On January 6 the National Baseball Hall of Fame released the names of the newest members to join the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.. With a record breaking vote Ken Griffey Jr and catcher Mike Piazza.
Players become eligible for induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame five years after their retirement from the game as a player; but the player must receive at least 80% of the vote to be inducted. Griffey received 99.3% of the votes – 437 or the available 440. The 13 time All Star is also the first player in the history of the Hall of Fame that was a number one overall draft pick in 1987 right out of high school by the Seattle Mariners.
The previous record for the highest number of votes was 98% for pitchers Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan.
Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson, Robin Yount, and Paul Molitor were all drafted in the top five in their year of eligibility.
Over his playing career, Ken Griffey Jr had 630 home runs, 1,836 runs batted in, and earned seven Silver Slugger Awards for his hitting and 10 Golden Gloves for his fielding.
In his fourth year on the Hall of Fame ballot, Mike Piazza received 83% of the vote. Proving that other than first round players can become a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Mike Piazza wasn’t drafted until the 62nd round – 1390th overall – in 1988 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. A 12 time All Star catcher, Mike Piazza had 427 home runs and 1,335 runs batted in. He is the lowest person ever drafted to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The next closest vote getter was 71.6% for Jeff Bagwell.
Banned player Pete Rose is not the only professional baseball player that is missing from the Hall of Fame. With the scandal of steroids from some of the game’s biggest players, there are a number of big names still awaiting enough votes from the Baseball Writer’s Association of America – the people who determine who gets into the Hall of Fame – most notably Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, and Roger Clemmons.
Jim Edmonds, Nomar Garciaparra, Mike Sweeney, David Ecksein, Jason Kendall, and Garret Anderson all received less than five percent of the vote; while Brad Ausmus, Luis Castillo, Troy Glaus, Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Hampton, Mike Lowell, and Randy Winn did not receive any votes. Any player who received less than five percent of the vote will not be a part of the Hall of Fame ballot next year.
Griffey and Piazza will be officially inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 24.
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