biggio has four Gold Glove Awards and five Silver Slugger Awards on his baseball career resume.
The seven-time All-Star will join 24 other 3,000-hit players in the Hall of Fame in July. Biggio will be the only Hall of Famer with 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases, and 250 home runs.
This election class has a combined total of 33 All-Star Game selections and the combined amount of strikeouts between the three pitchers (at least 3,000 strikeouts each) is almost 20 percent of the entire members of the 3,000-strikeout club.
If Mike Piazza would have received 28 votes more, he would have joined this Hall of Fame class, making it an even more historic class.