Compete congratulates pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz and 2nd baseman Craig Biggio for being elected into National Baseball Hall of Fame (HOF) – the first time since 1955 that four players were selected in one year. Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz made it on their first year of eligibility while Biggio made it on his third try after being just two votes shy of making it last year. HOF members are selected by veteran members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).
The 6-foot-10 Johnson is a five-time Cy Young Award winner who has posted a career record of 303 wins and 4,875 strikeouts in addition to pitching two perfect games. The usually quiet, dour-looking pitcher said in an interview with the MLB Network that “The Hall of Fame was never something that I surely ever thought about.” And in a Phoenix television interview, the former Diamondback looked relaxed and was actually smiling. But that smile was probably prompted by the fact that his 97.3 percentage of votes made him the eighth-highest in the HOF voting history.
Martinez, who received 91.1 percent of the votes, became the second player from the Dominican Republic to be selected, the other being Juan Marichal in 1983. The three-time Cy Young winner was 219-100 and struck out 3,154 players; he also led the ML in ERAs five times and was part of the Boston Red Sox team that won their first World Series title in 86 years. He called it a “great honor” to go on the first ballot.
With an 82.9 percent vote, Smoltz is the 1996 NL Cy Young winner and had career stats of 213-155 with 154 saves; he was the only pitcher with 200 wins and 150 saves. He also went 15-4 in the postseason, helping the Atlanta Braves reach the World Series five times, including the team’s 1995 championship. Saying he was honored and humbled, Smoltz said that when the phone call came, “I was, for the first time ever, speechless.”
Perhaps the best quote came from Biggio, who said “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.” Coming in at 82.7 percent of the voting, he had 3,060 hits in his 20 seasons with the Houston Astros.
The men will be inducted into the HOF in Cooperstown, New York on July 26.