The baseball Hall of Fame has selected three new members: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas. They will join three managers selected late last year: Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, and Tony LaRussa.
Maddux is one of the ten best pitchers of all-time. Four times, he was the National League ERA leader. Six times, he posted an ERA of under 2.50. In 1994 (the strike year) and 1995, his record was a combined 35-8 and his ERA did not exceed 1.63.
Maddux received 97.2 percent of the vote. He should have been voted in unanimously.
Glavine and Thomas are clearly deserving of enshrinement, as well. Glavine never led the NL in ERA, but he led it games won five times — all 20 win seasons.
Thomas had a phenomenal ten-year run from 1991-2000. He drove in more than 100 runs and walked more than 100 times in nine of those ten years, including the strike year of 1994 when he played only 114 games. He also batted over .300 in nine of the ten seasons. Thomas picked up two AL MVP awards along the way.
Meanwhile, two stars of the same order of magnitude as Maddux fell far short of the 75 percent of the votes needed for Hall of Fame selection. I’m referring, of course, to Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, both of whom are strongly suspected of having used performance enhancing drugs. They were able to muster the support of only about one-third of the voters, down from last year.
Similarly, Mike Piazza, a star of at least the order of magnitude of Glavine and Maddux, also fell short due to suspected PED use. However, he gained support compared to last year.
Craig Biggio, never implicated with PEDs, fell two votes short of the 75 percent threshold. Biggio led the NL in runs twice, in doubles three times, in being hit by the pitch five times, and in stolen bases once. What puts him over the top in my view, though, is his fielding. Six times he led NL second-basemen in assists, and he won the NL Golden Glove at his position from 1994-97.
The induction ceremony in Cooperstown this August will have a real Georgia flavor. Bobby Cox, of course, managed Maddux and Glavine for the Atlanta Braves. I’m sure he won’t forget to thank them during the ceremony.
Joe Torre also managed the Braves in addition to playing three seasons for them in Atlanta.
Frank Thomas hails from Columbus, Georgia. Finally, for what it’s worth, Tony LaRussa played 9 games for the Braves in 1971.